Everyone is in sales. It doesn’t matter what your actual job title is… if you want to get important work done, you need to know how to influence decisions. The only real question is: are you good at it? Do you know how to effectively sell an idea or recommendation? Do you know how to close?
Closers are different. They have a unique understanding of how professional persuasion really works. They typically make up the top 20% of the top 20% in any sales organization. That’s just 4%, and they are much harder to find in a non-sales environment. You certainly can identify them at work. Their ideas become priorities. They build consensus. They get things done. What these top professionals understand is that closing is an art and a craft. Closers do things differently from everyone else, but they all have a few things in common.
What follows are the six understandings and attributes you will find most often in elite closers. These are the six simple understandings that allow these unique individuals to exert powerful influence in their organizations and make a remarkable impact with their colleagues and clients.
These competencies and understandings are deceptively simple, and they are not a part of most mainstream sales training courses. They require tact, restraint, and discipline… but they are 100% learnable. Here they are.
The Six Secrets of Exceptional Closers
- Be the Second Smartest Person in the Room – Exceptional closers know that their job is to make the decision maker confident in their ability to make the right decision for their organization. Anything a seller does to add doubt to a previous decision or opinion moves the conversation further away from the close. Reinforce the decision maker’s experiences and biases. You are an assistant buyer, demonstrate confidence in your prospect.
- Overestimate the Weight of Influencers – Non-closers always underestimate the power of influencers. They don’t understand that influencers can’t approve on their own… but they can certainly shut down an idea all by themselves. Exceptional closers try to actually overestimate the authority and involvement of influencers in a decision. In this way, the margin for error is closed and the real decision maker will exert themselves and be decisive.
- Leverage Expert Sources, Don’t Always be the Source – It’s counter-intuitive, but exceptional closers understand that being the “expert” on a lot of topics can actually hurt their credibility. Elite closers use many 3rd party data and research sources to support the points they are making. In this way, they can keep themselves impartial and leverage experts… who may even contradict the beliefs of the decision maker… with no risk added to the close. Closers educate, they don’t pontificate.
- Question Objections, Don’t Defend Them – Elite closers understand that they will never win an argument with a prospect, and even if they did… there would be no sale. The prospect is always right. They have the opinion they should have given the information they’ve had access to. With new information, they’ll be able to make a new decision. Closers get this. They know that it’s their job to introduce information that will yield new opinions or erase inaccurate biases in their prospects. That’s what selling is.
- Make it Easy to Say Yes – Closers understand that this is their job. How can I make it really, really easy for my prospect to say yes? That’s the question you should be thinking about in sales meetings and with your sales managers and VP’s. Closers recommend trials, beta’s, demo’s, tests, etc. They know that making the decision easy for the prospect is a way to demonstrate confidence in their recommendation.
- Be the Person You Would Like to Buy From – This is the most simple and powerful idea that all exceptional closers embrace. We all know exactly what kind of person we want to deal with in a decision-making situation. So many people have a “selling persona” that they use with prospects… especially when they are trying to close. Focus on being exactly the person you would want to buy from; friendly, knowledgeable, consultative, a great listener, confident, honest… and looking out for your best interest. Here’s the secret: Be That Person.
Those are the Six Secrets of Exceptional Closers. I recommend that you take a few minutes to think about how these ideas may contrast to with your current approach to influencing decisions. We all have room for improvement as professional influencers. Leverage these simple and potent secrets to improve your results and make more of a difference in your organization.