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Stop ‘closing’ the sale. Start ‘opening’ the customer.

How do you transition from the value proposition, or presentation, to the close? From telling them what we’ve got to actually asking them if they want to buy it – or from the dance to the romance as we like to say.

I hate to use the word or the term “closing.” Because we’re really looking to “open” a customer. We’re opening the relationship. We’re opening the right to do business with these people on a regular basis.

So in the smart selling process, we focus on the customer. To visualize, it, we first imagine a pyramid that’s upside down. And the upside down pyramid is broken into five specific horizontal lines going across it equal in width. I’m trying to paint a picture for you here.

So you have the upside-down pyramid standing on the tip, so the base is at the top. And the first chunk of that base is made up of five equal sections, if you can picture that. They’re not really equal, but the width of them is equal. It means we’re going to spend the most time where there’s the most space in that pyramid. At the very top, where the biggest chunk is. And that’s the relationship part. So this is the first part of discovery.

We’re looking for a few things to happen here:

  • To come in and ask the right questions.
  • To make a connection with the customer.
  • To transfer some trust.
  • To create a perception of expertise.
  • To find some common ground.
  • To create some likability factor in us through the questions that we ask rather than coming in and showing up and throwing up.
  • To establish the beginning foundation of a relationship which is initially all about them.

So that’s discovery part one. As we move our way down to the second section of the pyramid, the second largest piece, this is our motivation section. This is discovery part two, and here we’re trying to get to the motivation for the answers that they’re giving us.

We’re trying to figure out where their points of pain are. Where their points of fear are and where their specific points of desire are. We’re trying to figure out where it hurts. What are their fears? What are their concerns? What are their goals for the future?

We’re also discovering who that person is and how they make their decisions. Are they fast decision makers or slow decision makers? Are they decision makers basing their information on logic and data, or is it on emotion and feelings?

These are radically different cats. So we have to understand who they are so we can adapt accordingly. When we know these things, we can change our approach, and how we work with them. We change the way we communicate to them. We change the stories that we tell or the directions that we go in.

This is ‘opening’ and it works much better than closing. And that’s what we’ll be exploring in the next few posts.

Photo by Justin Marty, via Creative Commons 2.0.