Is PROSPECTING the new CLOSING?

Is there still a place for ‘closing’ skills in 2016? 

Recently I’ve been thinking about prospecting and closing and how they impact on today’s sales activities. When I think back to my early days in sales, I remember we had plenty of conversations around closing.

How to close, different closing techniques, there was a mantra of Always Be Closing (ABC).

We learnt different types of closes.

The Puppy dog close, (which is probably my favourite BTW), the reverse close, the assumptive close, the ‘paperwork’ close and on and on the list went.

In fact, I remember there being specialised ‘closers’ in some organisations. These were salespeople who specialised in just closing deals.

Car dealerships even had ‘closing rooms’ when you got to the financial negotiation component of a car purchase they took you into the ‘closing room’.

I’m not about to suggest closing has gone away completely, but I do think we do it differently these days. Personally, I want to have a strong relationship with my clients, which lasts some considerable time. If I have to CLOSE them, beyond the ethical use of persuasion, then they probably won’t end up being great, loyal customers. Is this the same for all sales these days?

It feels like some of those ‘old school’ closes now seem to be used primarily as a way to bridge to a conversation about next steps rather than to ‘sign the contract’. For example, a reverse close could be handy at the end of a proposal presentation once a couple of well-handled objections are completed.

 “So, Bob is there any reason why we couldn’t go ahead with the solution we’ve offered”?

Consider this, if research says that our prospects and customers are doing all their pre-sale research online and only talking to us sales people once they’re at 57%, 61%, 49% – (whatever that number actually is), through their buying process – are we better off with a strong prospector to ensure we get introduced to the potential customer at 25% of the way through, or perhaps even earlier?

So what’s your take on the prospecting vs closing discussion?

Which is the more critical skill in 2016, Closing or Prospecting?

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Mark is a sales execution coach and trainer to Australia’s corporate sector. Contact Mark via LinkedIN message or mark@salesitv.com.au for a discussion around sales training, coaching, golf and sales effectiveness. 

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