The Daily Journal for Ad Agency New Business Hunters

Opening The Sale

Posted by Shane Murphy on Sunday, July 2, 2006

Ever feel like you’ve got a sale in the bag, only to have the prospect balk at the end, and you’re left confused and feeling like you’ve fallen flat? If you’re the average salesperson, then the answer is ‘yes, of course I have!’

handshake.jpgClosing a sale is, in my opinion, one of the hardest things to do in the sales process. Many times, it seems to just happen. That fact alone is why I feel that it tops the difficulty list. You’re never forced to really close the deal because it just happens through the ability to interact with the prospect, to answer the questions that they ask with skill and determination. The sale, therefore, closes itself. Not that this is a bad thing!

But what do you do when you’ve answered the questions and the prospect still isn’t ready to sign the deal? Do you have the skills you need to close the deal?

I was thinking about this dilemma today, and decided to write a bit about it. In looking for more information about becoming a better closer, I wanted to find something outside of what we’re all used to seeing about closing. I found what I was looking for on a website in, of all places, New Zealand.

“Instead of talking about closing the sale we changed the language to opening the sale. This focused the team on asking the right questions to qualify customers and identify needs. Opening sales turned the focus into starting a conversation rather than just answering questions. It turned a reactionary team into a proactive team.”

Opening a sale. An interesting way to approach selling, that’s certain. But it tracks with my favorite way to sell — a consultative approach. Instead of just pitching something and answering a bunch of questions, you become a consultant, engaged in a conversation instead of just answering a barragh of questions that any sales person worth their salt could answer.


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