Sales Enablement

It’s Time to Put on Your War Face

There’s a difference between a sales person and a closer. I believe I’m a great salesman, but a terrible closer. I know I’ve sold many large engagements, but I was never the guy that pushed for ink (the contract signing). I don’t enjoy pushing back on contract size or applying the pressure for a prospect to sign earlier. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by talent at my work who relish those opportunities.

Our closers are able to quickly recognize the opportunities with a client, the benefits of our application, and apply the necessary pressure to complete the sale. That may sound like manipulation – I’d agree if I didn’t think we were truly changing our clients’ success.

We’ve identified that the larger the engagement and the sooner we start, the faster the return on investment for our client – so we’re both happy in the long term. We’ve also identified the opposite – our smaller customers require both the most attention and results don’t come as soon. A large client can see the value in weeks, the small client may take months.

With the weight of a recession fully upon us, we’re challenged with companies who have dollars to close out the year, but really have to be compelled to trust us with their investment. Companies would rather not spend at all and risk no growth than spend money with the possibility of losing it.

This is when you need a closer. A closer doesn’t chop prices to get the sale, they put on their war face and challenge the prospect to close the sale.

This week I saw it in action. We’ve been working with a prospect who would absolutely benefit from our blogging platform, but they’ve been dragging their feet at signing. The contract size is a fraction of their overall budget so it’s a no-brainer. The return on investment will be many times more than their other efforts.

Our closer put on his war face and went to battle. He researched their current strategy and reminded the prospect that they had already invested a lot of time and energy into a strategy that has brought them no results… nada… and that we were the difference. The closer left the conversation with the right question, “Do you wish to continue your failed strategy, or invest in a winning strategy with us?”. Close!

Sounds harsh, but these are tough times. Companies are draining their 2008 budgets right now so you may be placated that sales are coming your way and the recession is no big deal.

In 2009, you better put your war face on because you’re going to have to fight for budget dollars that may not even exist! Make sure you hire closers – not salespeople – and you may come out unscathed. The talent of our sales staff is a large part of what’s pushing our record growth right now and will provide us with continued growth in 2009.

6 Comments

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      Body armor won’t help close a sale, SBM! I don’t want a prospect to be scared or intimidated. Fear is a paralyzing emotion – especially on businesses.

      On the contrary, I want them to be reassured. The problem we’re seeing with this economy is that businesses are holding back – even when it’s in their best interest to move forward. Sales must fight through that fear.

      Thank-you for adding to the conversation.

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    Gosh it’s great to hear someone speak about business in the REAL world. All I hear is Twitter this, and FriendFeed that, and marketing via social media websites. Give me a break, most business owners are just too busy to Twitter, as companies with a product to sell, you have to understand the sales process from one end to the other, and that includes closing, and closing is an art, where you cannot be afraid. Remember, the worst they can ever say is no, and that’s just one more no closer to YES!!!!

    Preston Ehrler

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    My question to all the marketing gurus out their including Seth Godin is what can be done to market your product that will reach the small to mid-size local business? Now, let me give you a bit of background on me, I’ve worked in the Financial Services Industry for about 17 years in NYC. My job was specifically to raise money and manage it. I raised an managed millions via two avenues: Hosting seminars for individual investors, and cold-calling executives of publicly traded companies. My largest account was 45 mil…no kidding. Now, I have a web design company that designs sites that cost around $3,000 and up. What would be the advice that would enable me to meet and close more business owners? I’ve tried pay per click, useless. Social media networking…yeah right, that’s what I call G to G (Guru to Guru). Cold-calling has brought almost all my customers, except for word of mouth. Give me a new and fresh slant….

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