Summary: The Lost Art of Closing by Anthony Iannarino
Summary: The Lost Art of Closing by Anthony Iannarino

Summary: The Lost Art of Closing by Anthony Iannarino

Remember Paradox of Choice

It’s not just the sales reps’ in ability to sell that slow things down, also customers’ own struggles to buy. Customers are rapidly overwhelmed with too much information, options and people.

Always Be Closing for Commitments

Remember selling is not doing something to someone. Selling is doing something for someone with someone.

When going too fast slows down

Trying to go too fast and pushing the prospects in the corner willy only backfire by slowing things down. So slow down, create value for my prospects during each interaction so they have no choice but to commit to the next step. The more other-oriented I am, the easier it is to see through their eyes.

Commitment for Time

  1. Ask early and only for time
  2. Expect and prepare for a No
  3. Promise value without a pitch
  4. Ask again
  5. Lower the commitment level (e.g. asking for 20 minutes rather than 1 hour)
  6. Promise not to waste their time

Hi, my name is William and I am the business development manager at Transformation Inc. We help companies improve employee engagement, increase retention and generate greater results within their existing teams. I’m calling you to ask for a 20-minute meet-and-greet where I can share with you 5 trends that are stopping good teams from producing results they’re capable of. Whether or not you ever do business with us, you’ll surely ask some questions after you see these trends, and you’ll likely make some different decisions. What does Thursday sound look like?

I’m happy with my current partner

Excellent, I understand you’ve a provider you’re happy with now. Almost everyone I call already has someone providing services like ours. I’m not asking you to change anything, including your partner. I just would like to share some ideas you during a 20-minute meet-and-greet. Should your situation ever change in the future, you’ll know me, and you’ll know how we think about the big challenges your industry is facing now. If your situation changes, I want to be the first person you think of. What do you look like Thursday afternoon? Even if we never work together, these ideas are going to change decisions you make over the next 12 – 18 months.

We’re already working with someone else.

I expect you’d have a strategic partner helping you. In many of the companies we’ve worked with, we act a as supplement for the work they do. There’re a couple of areas where you may find that you need us in the future, and it never hurts to now someone should you need something different then. What do you look like for a 20-minute meeting this Wednesday morning? I promise I’ll be respectful of your relationship, and I’ll share these ideas with you just, so you have some new options in ho you might approach your business, even if we never work together.

I Don’t Have Time.

I imagined you have a lot on your plate. Most of our clients do, and we’re allaying working on ways to help them reclaim some of their time. What do you look like 2 weeks out? I’ll keep the meeting to 20-minutes., and I’ll leave you with a copy of the executive briefing I’ll be sharing with you.

Mail me instead

I’ m sorry. The meeting I’m asking for really has nothing to do with me, my company, nor my solutions. At this point, it’s not important you know us and what we do. It’s more important we share a few ideas that can help you make some different choices in the future, no matter who you work with. There’s nothing that I could mail you that have as much impact as the ideas I can share with you in a 20-minute conversation. I promise not to overrun the meeting. You tell me what works for you this week and I’m there.

Commitment to Explore

Mistaken assumptions

  1. Assuming there’s a compelling case for change (I must help them explore reasons to change)
  2. Assuming clients already know why they should change
  3. Assuming The Status Quo isn’t king

Commitment to Change

Ask if they’re ready to change

Are the problems we’ve been discussing the right ones for you and your team to work on right now? Or do you have others that are more pressing?

They’re not interested in the change

Can you share with me what’s preventing you from moving forward now?

They’re not ready to change

I understand completely. Can you tell me what your timeline looks like? Perhaps we can use the time between now and then to do some of the necessary work, should you decide to do something different.

They think it’s the right time to change

Will others who are impacted by the changes you make understand the need for them? If so, do they have the ability to deal with a change like what we’re looking at here?

They’re all ready to change

Great. We’ve more work to do, but what’s your best idea of a target date to rollout (completion / execution / delivery)? I want to provide you with milestones as we continue this conversation.

Commitment to collaborate

Ask for commitment to collaborate

I’d like to share some ideas with you and your tea, then get your feedback as to what might work and what need to change to make this work for you. Who do you think we should include and what’s the best day to do next week?

Commitment to build consensus

They don’t’ want to bring in those behind the table

I understand you’ve concerns about bringing other people into this conversation. Can I share something with you? It’s been my experience that when we don’t involve anyone else in this process, later on they either work to oppose that we’re trying to do or make it really hard to execute. Is there a way we can identify the people who will be involved in decision making, and build the support we need without losing control of what we’re doing?

Commitment to Invest

That’s more than we thought.

I understand. The reason a lot of the companies we work with aren’t getting the results they need is because they’re underinvesting. Your present investment isn’t getting you the results you need. This one will produce those results and eliminate the higher costs you’re paying in other ways. Does it make sense to invest a little more in order to get the outcomes we’re working on here?

We don’t have the budget.

By not making this investment, you will end up right back where you’re right now. If this is the right solution for you, as we both believe it is, how do we help you get the budget you need?

(Or) Taking anything out of this solution also reduces the outcomes we’re able to generate by reducing the investment in those results. Can we find the budget, or should we look at a different solution?

Your competition has a lower price.

They’re a good company and a lot of good people work there. We just invest more than they do in generating the results our clients need, and we don’t make some of the concessions they make to give their clients a lower price and different outcomes. Our model is different. That’s how we generate better outcomes in the areas where you want to make a difference. Would it make sense for your to invest a little more to generate the results you need?

(or) Is a lower price more important to you than a lower overall cost?

(or) I’m too poor to buy cheap stuff. I have to buy nice shirts and shoes because I can’t afford to replace them 3 times a year.

Commitment to decide

Don’t say

If I could provide you with this solution at this price, is there anything that would prevent you from doing business with me?

Is my company the kind of company you want to work with? Am I the kind of salesperson you want to work with? If money wasn’t an issue, would you buy this right now?

If you buy today, I can discount our proposal by X amount and give you extra service at no additional cost. Does that sound good to you?

10 Commitments to gain

Commitment for Time

Avoid emailing. Call instead. Don’t get down to details. Ask no more than 3 times. Questions:

  • What value can I offer my dream client that makes it worth their time?
  • What questions should my dream client be asking about themselves and their team about the future?
  • What concerns my dream client about giving up their time?
  • What have I done during sales calls that was not a good use of my dream client’s time?

Commitment for Exploring

Don’t push. Don’t pitch. Focus on industrial trends and threats. Questions

  • What are the most common root causes of my prospect’s challenges?
  • What are the forces behind those challenges? What external and internal forces cause them?
  • What do you need to teach my prospect about their challenges?
  • What do I do to create a preference for me and my solution at this stage?

Commitment for Change

Ask the right questions. Let them see where the problems are and how my solutions address them. Questions

  • What are the compelling reasons my dream client should change now?
  • Why are some of the opportunities in my pipeline stalled?
  • What commitment do I need to gain to move these opportunities forward?

Commitment to Collaborate

Become strategic partners to work towards a common goal. Questions

  • Whom do I need to meet with to collaborate and customize my solution?
  • When I have won a deal in the past and had trouble executing, who were the people on my client’s side who didn’t get what they needed? What needed to change?
  • What customizations or changes have I had to make to win deals that might be useful in future deals? Where did each of those changes come from?

Commitment to build Consensus

Find common ground. Find out major stakeholders behind the table. Put myself in their shoes. Questions

  • Who is normally impacted by a decision to buy my solution?
  • Who tends to resist my solution after its delivery? What causes their resistance?
  • What trade-offs do I normally need to make so that people in different departments can agree to the changes that come with my solution?
  • How many of the deals I’m currently working on include only one stakeholder on client side?

Commitment to Invest

Disclose price early on. This will weed out all unprofitable prospects. Questions

  • What outcomes do my clients fail to produce when they underinvest?
  • In what ways does underinvesting cost my prospects more than the difference between they’re doing now and my higher price?
  • What do I do different that justifies my higher price?
  • Why do I wait to reveal my price at the end of my process? How would moving that conversation up help my prospect from underinvesting?

Commitment to Review

Solicit feedback from all stakeholders before forming the solution. Questions

  • At what stage do I normally cede control of the process to my prospect?
  • What deals have I lost that might have been avoided had I gathered feedback and adjusted my proposal?
  • What do I need to do to incorporate a review meeting into my existing process?

Commitment to Resolve Concerns

Clients don’t fear my product but the changes deriving from it. Be 5x better than the competition. Questions

  • In most of my deals, who controls the process after I present my solution?
  • Thinking back over deals I’ve lost, what concerns were left unaddressed that might have been easily resolved had I gained commitment to resolve concerns?
  • What proof can I provide that would eliminate those concerns? When and how should I be prepared to resolve those concerns?

Commitment to Decide

A decision to commit should be spontaneous if all previous commitments are secured. Questions

  • What commitments do I normally skip that make asking for final commitment more difficult?
  • How does skipping these commitments make it more difficult for my client to say yes later on?
  • Write down the words I will use to ask for commitment to decide. What do I normally say?

Commitment to Execute

Satisfy the needs to full extent. Questions

  • What do I do when my client struggles to produce results because they aren’t making the changes they need to make?
  • What commitments do I need to ask for to help them execute and see the results I sold them?

Secure All Commitments Quick

Secure commitments in the shortest timespan possible. Embrace gradual transition from one commitment to next. Don’t skip for the sake of earning money.