Our Sell Greatly approach is based on the 5 P’s — Proximity, Preparation, Presence, Patience and finally Preference. After a recent Sell Greatly Keynote, a sales manager quibbled with the third P – Patience.
“I’m not sure I agree with the patience part. I’m pushing my guys all the time to close, close, close. Don’t leave without the order.” he said.
It’s not the first time I’ve heard this particular refrain. So let’s discuss why it will be more profitable in the long term to practice patience than to constantly try push your prospects to close.
Self Educating Buyers Don’t Want To Be Closed
Actually, nobody wants to be closed. Think about your own buying preference. How do you respond to a pushy sales person that is constantly trying to get you to close?
Do you like it? Does it make you want to buy?
Or does it piss you off and make you want to tell the salesperson to F#off and maybe buy from someone else?
Common Closing Techniques That Kill Profit
I asked this sales manager and the rest of the senior staff at the table a simple question.
How do your salespeople respond to a buyer that doesn’t want to be closed?
What do they do when you start pushing them to close, close, close?
Can you guess what his response was? Sure you can… because it’s the same response everyone has.
The salespeople begin to sweeten the deal. They start throwing in freebies. Or maybe they give in on terms. Or the worst, but often the most effective closing technique… they lower the price or offer some kind of financial discount or incentive.
How Patience Drives Profit
But, if the salesperson has permission to be patient, they don’t have to start cutting into the company’s profit margin just to try and push a buyer off a fence they’re perfectly comfortable sitting on at the moment.
There are lots of reasons that a buyer isn’t ready to close. The most common one, and the one that even profit killing incentives and discounts usually fails to overcome is that the buyer just isn’t ready to be rescued… at least by your salesperson.
What do I mean by “not ready to be rescued?”
I mean that the buyer knows they have an issue or a need. They’re somewhat certain you may be able to rescue them by providing the best solution or at least a solution. BUT, they don’t trust you or your salesperson yet because your salesperson (at your insistence) is in a transaction focused vs relationship focused zone.
Instead of trying to make a connection with the buyer, finding some common ground on which a relationship can begin to form, your salesperson is just trying to close a deal. Their only goal is the transaction and closing it as fast as they can.
And guess what? The buyer feels that. They recognize that to you and your salesperson, they’re just a conversion and nobody wants to be a conversion. So how does your buyer respond? Emotionally.
They slow down. They pull back. They grab tighter to that fence you’re trying to move them off of.
Or worse, if they become upset at the pressure tactics, they start to try and WIN. Or if they’re really savvy and they sense your salesperson’s desperation to close them as a transaction, they take advantage of that desperation. They decide to inflict maximum pain on you in the form of those profit killing discounts and incentives.
But if you let your sales team approach buyers in a relationship first mindset, they can more quickly make that connection, find that common ground and move that buyer to a place where they do trust the salesperson. Then and only then are they ready to be rescued by you and your solution.
And bonus plan — once you’ve built this trust and established this relationship, they’ll be ready to be rescued by you again and again and again when they find themselves in need of solutions to their problems.
And ultimately, your salespeople won’t have to offer up freebies and discounts to close the transaction because they’ll have established that all important fifth P — Preference.