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In recent articles, in training, and in other discussions, I've commented that monkeys can close deals. Now, when I say this in front of a live audience, I am looking for an expected reaction so that we can engage in a good program. In all cases, it is not to insult those who are successful "closers." But, the reality is, closing a deal is merely the result of proper planning and execution of the real key to selling - the process.
I would expect true closers to actually agree that without a process, effective closing is virtually impossible. Nothing helps prove my point better that our very industry. Too many sales people are into negotiations within three minutes of hello. They are closing shortly after that. The result, low grosses on low numbers. All the training in the world covering the latest and greatest closing techniques will have little effect and the value of such training will soon be lost as blame for ineffective results will fall to the training.
Sticking with the "traditions" and actual experiences in dealerships, we have all seen the greenpea have their best month at the beginning and then watch as the numbers decrease from there. Why is that? Is it because they came to the dealer knowing how to close deals and then forgot as their "experience" grew? Or. is it more likely that the managers got them started on a process, made sure they followed it, and helped them achieve results? I think we can all be honest and come up with the right answer.
The process is what gives us the right to close. This is a right that must be earned with every customer. Each step of the process is required to earn the right to take the next step in the process. More importantly, the performance of each step is what makes us effective in subsequent steps. The better we perform, the easier the steps that follow, become. By the time we've really earned the right to close, the objections are less threatening, the negotiations are less stressful, and the result is a happier customer at a higher gross.
As many of you know, my books have resulted in over 1.5 million readers. As an author, that's a pretty good result. But, no matter how good my books are, I didn't get to start at one million four hundred thousand and ninety-nine and then just get one more. I had to follow a process of planning, publicity, promotion, and then repeat that process over and over. At book signings, I didn't get to stand by the cash register and autograph books as they were paid for. I had to stand in the enter of the book store, share a bit of information about each book in such a way as to make the reader want to buy it and then offer to sign it as a final inducement. Did everyone buy? Of course not. But enough people did to complete the process to where it is today.
Now that I'm working on another book, I am also planing the promotion and publicity with the hope of achieving similar results. While there is no guarantee that I'll even get the book published, following a tested and proven process does increase my odds of success. Isn't that what you want for yourself or your sales staff?
By choosing a process and committing to it, you'll find that closing becomes just another step rather than a fight to the death. You'll become better at achieving the desired results because you will find yourself in a position to close more often. But the real benefit is, by following a pre-planned process each and every time, you won't be lost along the way and can keep your customer on the path toward a decision that you'd like them to make. Besides, if you execute all the steps in the process, you've earned the right to close.
It's your choice.
John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services/A Unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His 10 books have reached 1.5 million readers and his training programs have been delivered around the world. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.webs.com and see the previous "Choosing" series articles. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.