THE SEVEN LAWS OF CLOSING DEALS 1. Closing begins with the first contact with a prospect. 2. Closing is part of the natural progression of a well-managed deal. 3. Closing does not occur without providing a compelling reason to buy. 4. Closing does not occur without putting the customer’s interests first. 5. Closing is not a technique or a trick. 6. The currency of closing is TRUST. 7. Closing does not occur without visualization. Using Covey to Close 1. Be Proactive You need to know where your prospects are in the decision making process. This doesn’t happen without consistent and persistent contact with them. When you talk to them, always be selling something – an appointment, a new idea, a new feature, information, etc. Don’t wait for the customer to tell you they are ready to buy! Your proactive approach to the deal is part of a well- managed pipeline (see Rule #2). 2. Begin with the End in Mind An effective salesperson begins to close the deal at the initial contact with the customer (Rule #1). Closing starts with gauging the interest of the prospect, selling them a “demo”, providing an effective and clear bid, and establishing a timeline. Beginning with the end in mind also applies to Rule #4. While a salesperson’s job is to close deals, a professional salesperson’s mission is to provide relief to a prospects’ problem. When you put the customer’s interests first, most will recognize your principled approach to selling and develop a trust-based relationship (Rule #6). 3. Put First Things First What kind of prospects are you spending time on? Prioritizing your pipeline and being able to gauge where a customer is at in making a decision are keys to effective closing. In short, work on the customers most likely to buy. Many salespeople try to close every deal, regardless of interest level or the customer’s timing. Think of selling as growing exotic plants, not a lawn; each one needs to be planted and tended to separately. 4. Think Win-Win Most business owners recognize that you need to do your job and that your company needs to make money. Being up-front about this with customers can take away some of the mystery in the closing process. If a prospect recognizes that you are seeking to provide a win-win solution, you are much more apt to close the deal. In addition, a customer always has the right to walk away from a deal; so does the salesperson! A deal where the customer wins, but your company loses can actually cost the company more in the long run. 5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood This principle should part of the entire sales process so that when the time comes to close the deal you have done your due diligence in determining a profitable solution for the customer. It is the responsibility of an effective salesperson to clearly understand where a customer stands. Rather than worrying about “buying signals”, a salesperson should continue to listen and address the concerns of the prospect until a decision to buy is the next logical step. 6. Synergize Often a customer is told only what your company provides. But what does the customer bring to the table? Do they have skills and connections that make the relationship worth more than just the transaction? By working on the relationship and not just the deal, you are connecting into your client’s network of talents, contacts, etc. 7. Sharpen the Saw Think of this as a second growing season. When these principles are used after the sale, a customer is more likely to provide referrals, give a testimonial, and purchase additional products. In addition, “sharpening the saw” means you need to continue to hone your own craft as a professional salesperson. This means reading books, attending training, understanding how to apply new technology (like blogs, podcasts, etc) and other skills that keep you at the leading edge of your profession. A final thought … These principles require a cultural of transparency and customer-centric thinking in the company you work for. If these principles don’t work in your organization, you may be working for the wrong company.