Why 64% of Salespeople Don’t Close
Are you at all surprised to learn that 64% of salespeople don’t close? Some of your peers in sales management are shocked into disbelief by the 64% statistic; others say the number probably is too low! However you may feel about it, that’s what our current research on the topic of Asking for Commitment is telling us.
In the last eCoach, I told you why I hate the term “close”. I used it in the title of this edition only to gain your attention. (Sorry about that.) “Close” connotes that you are ending something or shutting it down. I believe it’s all wrong to use that term after you have worked hard enough to build a relationship with a person and that the person agrees to buy from you. Why would you now want to bring the relationship to an end by closing it?
By contrast, I argue that the act of Gaining Commitment is a natural conclusion to a well-orchestrated sales conversation. I’ll go a step further: It’s a natural conclusion to ANY conversation.
The 64% number represents a dramatic failure. If we’re going to improve things significantly, we first need to look at the causes of the disaster. Once we understand why the problem exists, we can talk about solutions.
WHY 64% OF SALESPEOPLE DON’T CLOSE
Since 1990, The Sales Board has been tracking the percentage of sales conversations that don’t end with a question that asks the customer to make a commitment—the act that usually goes by the mistaken name of “closing.” Scary as it may seem, the number has actually trended up recently. It used to be 62%. Now it’s 64%.
There are three primary reasons why failure to Ask for Commitment is huge problem that is only getting bigger.
Reason #1: Salespeople Don’t Have a Plan to Ask
Every time you leave a call or a customer conversation without gaining a commitment, the chances of getting a commitment later are reduced by 50%. Failure to have a plan for gaining commitment is the most frequent mistake made by salespeople. The mistake is even more common among other customer-contact employees.
Action Selling teaches sales and service teams to identify a Commitment Objective for every customer contact. Always. A Commitment Objective is a goal we set for ourselves to gain feedback, in the form of an agreement, that moves the sales/loyalty process forward. To lower the 64% number, we need to establish an action plan for every single interaction with a customer.