Why I Hate Closing
How do you feel about the term “closer”? I remember being called a closer when I was a rising star during my early years as a salesperson. But, I have never liked being referred to by that handle, and I never cared for what it implies.
To my ears, “closing” means that you’re ending something or shutting it down. That’s all wrong when you’ve worked hard to build a relationship with a person. When you land a deal, you’re starting (or at least continuing) something—a great new customer relationship, I’d hope.
The other reason I hate “closing” is because it sounds like something manipulative you do to someone. I’d much prefer to use a term that suggests a partnership has been formed between two parties who jointly arrive at an affirmative decision to work together.
How about some language that implies a positive action you are taking with or for someone? Let’s explore that idea.
WHY I HATE CLOSING
Don’t get me wrong, putting deals together is my favorite thing to do. I just don’t care for the way we talk about it, nor for the way that the breed of salespeople most likely to be called “closers” manipulate customers into buying from them. I hate the whole thing so much that I’m going to dedicate the next three editions of eCoach to the topic of closing. There’s a far friendlier way to be highly effective at selling.
What’s a better term than closing? How does Gaining Commitment sound? When I hear the term commitment I think about loyalty. And, loyalty is one of the things we value most in a relationship. A loyalty-based relationship means that what you’ve formed is trustworthy, reliable, faithful, and valuable.
Another reason I prefer “Gaining Commitment” is because it’s a term that can be used throughout the sales cycle with both new and long-term customers. You can gain a commitment for a meeting, gain a commitment to meet with another person in the customer’s organization, gain a commitment to attend a customer outing—you can gain all sorts of commitments that move the customer relationship to a higher level.
Conversely, it sounds a little snaky to say something like, “I just closed my client on attending our customer-appreciation picnic.” Well, doesn’t it?
I NEVER WANTED TO BE CALLED A “CLOSER”
A closer in baseball is the guy they bring out of the bullpen during the final inning to mow down the last three batters and win the game. The closer is someone who throttles the competition. In baseball, that’s a good thing. In selling, though, customers aren’t the competition, and we aren’t trying to throttle them so we can send them packing. If we have any brains at all, we are trying to start what we hope will be a wonderful, long-term relationship with every customer. We are trying to Gain Commitment.
I’ll never forget the feeling I got when I made my very first sale. What a thrill it was. Exhilarating! But, I was selling a product that consumed other products (supplies) that I sold to the customer on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately, I had competitors who also sold those same consumables…