Why “Closing the Sale” doesn’t work for a Heart-Centred Business
A few years ago I ran a poll as part of a webinar I was running on “heart-centred sales”. To my surprise over half of the respondents answered that their biggest sales challenge was “Closing the Sale”.
This response was not what I expected, and for me it marked one of those big “Aha!” moments that helped me understand my ideal clients on an even deeper level. Because here’s the thing – in my “Get More Clients Saying Yes!” programme where I teach a proven system for having authentic and comfortable sales conversations I don’t teach any traditional “Closing Techniques” at all. Yes, you read that right – no closing techniques.
So when I saw those responses to the poll I thought to myself:
“Wow!, it’s no wonder these heart-centred business owners are struggling with sales if they are making the aim of the conversation “closing the sale”. What a lot of pressure they must be putting themselves under – not to mention the poor client”.
It didn’t sound like a fun at all – and sales really can be fun!
In fact, for me there has always been something inherently… well… arrogant about the concept of closing the sale. It feels a bit like saying “Right Mr or Ms Potential Client, I’m out to sell you something here, and you are going to say yes whether you like it or not because it suits my agenda today and that’s what I’ve decided”.
Not very heart-centred is it?
Now, this is not to say that “Closing Techniques” don’t work. There is a reason that they have been part of the arsenal of professional sales people for decades (maybe centuries). They do work and if used well and skilfully they can increase the numbers of clients saying “Yes” – without a doubt.
The problem is that they won’t work for your heart-centred, service based business
And here’s why not:
1. It creates an “icky” energy
Most heart-centred business owners are simply not comfortable using “icky” (that’s a technical term) sales techniques on their clients. I could teach you all the closing techniques in the world, but if you are not comfortable using them then your sales conversations will feel out of flow for you. Not only that but your discomfort will be picked up on by your potential client who will decide not to work with you. Consciously they won’t even know why, but something will just feel “off” for them.
2. You Won’t Use them
However, even more likely than that is that you simply won’t use these techniques in the first place. To show you what I mean, here are just 2 examples of the type of closing techniques you would be taught in a “traditional” sales training course:
The Yes Set Close – Ask a series of questions that are all designed to elicit a Yes and because they have just answered Yes to you a few times in a row, the client will then be subconsciously programmed to automatically answer Yes when you ask them to buy.
The Assumptive Close – Ask “How do you want to pay, credit card or bank transfer?” (asked before the client has told you of their decision to go ahead)
I don’t know about you but this sort of manipulative approach gives me a knot in my stomach. In fact I clearly remember my years working in corporate sales when I used to be sent off for training in these sorts of techniques. I would come back to the office and stubbornly refuse to use them – it’s just not the way I like to treat my fellow human beings.
(Luckily I got away with it because I was the top salesperson in the office – which sort of proves my point really).
3. It’s not a good Foundation for an effective Relationship
In a service-based business when your client says “Yes please!” they don’t just pick up a “thing” and walk out of the shop, or get in the car and drive it off the forecourt never to be seen again. Instead, they are usually saying Yes to entering into an even more intimate and ongoing relationship with you. One where over the coming weeks or months they will be working closely with you and opening up even more about their relationships, emotions or business. If their “Yes” is based on manipulation, disrespect and distrust then you are off to a bad start and may not be able to rebuild the sort of trust that needs to be in place for you to do your best work.
4. It sets you up for Buyers Remorse
That is if you ever get that far…. People who make sales because of skillful use of closing techniques have a much higher level of refund requests in the days following the transaction. This is because the potential client wasn’t fully emotionally committed, and instead said Yes because they’d been manipulated into a corner. I know that I would far rather have one really excited client who is 100% committed to our work together because they have come to their own decision than “close” 5 clients who all change their mind the next day, or don’t get the results I can deliver, because they aren’t fully committed.
5. It’s bad for Business
If your relationship with your client is based on manipulation and lack of trust from the beginning then you may struggle to develop the trust that you need in order to deliver the full service or transformation to the client. So you are less effective at helping them get results. And not getting results leads to less happy clients and therefore less referrals (and when you’ve got this flowing referrals is by far the easiest form of marketing). And of course when you are not getting results your confidence also starts to decrease, and you soon end up in a downward spiral.
So, no “Closing” then?
Yup. Asbolutely no closing. At least not in my world. Rather than spend time teaching you traditional Closing Techniques I far prefer to teach you how to guide a potential client through a carefully structured sales conversation, designed to lead the client effortlessly to a decision to work with you (if it’s right for them) because they can clearly see that it is the best thing for them – not because you backed them into a corner. If you’d like to learn the structure that I teach to do that – in an authentic and respectful way you can sign up to my 7 Steps to Yes! video training here.
And the really great thing?
The really great thing is that when you learn to do this REALLY well you will never need to learn a “closing technique”. Because when you take your client through the sales conversation effectively, and if your service is in fact right for them, then nine times out of ten your client will make up their own mind that they want to work with you before you even ask them – no closing techniques required!
Now, isn’t that a relief?
I’d love to know how this lands with you – do let me know in the comments below, I always love to read them.
Coming up in October:
If you’d like to learn more from me about how to have genuinely authentic sales conversations that feel good for you and supportive for the client then I’ve got a few things coming up for you soon – you might want to pop them in the diary now.
30th September – 5th October: Fall in Love with Sales, Workshop Intensive
This is a 6 day journey for people who love to help but don’t like to sell, designed to help you have a shift in how you think and feel about sales, become more confident about your sales process, and learn how to have genuinely comfortable and congruent sales conversations.
8th – 12th October: Get More Clients Saying Yes! Opens for enrolment
I only run this as a live supported course once a year, so if you know that being able to sell without feeling a bit “cringy” is a missing link in your business get on the waitlist here. The course will run for 8 weeks from 14th October and is designed to take you from a standing start to enrolling paying clients, plus all the key foundations you need to do that effectively.
More information will follow over the next couple of weeks – I look forward to supporting you as you fall in love with sales!
With Love & Gratitude,