Why “Closing the Sale” won’t work for your Heart-Centred Business
A few years ago I ran a poll ahead 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 and why they struggle with sales so much. Because here’s the thing – in my “Get More Clients Saying Yes!” programme I teach a proven system for having authentic and comfortable sales conversations. But 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 – and what a lot of pressure to be putting on the client too!”
It didn’t sound like 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”.
“Closing” isn’t 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 (even 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 so well 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 awkward and 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 I guess sort of proves the point).
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, health, emotions, finances 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
People who make sales because of skilful 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 achieve the results 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. In turn you are then less effective at helping them get results. And not getting results leads to less happy clients and therefore fewer referrals (and when you’ve nailed 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. Absolutely 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.
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 more times than not 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?
LIVE Q&A: How to Sell without “Closing” – TODAY at 5.00pm (UK)
If you’d like to have a deeper discussion on this topic of how to sell without using “icky” and manipulative sales techniques, and you’d like to ask me your questions I’m going to be doing a LIVE Q&A on this topic inside my Free Selling from the Heart Group. TODAY (Wednesday 27th September 2023) at 5.00pm (UK).
Simply click on the link and request to join right now – and then pop back at 5.00pm!
Fall in Love with Sales Week – starts Monday
And if you’d like to start to fall in love with sales, join me on Monday 2nd October for a FREE week-long journey designed to show you how you can have genuinely supportive sales conversations, without any of the “scary sales stuff” that can be so uncomfortable for you – not to mention your clients.
Full details here: www.catherinewatkin.com/lovesales