“Sell me, don’t tell me. Present me, don’t pitch me. Address me by my name or my company name not by 'you guys.' Care about my business as much as you care about your own business and prove it to me.”
In sales we know we must always be relevant, knowledgeable, swift, engaging, entertaining and creative. All while we listen intently, all while seeking profitable sales success. After all, the purpose of a sales presentation is to open a partnership opportunity and close this union by outmuscling competition, by proving the forecast in your presentation that will outdistance the forecast in your prospect's expectation. The purpose is to build and cement a valuable, lasting and profitable quid quo pro union in business. Selling advantage, of course, comes in many forms, from brand to product to services to capital investments to the glue of personal relationships built on respect, time and experience, all built on mutual success. The most advantaged, repeatable and profitable results are derived through professional sales leadership.
For decades I have promulgated, flapped my lips, mentored and proven through face to face selling engagements that I am personally trained and fully vested in over 125 ways to close a sale. I also humbly decree that in order to enlist any closing vesture, you must first earn the right to close the sale and earn the right to ask for the order. Otherwise your ability to close the sale will be just that… an ability, not the reality of a signed sales order.
As I read intently through the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Dealerscope and other outlets regarding manufacturers and/or retailers that have lost their brand luster, have receded shelf space to competition or have lost valued market share, the articles are consistently void of the words “sales and competitive viability.” The editors speak about the fiduciary losses, the loss of market share, overcapitalized cost structures, the two or three companies that have taken market share away, perhaps even a word or two on a lag in product performance. Never have I read that the reason for the losses, the reason for the brand and product demise, is weakness in the sales process, in sales capabilities, in sales' ability to out-fuel, out-present and outdistance competitors through their brand, products and market potential.
Nor have I ever read that market failure is tied directly to the brand’s inability to be creative through the sales process. It’s as if within these articles, sales has nothing to do with the success or failure of a company, its brand or products. For those of us in sales roles, we stand determined to declare that the success of our company, our brand and our products is based upon our ability to sell.
Sometimes we indeed are selling a retail merchant. Always, we are selling a consumer, an investor, an analyst, an editor and our team members. We even indirectly sell our competitors on just how good and strong our brand and products really are. The honest assessment is that all sales, marketing, communications, product management, services and executive leadership are supposed to be in sales mode 24 hours a day. Everyone must sell, everyone should sell, everyone should be given the dignity and vestment of professional sales training in order to ensure that the brand, products and market potential are exceeded. Per the report card of sales reality, some team members are selling legends, some are selling mediocre, while many want to be professional and heralded sales leaders, but no investment in mentorship or sales training is afforded by company executives. To be clear, especially for 2014, the more compelling your selling, the more opportunity you will be afforded across shrinking categories and more expensive brick-retail shelf space.
Loving, creating and delivering formidable, highly relevant and effective sales presentations that work is what market leadership is all about. The aggregation of your brand promise through the threads of products, services and competitive advantage lives through your ability to articulate and navigate your brand and product market story; you forecast bravado more effectively than your competition. This intense sobriety, this heavy focus on the front end of sales excellence determines the future of your brand, your company and your employees. After all, a brand is a promise. After all, sales is a mirror of that promise as defined by selling actions, the ability to better present competitive product advantage, the ability to be a market maker, market winner in congress with channel partners.
Sales training alone will not create a professional, highly effective salesperson. But, it will make any salesperson more effective and more brand and product-valuable. Just to prolong our conversation, as we connect and converse on the importance and ability to "raise the roof" on sales and profit through enlisting exceptional professional sales capabilities, here are 10 of my 125 sales closes simply by title for you to ponder and perhaps question me about.
Remember, in order to throw the winning touchdown, to perform on Broadway, to catch a great white, to earn a hole in one or to ask for the order, you must first earn the right through professional training, kinetic exercise and purposeful action. These highly effective sales closes, much like a coache's playbook have zero value unless the players (the salesperson) is at peak competitive sales performance, engineered and disciplined through company aligned training and development and of course, have earned the right to ask for the order through their smart, compelling presentation:
#17: The Affordable Close.
#54: The Alternative Choice Close.
#37: The Law of Averages Close.
#97: The Puppy Dog Close.
#48: The Line Logic Close.
#76: The Competitive Close.
#3: The Ben Franklin Close.
#1: The Trial Close.
#7: The Question Close.
#125: The Final Close.
Peter Weedfald is president of Gen One Ventures and author of Green Reign Leadership designed to enlist superior sales and marketing disciplines and leadership.