Monday, July 30, 2012

Closing is Hard

If you're not a closer, closing is hard.

I'll define closing as the process of bringing your prospect to the decision that you want. It could be the decision to buy your product, to hire you, give you a raise, to go on a trip, or to walk 10 miles with you to raise money for a cause that you believe in more than she does.

Every buyer goes through a decision-making process; your job during that process is to remove obstacles, provide information, narrow their choices, serve them in their evaluation, and help them come to the obvious conclusion--that your product is the best investment they can make. If you don't believe that (and if it's not true), it will be tough to convince them.

Framing the Close
I'm not a natural closer. Asking for the deal has always been tough for me. I do it, but it doesn't come naturally. I love the win, I love to see the check hitting the account, etc, but I love seeing the customer do really well as a result, which is what drives me.

So that's how I frame it--knowing that the customer will do well by working with me or buying my product, because I'm committed to them and their success, which is a collaboration between us: their part is learning and using the product effectively, my part is giving them a solid product and the support to help them do their part well.
"We'd love to have you as a customer. Can we get started today?"
That's how I ask for their business--if I'm not so nervous that I forget. I can't tell you how many times I was simply too nervous to ask for it, and then didn't get it. Or was surprised and relieved when they simply called up and said ok, we'll take it.

If you frame the close in terms you believe in, in a way that reflects your desire to help them, you'll do great. 

True closers don't have this dilemma--they're primarily driven by the close, the money it represents, and the next deal. But most founders I know have trouble asking for the business. Some feel it's like asking for a favor. 

It's not--it's a balanced transaction. Your customer gets the value you deliver, and you get the value they deliver to you (usually in the form of money). You've both agreed to it, so there's really no favor involved. 

Be proud of what you do, and what you know you can do if given the chance. And if you genuinely believe you can help your prospect, simply tell them you'd love to have them as a customer--let's make that happen today. 


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