Jeff Shore is a well-known sales expert, author and keynote speaker. With over 30 years’ experience in the real estate market, Jeff provides transformational proven strategies that help business owners strengthen their relationships with their current and potential customers. The methods he provides are not just based on his industry experience but they are backed by the latest research in cognitive behavioral theory and buying psychology.
This is an excerpt of a chapter from Jeff’s newest book, Closing 2.0: “A New Definition of Closing”
I once had a sales manager who liked to say, “There are two types of people in the world: closers and losers. And if you’re not one, you’re the other.”
Do you agree? Your answer probably depends on how you define closing. It seems to mean something different to everyone. Perhaps this is why it is so difficult to agree on HOW to do it: We don’t really know what IT is!
Some say “closing” refers to the completion of the sales cycle—the point when the process comes to a “close.” Others believe the term originated in real estate, referring to the close of the escrow period.
Closing has also been defined as: “asking a question, the answer to which confirms a sale.” The late (and very great) home sales guru Dave Stone defined closing this way: “An affirmative response to a closing question can be translated to the closing document.” (Dave Stone, New Home Sales)
Getting to the Meaning
In my opinion, the real problem is that in practice, the word “closing” means different things in different situations.
For example, is the following a closing question?
“Would you like to purchase this car?”
It most certainly is.
How about this?
“Of all the options you’ve seen so far, does this one work best for you?”
This is also a closing question, but of a different variety. The former is a final close; the latter is a minor close.
It seems to me that however we define closing, there needs to be a degree of situational flexibility.
Changing the Language
To simplify the approach, I favor a different word altogether. I’ve started using the word agreement as an alternative to the word closing.
“Closing” speaks to behavior while “agreement” speaks to outcome. “Closing” can sometimes be perceived as combative or confrontational; “agreement” invokes a sense of partnership.
To fully appreciate what “agreement” represents, let’s break it down a bit. Webster’s defines agreement as:
- Harmony of opinion, action, or character. This suggests peace and satisfaction, precisely what we want our customers to feel.
- An arrangement as to a course of action. Every agreement always leads to a next step. Always.
But if there is to be an agreement, there must also be agreeing parties, correct? We need to define just who those agreeing parties are.
Our obvious instinct is to assume that the agreement is between customer and salesperson. While that is partially true, the far more important action is when a customer agrees with…herself!
Confirming acceptance to the salesperson is nice and all, but the only agreement that really matters is a part of the customer’s internal dialogue: “Oh, my word—I love it, it’s what I need, and though it’s more than I planned to spend, it does the trick. I’m buying this!”
A Question of Motives
Closing theory comes down to one question: Who is the close for?
If closing is for the salesperson or for the company, we can use all sorts of tricks to land a sale. But if closing is for the customer, the most important thing we can do is to make it an easy mental process.
The most effective way to do that is to get a customer to agree with himself. When a customer says, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I do like this model,” the message he sends to his own brain is by far the most effective closing technique on the planet.
Buying is a process, not a moment. Our customers are best served when they make a purchase decision through a series of agreements, rather than by our asking one epic power close at the very end of the process.
So here’s how I would like to re-define closing: Closing is the process of gaining agreements throughout the sales conversation, culminating in a final agreement to purchase.
Your job is to get the customer to agree…with themselves!
We at COHBA were honored to have Jeff visit us for our March General Membership Meeting. Be sure to check out his new book. To keep up with our upcoming events, sign up for our newsletter or visit our events page.