The Art of Closing The Sale by Brian Tracey is a fantastic book that gives you not just practical techniques, but all the right mindsets that will make you successful not just in sales but in life.
- Your personality is 80% of the sales skills
- Always think of yourself as self employed
- Believe in yourself and what you sell or move to a company in which you can believe in
Brian Tracey says that if you are completely fluent in closing and absolutely confident in your ability to ask for the order you will be more aggressive in prospecting in the first place and have higher self-esteem.
Because you know you can do what it takes to close the sale, you will feel like a winner most of the times.
This self-confidence will even affect your prospects, making them in turn even more likely to buy from you.
Brian Tracey says that your personality constitutes 80% of your success.
He says that top salespeople have high level of self-confidence and self-esteem. Self-confidence is the natural growth of liking and respecting yourself.
I liked how The Art of Closing The Sale stresses that mental fitness is like physical fitness. It requires a good mental diet and practice. And once you develop it, it will go beyond sales because how you feel about yourself is the single most determinant of the success of all of your relationships.
It’s a simple rule: like and care about yourself, and you will like and care about others.
You’re Self Employed
If you have been reading Brian Tracey you are likely to have heard this one before because it’s a big mantra for him. He says that no matter where you are employed, you should always consider yourself as self employed.
You are the president of your own company!
He says that top salespeople accept 100% responsibility for everything they do.
And the top 3% of people in every organization look at themselves as self employed. Not in the sense that they don’t belong to the company, but the opposite: they treat the company as if it belonged to them. And they took everything which happened to the company as if it happened to them.
Ambition and Empathy
As we’ve already seen in Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Brian Tracey also restates that EQ more important than IQ.
A person with empathy will try to put himself in the shoes of the other person to see what he feels. And the author emphatically adds “if you can see John through John’s eyes you can sell John what John wants to buy”.
Empathy requires a long term thinking, and Brian Tracey says that a balance between ambition and empathy is what you should strive for. Too ambition and you’re too focused on the short term, don’t care about the customers and they will sense that. On the other hand if a salesperson is too empathetic he will not be assertive enough to ask for the close.
I totally agree with Brian Tracey’s point. Also, on the subject, I believe it’s great if you can switch empathy on and off at will. Some people don’t deserve a gram of your empathy. Some deserves it all. Being able to switch it on and off at will allow you to adapt.
Believe in: You, Your Company, Your Product
Here’s another high impact, simple rule Brian Tracey brings to the table: your customer can never believe in your product anymore than you do.
There’s a relation between how much you believe in your product and your capability to convince your customer to believe in it.
And I live you with one quote straight from the horses’ mouth (just spare yourself the easy jokes with “getting into” 😉 :
When you get into business you will make a living. But when the business gets into you, you will make a great life.
What you did good, what can you do differently
Brian Tracey suggests to note down immediately after each sales call / meeting what you did good and what you can do different.
Notice that it’s “what can you different” and not “what you did wrong”. By focusing on the positives and on what you can do different you program into your subconscious mind the best behavior -like having a totally new interaction- and they’ll be ready at your disposal on the next call.
100 calls warm-up period program
The author recommends that for every new job / task or product you start, you should make an effort to have 100 calls and face to face interactions as soon as possible.
The focus of these calls is not necessarily to sell, but to get face to face time with prospects and tell them about your product or services.
And without focusing on sales it’s even possible you will make sales more easily.
In any case, the 100 calls warm up period will teach you much more than most people will learn in years (questions, customers feedback, customer issues etc etc).
And in the next two years you’ll find yourself doing sales to those 100 people you had calls with as it was easier to build a friendly vibe since you were not actively selling and didn’t put them under any pressure.
Sales key result areas :
The Art of Closing The Sale goes into the major skills needed for selling. Any weakness in one of these areas will hold you back. And if you keep improving in each one of them, you’ll quickly get to the top.
- Establishing trust and rapport
- Identify customers’ problems and needs
- Present your product as the ideal solution
- Answering objections and concerns
- Getting agreement to proceed
- Obtain resales and referrals
Brian Tracey says that your goal is to make the closing as smooth as possible for the customer.
It should be quick and your whole presentation should be structured with the close in mind.
Top sales people know what they’re gonna say word for word and rehearse. Poor sales people wing it and sweat as they say whatever comes to their mind and hope.
6 major requirements to close
- Positive, enthusiastic and eager to close the sales : emotions are contagious
- prospect requirements must be clear to you -as a result of asking questions –
- the prospect must understand your product and its value for him
- prospect must believe and trust you (and have faith your company will deliver)
- the prospect must desire and want what you’re selling
- product must be suited for your customer
Close at the right time (avoid high pressure)
Make sure the prospect :
- Wants it
- Need it
- Can afford it
- Be able to use it and get full value out of it
Signals the closing time has come
These are some signals that your prospect is ready to move:
- Talking faster, becoming more upbeat and cheerful (from thoughtful and critical)
- Sudden friendliness – relax and maybe ask a personal question (answer warmly and close question)
- Chin rubbing – he’s probably thinking how to use your product. Stop talking, and when he comes up, ask a closing question
- Price, terms and delivery questions. Ask another question and you’ve made the sale
Him: How much does it cost ; You: how soon do you need it
Him: How soon can I get this ; You: how many do you want
- Any changes in attitude, posture or voice
Brian Tracey says you should be able to master at least 10 different closing techniques to be used depending on the person and the situation and the kind of objections you get.
Try them out multiple times and practice them more than once until you perfect them.
And you’re on your way to excellence.
You agree on the minor details so the customer implicitly decides on the major one. You help through the moment of indecision.
For example: would you prefer this in blue or green / would you prefer it on 60 or 90 days / would you like it delivered or would you like to take it with you today
You can ask “test closes questions” like “does this make sense to you” and if they say yes, assume they said yes to the sales and say “then the next step is this”.
It allows you to keep control of the interaction: the customer either goes along or raises another objection that you can address.
Selling past the sales
You begin talking about the joy of using the product and what will happen with it.
Tell (happy / sad) stories
Tell a happy story of a customer using your product. Or the sad story of a customer NOT using your product.
You can start with “BTW, this reminds me of Susan Smith, one of our customers.. “ . Once you talk about happy customers, you trigger an unconscious desire by customers.
If the customer is walking away saying he wants to shop around, tell him most people did that before coming back and shopping from you.
You can tell him: You can go out but why don’t you save that time and make a decision now. We can wrap up the deal right now and you’ll spare yourself all that researching time and happily go on with your life.
If he still insists he wants to go:
Only today close
It’s the last day of sales contest so you can make a discount.
This is only to be done AT THE END of the selling. Save it until the last moment.
Always ask for a referral.
One way is to visit each year customers of yours to make sure they are happy and then asking for a referral.
It was an impressive statement in The Art of Closing The Sale that made me think: most people work only a couple hours a day making the first phone call at 11 and the last at 3.
Sometimes it’s true indeed.
Brian Tracey says that if you think of your goals on a yearly basis like most people do it’s easy to waste time like that. The solution? You should instead think about your income goals in terms of hours.
And if you’re doing sales then prospecting, presenting and closing are the only 3 activities that pay you money. All the rest is waste.
No major cons.
The only “soso” thing in The Art of Closing The Sale is the part in which Tracey suggests to lower the price when the customer is about to walk away.
That can easily reek as desperate and, albeit it might help, it will surely make you look slimier. And the customer will come to expect discounts from then on.
I really like The Art of Closing The Sale. And I really like Brian Tracey. Both in his personality and in the messages he spreads. He comes across as a honest, genuine and trustworthy person, and his tips are always mixed with the positive mindsets they should be used with, and they’re both always spot on.
The top lessons I take away are:
- You are self employed and the president of your own company
- Personality is 80%. And liking and caring about others starts by liking and taking care about yourself