To sell, stop trying to close the sale

ABC, "Always Be Closing" is the mood that Alec Baldwin put on his sellers in a 1992 film that was distributed in Spain under the title "Success at Any Price." In the film Baldwin puts tremendous pressure on his sales force, relying on a competition where there was no room for losers.

 At other times we apply ourselves the pressure.  It is the example of a good entrepreneurial friend who was in the process of launching a technological startup and asked for help because he thought that his sales performance was not good. He had a couple of prospective clients apparently interested in hiring his services but they did not finish. After discussing the details of one of his clients, I asked him: "What goal do you have with that person?", "Turning him into a customer", he replied, recognizing that turning that contact into a client was beiing uncomfortable. It was not working.

This way of self-applying pressure, or applying pressure by our Sales Director like Alec Baldwin, is still very, very common in many companies, but ... do you think it is effective?

All strategies aimed at closing the sale are reduced to the idea of executing a plan to get the customer to do what you want him to do, which is, to buy you. But ask yourself, for example, if you like being manipulated or pushed to do something even if it is good for you. Ask yourself also if you do not doubt the motivations of the seller when he try to convince you with the reasons why his product or service is good for you. Ask yourself if you think the seller does it for him, and not for you. How can you know if it's a good thing for you or something good for both? How can you trust?

Let me say something obvious, but radical: The best way to close a sale is to stop trying to close the sale. The more you try to sell, the less you will have your customer to buy. It is one of the paradoxes of the sale. The pressure does not work, so do not. It's clear that you need more customers, more sales, more margin. But that is your problem, not your client's.

The most foolproof selling strategy is to be trustworthy. That basically means that the objective of the seller is to meet the needs of the customer. That's all. That does not include closing the sale, does not include putting pressure on the customer. It includes, and I am not joking, to be even willing to recommend a competitor if that is what is most appropriate for the client. Think about it carefully, if you are never able to recommend, or even consider, the product of a competitor above yours, how can they trust your recommendations? They will always be thought that these are formulated selfishly, partially or subjectively.

On the other hand, What do you do when you meet someone whose only motivation is to help? Think of that lawyer who gives you some tax advice uninterestedly in an internet geek that advises you of the best smartphone in the market that you can find ... The answer is that, if we need what they are selling, we buy it. We buy more from those we trust. We buy because we are reassured to discover that what they have in mind are our interests and not theirs. It's not about trying to close every sale. Our job as a salesperson is to help them discover what they need, and to teach them when, how and where they can get it. If that process translates into a need for your products or services, your opportunity appears. If, on the other hand, it entails that you have to advise someone else, perhaps even a competitor, so do it.

Help your client by focusing on him, for the sake of him, thinking long term, collaborating and acting in a transparent way. These guidelines minimize seller egoism and increase credibility, both of which are very important components of the trust equation.

The goal is not to close, but to help them close themselves. If you help your customers do that, you will sell more, your customers will trust you their problems, they will call you back to buy you again, and you will leave them impressed enough that they themselves will suggest to others to call you to help them too .

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