Selling is not closing but to close you must sell. Confused? Read on

The sales cycle is a guideline, not a deadline. Being a cycle, technically, it has no end. However, if it did have an end, closing the sale would be it. Ultimately, closing the sale is what counts. Movement along the cycle is selling; that movement is much akin to a dance. The 2002 hit song, “Atoti” by Gidi Gidi Maji Maji captured it well: “Atoti, go (go), Atoti, come (come), Atoti this way (this way) Atoti that way (that way), Atoti panda (panda), Atoti suka…”. This however does not suggest, in any way that the waltz does not hit a crescendo – it must. And in selling, the crescendo is a close. Selling is like football; scores are the ultimate count! Indeed, selling is not closing. Get it? No? Let’s continue.

Selling is not closing, but closing needs selling

It’s all well and good that you played well-but did you score? Yes, you had 85% ball possession, but what did you do with it? Yes, you mesmerized the crowd with your dazzling footwork, but your opponent won the game. You had 6 of the 7 corner kicks. 82% of the match was played on your opponent’s half. You even had two penalty kicks. Oh, yes. Your game had all the hallmarks of an enchanting football match. Good to know. BUT! Did you score?!

Admittedly though, selling is not closing all the time. If you’re selling through conversion, selling log book loans, for instance, creating awareness is the purpose of the salesperson-prospect engagement. I mean, if you are selling moving services, you can’t go knocking doors, or worse, stopping people in the streets to ask, “Unahama leo?” (Are you moving house today?). Still, when they do come knocking on your door asking to use your services, converting them to buy (closing) still rules as the ultimate metric.

Selling is conversing, closing is converting

The run of the mill salesperson will be heard lamenting that no-one is appreciating her efforts. She wants commendation for her efforts so that she can bask in it. “I made 100 calls to prospective clients, got appointments with 30 of them, made a brilliant presentation to 10 of them and yet I’m still last in the rankings. (Sob! Sob!) No-one likes me!” Well, you are there to sell. And to close the sale! And the rankings are based on closes made, not effort put in. So, for as long as no conversions to a close are seen, your name will not be budging from the tail position any time soon.

Why? Because you weren’t converting but conversing. So, by all means, play the game well; dazzle the crowd; keep the commentator lauding you throughout the match, and have the most shots at goal. But remember, what took you there and what will move you forward. SCORE!

Read: Forget closing the sale! Just get the appointment

Selling is not closing

Why closing a sale is important in the sales process

Surprisingly, to many salespeople this is heavy stuff. During an appraisal they will even argue with their manager. “I don’t deserve the low grade you are giving me. I put in so much effort.” Don’t get the manager wrong; your efforts are indeed commendable. Possibly he has even repeatedly challenged your colleagues to emulate your impressive movement along the sales cycle. BUT! Your company does not judge its growth by the number of meetings held; (nor are you paid in effort made shillings). Your company runs and is judged by how the decisions arrived at in those meetings convert to profit. Your closes construe that profit, and cash to pay you. When a seller fails to close this is not achieved. Selling is not closing; sold, yet?

‘Closing’ isn’t just intrinsic in selling, music or football. It is so in life, too. You cannot afford to be on a perpetual courtship with a girl. Call her Atoti. If you are not moving towards a close, Atoti will want to know sooner rather than later where all this ‘selling’ is headed. “What are we doing? What are we? Are we just having fun? Are you wasting my time? Just point me where we are headed. ‘Close!’”

Read: The three types of closes and why the conclusive one matters

Selling is not closing- example

Now then. It’s no different in professional selling. Subconsciously, the prospect expects the salesperson to move him to a close. But just like football isn’t a simple penalty kick, the salesperson and prospect know that some fancy footwork on the selling field is expected before a shot at goal is made. And then a third, and perhaps a fifth, before the commentator screams, “GOALLLL!”.

The calls, interviews, demonstrations, objections handling, and validations are not to be diminished in any way. Just like the continual footwork on the field (or courtship) to enable a clear shot at goal, the steps in the cycle are critical and necessary to move towards a close. So, get her PIN certificate, ID and get her to complete the application form. But unless you want to remain holding pieces of paper and no active account, get her to deposit an amount in the new account too.

Selling is not closing. Fun to watch as it may be, football is a ruthless game. At the end of the day what matters is one thing only: the score. Sales is no softer; what ultimately matters is one thing: the close.

Read: Winning in sales is not based solely on ‘goals scored’


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