The Lost Art of Closing - by Anthony Iannarino
This book was written in August 2017 and has been very popular.
I can tell that this guy has his ideas together about selling.
The Lost Art of Closing refines the concept of “Sales Advances” as defined by Niel Rackham in “SPIN Selling” and goes on to list the types of micro-commitments necessary for a successful sale.
Like SPIN Selling Anthony proposes not closing customers on a sale, but “closing” customers on each of a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase from stalling.
To "Never be closing" sounds great but is naive.
Selling is about moving a prospect along the trail of building trust, building a relationship and ultimately the destination of a sale.
Anthony suggests that it’s not just the sales reps’ inability to sell that slow things down it’s also customers’ own struggles to buy as they are overwhelmed with too much information, options and people.
Customers fall into endless learning loops, where each piece of additional information raises new questions requiring still more research.
Asking for the decision to buy too soon, before the buyer is ready, almost ensures that the salesperson’s ask will be rejected.
Trying to go too fast will likely slow things down.
So slow down, create value for my prospects during each interaction so they have no choice but to commit to the next step. The more other-oriented I you are, the easier it is to see through their eyes.
I have written elsewhere on this website that “selling” is derived from the word “selje” which translates into “service”.
And my ABC of selling is not “Always be Closing” but “Always be Caring” Furthermore I wrote that I never faced “call reluctance” because my intention was not to make a sale but to help people.
Anthony states in this book …
“Selling isn’t something you do to someone. It is something you do for someone and with someone.”
And also states there is no reason to fear or hesitate when you are helping and in the service of others. (exactly what I have been writing for years).
In the book Anthony suggests six key components of the right mindset are:
Each chapter offers discussion, philosophy and specific advice for the most
common challenges in each area. Example statements and questions are given for each section.
E-mailing is not the best option for seeking time with your prospect.
A phone call is best and ask only for their time, don’t get into details about the product or service. Ask no more than three times and stick to what’s been agreed prior to the meeting.
Maintaining The Status Quo is a very strong desire always keep that in mind when you are selling.
Until you establish some Rapport there will always be a certain amount of resistance to discussing the “real “issues.
Your job is to make the client more comfortable with you and gradually reduce their aversion towards change. In early meetings avoid pitching about the product and focus on the threats of them remaining rigid in a fast-paced environment.
If your prospective client already believes that he has a compelling reason to change, he’ll either be working on that change or have already made the change. So walking into his office and assuming he’ll be ready to make some major alterations is a mistake.
Don’t ever expect a prospective client to tell you why they need to change. Answering the question “Why should I change now?” is your responsibility.
The value you create for your clients doesn’t come from asking them what’s keeping them up at night. It comes from telling them what should be keeping them up at night.
Present your view of your client’s business, their threats, their opportunities, and some insight about other choices available to them.
“Can I meet with a few members of your operations team to better understand their needs?
After I do that, I’ll report back to you with what I learned and some ideas about what might work for you.”
“Is there someone who can help me understand this challenge at the runway level?”
If you have trouble getting a second meeting, ask for a do-over.
Call your prospective client back and say,
“I don’t think I did a good job explaining what we should do next and why you would want to have that meeting. Can I start over?”
Think about it:
Can you name the four or five trends that are going to cause your prospective clients problems now or in the near future?
Can you share your experiences helping other people in similar situations with their challenges?
Securing the Commitment to Change is one of the things that separates professionals from the pack.
Ask if they’re ready to change.
“Are the problems we’ve been discussing the right ones for you and your team to work on right now? Or do you have others that are more pressing?”
If they’re not interested in the change,
“Can you share with me what’s preventing you from moving forward now?”
If they’re not ready to change,
“I understand completely. Can you tell me what your timeline looks like?
Perhaps we can use the time between now and then to do some of the necessary work, should you decide to do something different?”
If they think it’s the right time to change,
“Will others who are impacted by the changes you make understand the need for them? If so, do they have the ability to deal with a change like what we’re looking at here?”
If they are all ready to change
“Great. We’ve more work to do, but what’s your best idea of a target date to rollout (completion / execution / delivery)? I want to provide you with milestones as we continue this conversation.”
(The target date is not your date; it’s the client’s date)
Why would anyone be interested in buying what you’re offering if the service they use instead is satisfying their needs to the limit?
It makes no sense, so your job is to ask the right questions and see where the problems are and how your service/product can help them capitalise on these pitfalls.
Link your solutions to trends representing threats to your prospects’ businesses.
Taxi companies, for example, could have created a service like Uber, but they didn’t.
If you want to be a trusted advisor, you must value relationships more than transactions.
There are three telling clues that will let you know that you aren’t looking at an opportunity they are: