In the first four tips on Hiring the Salesperson, we covered preparation, motivation, prospecting and sales technique.
In this tip, let’s tackle the Holy Grail of sales: closing.
Of course, many sales leaders will tell you that ‘closing’ only occurs when all of the earlier steps of a sale are in place. And there’s more truth there than in a lot of poetry I’ve been reading*.
First and foremost, we want to find out from the prospective salesperson what he/she believes closing is and what it depends on. So let’s ask him:
“Frank, your resume says you’ve been selling for a number of years, so this is good. Tell me what your concept of closing is and what a close depends on?”
Frank gives his answer.
“Okay, Frank, that sounds fine. What actions should be taken at the close and what actions should be taken after the close?”
Frank reports up on this and you then ask, “If you were not getting a healthy number of closes, what steps would you take to rectify this?”
You should also ask Frank about any books on closing techniques he’s read. Which authors and which techniques did he find most valuable?
When Frank is answering, it’s a good idea to take some notes. You may want to compare answers with other prospective salespeople.
In this tip, we just want to establish some of the basic ideas our prospective salesperson has on closing. The next tip (on closing) will get you deeper into what your prospective salesperson’s thinks and we’ll take a look at the area of ethics and closing.
* When I was hitch hiking around the country back in 1979, I got stuck on a small road coming out of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Night came and I had to sleep by the side of the road. Not the end of the world, as that was part of what hitch hiking was all about. However, that night, a hard rain fell for about two hours, completely soaking my sleeping bag and everything in it, which was me! Not long after the rain, the temperature dropped and ice crystals started forming all around my sleeping bag. Then around 3 or 4 AM it began snowing. Two inches of snow later, I was not really sure I was going to make it through the night, but the sun finally did make its way through.
I gathered up all of my soaking wet belongings and managed to get a short ride to a “roadside inn.” I dragged myself inside and what a sight I must have been. Three very stocky guys in plaid shirts were sitting at one end of the bar. I concluded they were “loggers.” I’d heard about this breed. They were sipping coffee, which I translated in my young, traveling mind to be “hot java!” When they saw me barely make my way to a bar stool, one of them asked, “You didn’t sleep outside last night did you?” I offered without delay, “I did. And it sure can get cold in these parts.”
He responded with “There’s more truth there than in a lot of poetry I’ve been reading.”
I had struck the hitch hiker’s mother load! Loggers, hot java, poetry and truth! I hopped on my bar stool as if I belonged and ordered a cup of hot chocolate.
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