Three types of closes and the last reigns

Getting a commitment from a potential customer is always music to the ears of salespeople. file photo | nmg
Getting a commitment from a potential customer is always music to the ears of salespeople. file photo | nmg 

“Closed”. This word is music to a salesperson’s ears. To close is to get commitment from the buyer that he will purchase what you are offering.

As straightforward as that may appear to be, it is amazing how the average seller struggles with it.

For instance, there are bank salespeople who argue that, “I closed because I opened the account even if it’s not funded”, and others, “… because I got the cheque” and others still, “…because they signed the contract.” And there are the unfortunate souls who say they closed because “he was in agreement with what I was saying plus he said he will buy.”

Now a close could be minor, major or conclusive. Minor closes include the buyer agreeing to the demonstration or, choosing which one of the two colours or modes of payment he prefers.

Making a choice, likely means that he is interested and, depending on the stage of the sale, could be a step away from the conclusive close.

A demo can be especially elusive because some sales people lead with it thinking, “Once he sees how it works he’ll immediately sign the dotted line.” He likes how it works but doesn’t buy and your best hand is wasted. Used correctly, as a researched prescription and not assumed diagnosis, a demonstration can lead to the conclusive close.

Major closes include signing the contract, getting the cheque, or securing an LPO (Local Purchase Order). The importance of these cannot be gainsaid.

However, sellers who keep due cheques in their drawers should stop! It’s only a piece of paper-it can get lost; it can bounce; the issuer’s business can burn down and with it the prospects of honouring the cheque; its value is extracted when it’s banked, so bank it when it’s due.

LPOs tend to be misleading for salespeople who assume that they will automatically transform to cash after the stipulated period and so don’t follow through; some even say that’s for finance department to do.

LPOs converting to cash is not always a natural progression. For instance, very likely the creditors demanding payment from embattled Nakumatt are holding dearly to LPOs.

Contracts are music to the legal departments mind but shouldn’t be the end game for the seller. Yes, they are good because if the client refuses to pay or says, “This is not what we wanted,” you can quickly flash it out and exclaim, “Aha! You signed this remember? Let me reread you Section 112, paragraph 61 subsection q, which you also initialled as you can see here. Now, subsection q says…” But is that a close?

The conclusive one is money in the bank. And this ultimate one is what the other two should culminate to.

The conclusive close is what keeps the business running-it pays salaries, commissions, and for new products. So next time you say “closed”, mean money is in the bank.