Closing the Deal

Against your will — but in your best interest

I was privately asked:

‘My pitches generally go really well, and I notice I get shy- for lack of a better word- when it comes to closing rapidly. The other day, with [the potential client], I suddenly found myself avoiding answering the price question.’

My answer seems worthy of sharing here. I answered them ‘Indeed, you are literally describing ‘the closing of the deal.’

This is not my speciality, far from it, I too hate ‘doing sales.’ But from a cognitive science point of view, I believe I know why we (many people, perhaps most) have a problem here.

It starts with changing the way we look at it all.

Summed up:

You have to put yourself in their position, and ask how annoying it would be as the one being pitched to — not to know the simple answer to: ‘Ok, how much?’

This will sound like an odd detour to your question, but it was an insight I had once when I was younger in a hospital: Everyone feared or hated nurses (much like people fear or hate dentists). I have a phobia of needles, and so this makes it even worse for me. Not a fear mind you, a phobia. It is terrifying for me.

But it struck me that a nurse’s job is to make you do something against your own will but in your best interest.

As a result, I suddenly viewed all nurses as great people (truly great, and perhaps the hardest working people I’ve ever witnessed, repeatedly) and we need to do our best to help them… help us.

This is the case with sales of your product or service.

You have to be a little forceful to help them buy your service that you know is truly going to help them. But they don’t know that, or even if they do, they might make a bad decision because the fact is, they are NOT experts in what you are selling them.

Hug a nurse today! (wash your hands, and ask permission first)

Let’s delve deeper:

Ignore all the tropes and assumptions about ‘selling’, because they don’t apply to you.

Most sales happen by people that did not invent or provide the actual services.
They should be appreciated as well, but it is a different game. When the creator is the salesperson, it is no longer sales really, it is something else: stating facts, sharing passion, explaining, or in some cases theory for the creator.

Back to game theory:

  • A salesperson is looking to make money.
  • An inventor is looking to solve a problem.

May you only be so fortunate to find a salesperson that SHARES your passion and reasons. And if they are true, they will do so on commission.

Of course, both can be doing both. but, it is important to recognise the extremes. The game theory of the situation is not intended to be an insult to salespeople, it is intended to make clear it ‘can be’ this extreme.

I decided one day (several decades ago) to read over 100 books on sales (literally, I picked that number, and hoped I might gain some insight). I found one person that stood out — read all his books — and listened to all his lectures, Zig Ziglar.

He is literally a Car Salesmen. His lectures are even better than his books. To hear him directly. Sure, he delves into the parts that make my skin crawl a little. But that is more about the negative conditioning we suffer due to the tropes. Even Zig himself addresses this. He is all about ethics, and motive, and doing things for the right reasons. He is inspiring.

I still hate selling myself, or my products or services, but his words did in fact take the edge off, and all I have to remember is it's a win-win.

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