Q: Why did you write The Lost Art of Closing?
A: There is a massive gap in the area of closing. The ideas that are available to salespeople no longer match the reality of selling today. The idea that the one final commitment is what is necessary to win business is no longer true. There are at least ten commitments in a complex sale, and many of them are much tougher to gain. The truth of the matter is that gaining the earlier commitments makes the final ask simple and straightforward.
Q: That’s a good reason.
A: Yes, but that isn’t all. I write books for salespeople. One of the things that I have always struggled with was reading books that didn’t provide me with the answers. They were more theory than action, and while no one loves theory more than I do, I want to be able to put what I read to immediate use. So both The Only Sales Guide (TOSG) and The Lost Art of Closing (TLAC) are prescriptive. They’re the books that I would have wanted when I started selling.
Q: What’s wrong with the old closing techniques?
A: The closing techniques from decades ago are transactional. Most of them were developed to work in a B2C sale, and they’re based on tactics, tricks, and tie downs. Listen, there is a reason that salespeople have a negative stereotype, even if it no longer matches reality. A lot of that negative stereotype is the direct result of how we sold, how self-oriented we were, and the hard sell tactics we used. Those techniques are relics of the past, and they have no place in the present.
Q: You also believe the idea of “overcoming objections” is no longer accurate.
A: I do. That language suggests that you are doing something to someone. It hints at a contest, and that is how it was taught and trained. It’s no longer useful. The right way to think about what we do now is that we are resolving our client’s concerns. They aren’t objecting; they’re expressing their fears, what they perceive as risks. We have to help them resolve these concerns so they can move forward and make the changes they need to make to produce better results.
Q: That sounds soft.
A: I assure you it isn’t. I want to be very clear in what I say here. You are going to have very difficult conversations with your clients, and it can be a real challenge to help people do what is right, even when they believe they need to change. The Lost Art of Closing deals with those conversations because that is what is necessary to win deals and make change. If you think that anything here sounds “soft,” wait until you start dealing with gaining the commitments. There is nothing soft about helping people change. What this book is about is the skillful means for doing so.
Q: Why do you work so hard on a book launch?
A: You write a book so that you can help people with some idea, some way of thinking or doing something different. You write with a group of people in mind, the people you want to help. You want to get the book in their hands. That doesn’t happen by accident or chance. I market the books because I want people to do better work, to produce better results now. Plus, I am a salesperson. Why on earth would anyone buy a book on sales from someone who won’t try to sell their own book?
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