It was one year ago today that I published my second book, The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales.
A lot of people don’t know that authors do not get to name their books. Because the publisher purchases the book from the author, they get to determine the name, as well as the cover art. I tried to name this book, The Art of Commitment Gaining, because I was afraid that using the word “closing,” was going to give people the impression that this book was an oold-school approach. I believed that it might give people the impression that it was something out of Glengarry Glen Ross, when nothing could be further from the truth.
The Lost Art of Closing is a framework for being super-consultative and guiding your dream client through all of the decisions they need to make in order to move from their current state to a better future state.
Over the course of my life and sales, I followed very closely the insight I gained from Neil Rackham in his legendary book SPIN Selling. In that book, Rackham shared the primary difference between successful salespeople and unsuccessful salespeople was, in part, the ability to gain a commitment to take the next step, something he called in advance. I found it to be a most powerful approach, and one that allowed me to control the process well enough to allow me to create a preference to work with me and my company over my competitors.
I found that if I could link the commitment to time with the commitment to explore change, getting that next meeting on the calendar improved the likelihood that I would keep the prospective client engaged in the process. I also found that if I could link a discovery meeting to another discovery meeting in which other stakeholders could share their wants and needs and collaborate on what the solution might look like, my odds of winning continued to improve. At some point I noticed that many leaders wouldn’t decide to change without the support of their people. I began to ask for the commitment to get more stakeholders involved to ensure that I could gain their support – or at least mitigate the challenges that would come from the client changing from their current provider to me and my company.
I kept a list of commitments that seemed to be necessary in almost every deal. There were eight before the commitment to decide, when you ask the client to sign a contract and commit to moving forward with whatever solution it is that you’re proposing. I also found that there was a commitment after the commitment to decide, something I call the Commitment to Execute. Sometimes I would sell a solution, and the client wouldn’t make the necessary changes or do what was necessary on their end. In order to serve the client, I would have to go back around and resell people on what they needed to do and help them act.
The Lost Art of Closing is anything but old-school, high pressure, hard sale strategies or tactics. In fact, it is the polar opposite.
Every week, I receive emails or messages on LinkedIn from readers who tell me they only bought the book because one of their friends suggested how helpful it was in improving their sales results. They tell me they didn’t want to buy the book or consider it because the title made them believe that it was something that it is not.
There is an old saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover. You also can’t judge a book by its title. If you want to improve your likelihood of winning deals, the methodology in The Lost Art of Closing, will provide you with a framework and sample language as to how you can better serve your clients and prospects by controlling the process and helping them commit to doing the things necessary to produce the better future state they need.
Of everything I’ve written, this book is right up there as one of the most important frameworks I’ve ever developed to help salespeople produce better results.
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Filed under: Sales Acumen