Are Closing Skills Over Rated?

A client is frustrated with their company’s flat revenue growth. They seem to be in front of enough new prospects but can’t close the business. They ask, “How can we improve our closing skills?”

The question they should be asking is, “How can we close more business?”

I often use the physician analogy with regard to sales: the salesperson is (or should be) a skilled diagnostician. When they engage a prospect, who may believe they have a closing problem, they ask enough questions to uncover the real issue; they conduct a root cause analysis.

The root cause of poor revenue growth is typically not lack of closing skills but lack of a clear sales process, strong hunting and qualifying skills and a strong consultative approach.

I often tell folks that closing is the easiest part of selling; as long as you do everything else right!

If sales process is missing, and sales methodology is not executed well, closing rates after a proposal can be 30% or less. That means salespeople may spend 70% of their time trying to make an opportunity close that wasn’t properly diagnosed and sold in the first place.

The time they spend chasing late stage opportunities that are poorly qualified takes them away from working the early stages more effectively: hunting, qualifying and consultatively selling.

This Dave Kurlan article validates this concept and he has the number to prove it!


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