B2B lead generation is not a new discipline. Salespeople have used numerous tactics to win over the hearts, minds, and wallet share of customers. In fact, people have been using closing techniques for thousands of years. From cavemen looking to secure the best trade for their excess mammoth meat to businessmen negotiating a new IT contract, we’ve developed a whole range of closing techniques over the years to seal the deal and make that sale.
The phrase Always Be Closing was popularised in the 1992 film, Glengarry Glen Ross starring Alec Baldwin. Called the ABC of sales, it became the motivational phrase of the day, used to describe a regimen where salespeople must continuously look for new prospects, pitch products and ultimately complete a sale. The movie emphasised the dark, cut-throat side of sales where an aggressive manager used ABC to motivate a group of estate agents. Eventually and inevitably his tactics backfire and the salespeople resort to a host of unethical and damaging methods to achieve their sales numbers causing havoc to the business in the process.
B2B lead generation experts are now only too aware that pushy, overly goal-seeking behaviours are both irrelevant and destructive in today’s marketing world, where relationships play such a mission critical role in B2B lead generation. Furthermore, with the world of sales moving faster than ever, many tried and tested techniques have become painfully outdated. Customers are now increasingly aware when they’re being ‘played’ and many big businesses will react badly to an attempt at manipulation, or having pressure placed on them by a company.
So more than ever it’s essential your sales team are aware of these outdated techniques if they’re going to avoid them. To help move your closing pitch into the 21st century, here are some of the worst offenders out there and a few alternative techniques for you to try.
The puppy dog close
One of the oldest tricks in the book, the ‘puppy dog’ (despite being an excellent opportunity for a cute photo) is a closing technique that salespeople use on buyers who are interested in a product or service, but who are unsure about making a commitment. The pet shop owner convinces the buyer to take the puppy home for a night to see how they get on. As soon as the new owner has bonded with the puppy and enjoyed its company, it’s very unlikely they’ll return the puppy to the shop and the sale has been made.
The impending doom
One of the most obvious tricks in the trade, the ‘impending doom’ close is especially outdated. In fact, many professional buyers find the technique so irritating they’ll opt-out of any future contact with the perpetrator. Not only will this dramatically reduce your chances of success, it could also damage your business relationship in the long term. The basic idea of the technique is that the seller implies the opportunity they’re offering will disappear if the buyer doesn’t take action immediately. Most decision makers today will spot this ploy a mile off, so make sure your team avoids it at all costs.
Good cop, bad cop
The ‘good cop/bad cop’ technique plays on the fact that people like doing business with people they get on with. If you can blame someone else – your boss, your targets, your colleagues – for the pressure you’re having to exert to get a deal, secure a contract, or recover payment, you can keep a good relationship going with your contact while pushing to seal the deal.
Alternative closing techniques
Though some people may find closing techniques useful, at Blue Donkey, we believe you shouldn’t need to use gimmicks and games to obtain your sales goals. Instead, we rely on using skilled telemarketers, a passionate message and an intelligent approach. Asking the right open questions, listening carefully for the buyer’s needs and preferences, communicating carefully thought through business benefits, and working at the prospect’s pace, will all mean that by the time you ask the potential client for the business, its welcome, appropriate, and leads to long mutual success.
As well as helping us to avoid sales clichés, this method allows us to build real business relationships, connect with our clients and develop contacts that will last.
To find out more, contact a member of our team today or explore our website.