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This episode is a business coaching course that clarifies the difference between confirming versus closing the deal.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Lesson Nugget: If you view sales as war, you will have a lot of dead customers.
  • Definition Magician: Close - To move (a door, window etc.) so that things cannot pass through an opening.
  • Fun Factoid: The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840.
  • Lesson Nugget: When you make a sale you are not closing, you are starting a relationship full of opportunities and responsibilities.

-Here we are with move number eight now, confirming versus closing the sale. And if you're talking about closing sales, I know this is a very important episode for you to be watching. I've been in sales for a while now.


-And one of my favorite things that I think it's hilarious to me, is hearing all the different phrases that salesman have when they talk about closing down the sale.

-Oh yeah.

-I've heard like, we're going to book their face. We're going to close it. What have you heard? Have you heard some ridiculous ones?

-Well the classic one is my sales manager when I was selling cars for a short season. The guy, every Monday morning, he'd stand up there. I think I said this is one of the other episodes.

He said, all right boys. Here's the deal. There's a lot of people out there that's got our money in their pocket. Your job is to go out there and get it. And then people would say the customer is carrying your money around and you need to set it free.


-Like this one salesman in a motorcycle dealer. And the salesman said, "I don't believe that guy." And I said, "what?" He said, "I was just talking to those customers over there. I spent 20 minutes with those people. I showed him every bike in the place, and they left. They walked. They didn't buy. They owe me."

-Because he viewed it as his money. Unbelievable.

-I said, "excuse me? They owe you?" I said, "it's not their job to buy. It's your job to sell."

He said, "well, they owe me. I spent time with them." I said, "you honestly think being a motorcycle tour guide justifies someone giving you money?" He's said, "well, I was selling."

I said, "no, you weren't. You were a motorcycle tour guide. You weren't identifying their need. You were just guiding their interest from one bike to another and you never did show them that you genuinely cared about them, so why should they care about you?" And he said, "well, they owe me anyway." In other words, he didn't want to leave that mood of having been exploited.

-Right. This is a huge issue though. If you're in sales, if you own a business, if you're hoping to advance in your career and you don't know how to confirm or close that relationship you're going to dive into that with us. And this is going to be big. I don't understand though, and I'll just leave you with this question as I move off of the stage here out of the cameras, how could you build a business without closing? Is that even possible?


-OK. Take it away.

-I'll show you how. In relationship selling, one of the things we do from the start is we re-examine how you think about what you're doing. Now, I want to have a little intellectual exercise with you that has nothing to do with selling.

OK. I just want to do a definition exercise. All right? I'm going to present a word and I want you to tell me technically what does that word mean.

OK. Here's the word. To close. What does it mean?

If you look it up it means to shut. It means to end. It means to finalize. It means to exclude.

This is a closed market. This is a closed room. This is a closed meeting, which tells people you're not welcome here.

The case is closed. What does that mean? It means discussion is over. No more talking. Don't want to hear what you've got to say. Case is closed. Right?

And then a salesperson comes in and says hey, I closed that guy. What? You shut? You finalized? You ended? You excluded? You-- what? No, I closed the guy.

What do you mean, you closed the guy? I mean I got the sale. Well, that's not closing anything. If anything, that's opening up a new relationship and a responsibility to fulfill an order. Well, they call it closing. Yeah, but they shouldn't have. Here's what I mean by that.

Long ago when sales languages developed it was during the industrial era. In the industrial era we had just come from an agricultural society into the industrial society. So instead of thinking of everything as organic and from the earth and everything related to animals in nature and all that, people were now thinking of things in terms of machines. That's why you would hear people talk about years ago re-engineering an organization.

Well, the implication is the organization was engineered in the first place. Well, if you look at an organization, what an organization is a group of organisms-- living things, people. OK. If it's a group of living things, it is not a machine.

Well, it kind of behaves like-- no. That's way too much of a stretch. If you end up with industrial era thinking you see everything as mechanical, and if something's a machine, you've got no reason to care about it. You turn it off at the end of the day. You turn it on again the next morning.

You don't care about the machine. You oil it. You service it. That's it. A machine performs a function.

Well, if you're in the industrial era mindset that's the way you look at selling and you end up using words like "closing" to indicate the completion of a sale. What we ought to call it is what it is, confirming. We're not closing anything.

We're confirming the commitment to buy. We're confirming our commitment to fulfill the order or to provide the service. So it's a confirmation and a signature is not a close. A signature is a confirmation, a commitment. OK?

So if you completely re-frame this in your mind to confirming-- Jim, it's just words. Yeah. Words. What are words?

They are sounds that indicate meaning. And if you use this word versus this word, they have different meanings. Say naw, close and confirm mean the same thing. No, they don't. They have their own unique meaning. Use the word that means the right thing.

So confirming the sale-- absolutely. Confirm every sale. Ask people to buy. Ask them to buy, follow through, handle the concerns that they have, show them the reasons for buying, help them get past any obstacles that come in the way. Urge them to buy. Stick in there. Don't give up prematurely. Keep on showing them ways that you can be of value and reasons that they should go ahead by, but don't make it about closing anything and certainly not closing anyone.

Now, in real estate that's different. They have a process that's known as the closing process. And that's where, literally, the case is closed.

All the paperwork is done, the legal sign-offs and everything and the deed is transferred, case is closed. But that's not closing the sale. Closing the sale is getting the person's commitment to buy, and closing the sale is about confirming the sale, not about closing it at all. So in your own mind, just make closing a trigger word that raise a red flag, and every time you see that flag go up in your mind, you say this is about confirming, about making it official, about getting permission to be of value to this person commercially.

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