I think most of us have the same visual image of a hard closer. A slick dresser, everything’s perfect including the shiny shoes. They know more closing techniques than anyone else on the team. You say your prospect has put off the decision for a week or two and they chime in “you should have used the take away close”, before you can finish your sentence. There are some things to be admired about hard closers and they will get a few deals that only they could have gotten. But does that mean that they are the master sales people?
Then we have the hard helper. They understand & honor the prospect’s buying process. They work hard to collaborate with multiple contacts within the prospect’s organization…to build consensus & identify obstacles. They are continuously active and prospects love them! You know who else loves them even though they will never meet them? Shareholders! Clients that are sold by a hard helper stay sold for a very long time. The net present value of these clients is markedly higher than the average client.
So which one is better? It’s an interesting question. The top 2% of your reps are actually both hard helpers and hard closers. But they’re a little different from the person alluding to in the first paragraph. They close very hard but asking tough questions about the impact of doing nothing! They keep reminding the prospect of the agreed upon needs & benefits and emit urgency on taking action! The next 18% of your top performers are hard helpers but not hard closers. They do an excellent closing job but may back off when they perceive the risk of a no.
The next 30% of your reps might just be going through the motions. They are performing tasks. Make a call. Make a presentation. Generate a proposal. Follow up on the proposal. Ask for an order. It’s okay I guess because they bring in enough business to warrant a congratulations. So let’s call this group the “as expected performers.” So the question is how do you turn as expected into above expectation.
I don’t really know the answer to that question without knowing your company & products. But I can tell you that most often I have found the issues to be;
- There has never been a core theme to sales training. You can’t expect continuous improvement in sales effectivenss if you keep hiring the trainer de jour.
- First level sales managers are smart, but they need help. Give them an ounce of leadership training and watch the numbers soar.
I’d like to know your thoughts on this topic. Please leave a comment!