By Raju Mandhyan
GONE ARE the days when sales people had to be snappy looking, fast talking, and bag-toting musketeers. Gone are the days when mere product knowledge, industry experience, terrain familiarity, and the right connections could land you a sale. Gone too, are the days when buyers were taken in by the name of a brand, the flash of a product, and the ease of making the purchase. Especially gone is the time when professional selling was a one-way street called “Pitch,” “Push,” or a “Closing Cul-de-sac.”
Today, the selling profession has transcended its former negative image of a racket run by fast-talking, glib-tongued characters. Today selling is a relationship, a collaboration; a dance where who is leading whom is not easily discerned. Selling today is a journey of equals whose destination is value creation. It is a destination that is constantly moving. It is a progressive goal into a far off future.
Your question might be, close what?
Yesterday’s managers and supervisors frequently prodded their salespeople toward increased sales and productivity through mantras called “Always Be Prospecting” and the ABC of selling, which meant “Always Be Closing.” My question to these folks had always been “What do you mean always be closing?” Closing what?
But isn’t that stating the obvious? Isn’t it apparent what the statements, “always be prospecting” and “always be closing” are saying? Isn’t any sales person or any individual for that matter, always prospecting or closing? Isn’t life itself about having and filling needs? Aren’t we, humans, always on the lookout for things to live by, grow with, and build upon? Isn’t life a constant struggle up the Maslowian Mountain of needs?
In highlighting and pushing these two paradigms of “always be prospecting” and “always be closing,” we have taken our focus away from what is important in life. Life is about learning, loving, and living out our innate desires as human beings to create value in the lives of others.
Thus, I would like us to take a second look at and reconsider our perspective of the word “close,” which is of hunting, capturing, and feeding only our own needs. I would like to reintroduce “close” in a perspective of being near, being open, supportive and trusting. I’d like to propose “close” as an act of coming together to co-create value for the world through the hearts of our collective minds.
Well, the word heart is symbolic of the core where precious trust and shared values reside. These values need to align, to get close and have a productive relationship.
And, then you might ask me why something as common and as mushy as the “heart”?
Beyond the symbolism of the word “heart,” it is extremely important to know what research has proven. People’s buying decisions are made from the heart. The final “yes” or “no” often transcends all logical and rational analyses. What it comes down to is actually a cocktail of emotions and primal needs. That is why some people stock up on goods that, actually, serve them no discernible purpose. Take for example, shoes and bags for women; cars and hair products for men. That is similarly why many, sensible solutions in businesses are not accepted or acquired; because the group’s intellectual, emotional, and primal needs did not come to a consensus.
This is my way of seeking permission to walk you briefly through the halls of neuroscience towards authentic influence and improved sales through the HeART of the Close.
Raju Mandhyan Author, Coach and Facilitator.