Surviving Outside Sales

Demystifying the Art of Closing: Exploring the Lead-Don't-Push Approach w/ Mike O'Kelly | SOS Ep. 340

August 23, 2023 Mike O'Kelly Season 1 Episode 340
Surviving Outside Sales
Demystifying the Art of Closing: Exploring the Lead-Don't-Push Approach w/ Mike O'Kelly | SOS Ep. 340
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Show Notes Transcript

Ever felt that twinge of discomfort while closing a sale? 

We've all been there and it's a part of the territory in the world of sales. With the dynamic Mike O'Kelly at the helm, we're diving into the inevitable discomfort that accompanies asking for money. Mike shares his wealth of experience from the field and challenges the pushy sales techniques of the past, advocating for a lead-don't-push approach that's crucial in today's sales scenario.

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Speaker 1:

The Surviving Outside Sales podcast, hosted by Mike O'Kelly, presented by Sales Builder Academy. The goal is to survive and thrive all phases of outside sales, whether you're getting in, dominating or getting out. Surviving Outside Sales. Now on with the show. Welcome to the Surviving Outside Sales podcast. I'm the host, mike O'Kelly. Thank you all for joining. I'm going to ask you to download the episode, share it if you liked it. Please subscribe to the channel so you know when every episode is going to be released. Release episodes Monday through Friday, five times a week, with featured guests, probably going to start up this week on Thursdays, so you're not going to want to miss those. I had a chance to build up some interviews, so I've got guests for the next four Thursdays, so you're not going to want to miss that. I know that I talk about the business of sales and the business of sales, if you're just new to the show, is everything that is involved in the sales process. Now, the sales as a business is the closing aspect, and I talk a lot about the business of sales Today. I want to talk about closing because it's very important and when you're out in the field this week, if you're listening to this on a Monday or whenever you're listening to this. When you're out in the field, you do have to close, and I want there to be no mistake and no confusion of what I talk about. You have to be able to close. You have to be able to get people to agree to buy your product or you're just not going to be in sales. You can do everything right on the back end. You can study everything, you can have the technical competence. If you can't convince people to say yes and I do use the word convince, because people will say no, and you have to understand people's natural inclination is to say no. It's the status quo. That is their natural trajectory and the natural path. So you have to figure out a way to change that. When you're in sales, you're an agent of change. You have to take a no and that is what it's going to be. It's going to be a no and you got to change it to a yes. So how do you do that? Well, you have to close. Now, I don't agree with a lot of the closing techniques of old. They were pushy, they were aggressive. It really didn't give a good feeling. I mean, I used to close that way up until about 10 years ago and I didn't feel great. Sometimes when I got yeses, I just kind of felt, I don't know slimy, it was very salesy, it was too pushy. You're not quite sure the other person really knows what they're saying yes to, and if they even want the product, need the product, have to have the product. But now, if you use those tactics today, in 2023, they won't work and it's because everybody has used them and so buyers have experienced that 10-fold, 15-fold. But you do have to be able to close and one of the things that you need to understand to be a great closer, you have to be okay with a level of discomfort that is going to come from asking somebody for money, because that's what you're doing. When you're trying to sell something to someone, you're asking them for money. You're asking them to pull out the credit card, give you a PO number, hand you a check. Well, maybe not a check, but you get my point You're asking them for money. That is always going to be uncomfortable. As you continue along in your sales career, it will become less uncomfortable, but it's still uncomfortable when you ask people for money. Money is the great divider in society and sometimes in your 20s you don't understand that, but when you get older, you 100% understand that Money is the divider. It breaks up families, it breaks up relationships, it breaks up partnerships. And so asking somebody to pay for something is difficult. Direct sales is difficult. Having somebody pull out a credit card right then and there is difficult. You have to be able to do that. You have to be able to be uncomfortable and ask them then and there to pay for something To get you that PO to sign the contract, to ink the deal. You have to be uncomfortable. There always is going to be a level of discomfort when you are closing. Now I'm going to say this caveat If you do it correctly, they're going to be willing to hand over their credit card, their information. They're willing to do that, but I'd say, for at least 50 to 60% of the sales, you're going to have to push that person. You have to nudge that person into the decision bucket that they need to be in. But they still are a little shy. Some buyers are just shy. That is why it's very important that you lead them not push them, but lead them, and part of that is you have to ask for their money period. You have to ask for their money. You get to the point and they agree great, how would you like to pay for that? That's a great closing question to ask them. They've already agreed, so and so are you ready to move forward? Yes, I am Fantastic. How would you like to pay for that? And just be quiet and let them process what you just said, because a lot of times people get really excited and then they're like, oh, I got to pay. Oh, I got to pay right now. Oh, okay, sometimes they get taken aback. So you just have to be cool, calm and collected. How would you like to pay for that? And you wait and they say, well, I never thought of that, you just wait some more, let them talk, hear what they have to say. And then if they say, well, what should we do? Well, most of my clients just give me a credit card, and I'm perfectly acceptable with that, because a credit card, does that work for you. And then you wait and then I say, oh, okay, great, yeah. And then you wait some more. May, I have that. Now I can take that. Now I can take that credit card information from you. Now Does that work? Again, you have to keep pushing. You have to keep. They're not just going to willingly just throw it out there. Most of them won't. They aren't just going to willingly say yes, here's my card. You have to extract it from them. But you have to do that. It's going to be very uncomfortable in the beginning and you're going to think you're acting super pushy. You're not. It's just simply a transaction that is happening. But you need to understand you can do everything right. If you can't get over the uncomfortable feeling of asking someone for the business right there, then in that moment, in person or over a Zoom or over a video call or FaceTime if you can't do that, I don't know if sales is right for you. Just being honest, you have to be comfortable with pushing. You have to be comfortable with closing and, most of it, the industries in which it is the most profitable. You're going to have to get that face to face, not just a commitment. There's a difference between a commitment and a purchase. Somebody can commit all day long. Oh yeah, I'm absolutely going to do this. People can commit to parties. People can commit to meeting you out socially, but if they don't show up, that's the action. So once you get the commitment, then it's time to force them to take action. Yes, you should get excited about the commitment, but until the action is taken, which is actually payment, has happened, the close hasn't happened yet. We haven't gotten to that phase. It takes practice, repetition over and over and over, close after close, after close after close. By the time in my career where I sold a quarter of a million dollar radiation machine and I had the doctor pull out his American Express card, that was kind of a tough situation, but I had already gone through this thousands of times. So the first thing I said was what's your limit on this card? Is this an unlimited? And he said you know what I don't even know. Let me call American Express. He had to have his credit card charged twice because he did not have quarter of a million dollars on his American Express and American Express wasn't quite sure why he was going to try to charge a quarter of a million dollars. But instead of me just trying to have my corporate office run it for quarter of a million dollars, I took it another step. But I've sat there and been like all right, let's do the deal, contract signed, let's get your credit card. How would you like to pay for this? Some of the industries you're going to be in with sales. There's going to be purchase orders. Accounting is going to handle that, but you still, if you're an industry where you're selling something directly, you have to be comfortable with the closing aspect. You have to be comfortable with asking somebody to pull out payments, because that also is real for the other person. If you got any value out of this, please, please, subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you are using. Reach out to me on LinkedIn and let me know you got some value out of this episode and share it with like-minded individuals. Don't let what you just heard fly off into the world. Talk amongst your friends and see how you can hold each other accountable and how you can get better with your closing. Thank you so much. Really, do appreciate it. I will see you tomorrow surviving outside sales.