(Famous author Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the wrong word is the same as the difference between a lightning bolt and a lightning bug”)
Sales industry is full of jargons. Some are used universally, while others are company specific. Perhaps the most widely used jargon in sales is “Close the Deal or Close the Sale”. This is something, any sales person is growing with in his/her career. And that’s why one can hardly ponder upon, what this jargon means to others, from non-sales background. One fine day, my wife had raise this question to me. She demanded, if we are not going to do any business with that client again? This incidence provoked me to give an effort to find the origin of this jargon. I asked some of my relative and friends (from non-sales background) about what they understand from this phrase in question. Answers were varying. Some were already aware of this jargon. But those, who were not, had shared similar thoughts as that of my wife. For them, it means there will be no more sales with a particular client. From books to internet to sales experts, I spent time and energy to get some insights, which I would like to share in this blog.
Although there is nothing scripted concretely, from where this jargon came. But after all studies and discussions, it seems that there is significant difference between, how we handle customers today, that old days. Partnership with customer is a new concept. Previously, focus was given mainly to find a customer, apprise him about product or service, convince him and accomplish sale. After sales was done and payment was realised, process was considered over. Search for a new client was started. Even, if the old customer was served again, no one really cared for post sales services. Rarely, any effort was given to understand execution process with customer after sales was accomplished. To summarise, sale’s cycle was over with price realization, and thus this phrase “Close the Deal” was coined and used for long. Still this phrase is widely used. But in today’s scenario, is this jargon equally relevant and applicable.
There are many sales professionals now who refrain themselves using the term “closing” when it comes to their sales activities. For them, closing is something you do when you are done with something or implies hard closing techniques that are not so popular with customers. These professionals prefer phrases like “earned a sale,” “made a customer” or “solved a customer’s problem”. Moreover, they think that getting order and payment realization is not closing but a BEGINNING. Beginning of a new relation to know your customer in a better way, beginning of a process to improvise their product and services as per customer demand, and above all beginning of a new learning.
This new breed of sales professionals clearly understands that competition is growing much faster than ever before. Sales is rapidly shifting its parameters. Customers are expecting partners in vendors than merely a sales person. After all, whatever they sale, they should be responsible for performance of their product or service as per claim. Looking at the sales cycle too, they realize clearly that finding and convincing an altogether new customer is much difficult that nurturing relation with an existing customer. Those organizations, who are still sticking to the literal meaning of “Close the deal” are getting out of race gradually.
In other words, select the words and your process intelligently. Who knows, you might just LOSE AN OPPORTUNITY OF GETTING CLOSE by TALKING ABOUT CLOSING A DEAL?