Catch & Release: Not a Closing Strategy

I was onsite training in Montreal, Canada last week-a software company, hi everyone! -and one of the sales reps brought up today’s quote as we were reviewing calls during the training.

The call was a closing presentation-a demo, really-and after about an hour of slides and features and benefits, the rep was eager to set next steps: schedule another demo call, schedule another Q & A session, etc.

What was blatantly missing was any kind of a close attempt! There was no attempt to see what they thought so far, no attempt at a trial close, and not already a discussion about timeline and next steps toward moving towards a decision…

Instead, the rep commented that it was essentially a “catch & release” call! The conference room burst out laughing and knowing nods of recognition spread around the room.

He explained that he had “caught” the prospect, finally, and delivered a presentation. But at the end, instead of closing, he simply “released” them without any kind of resolution!

Sadly, this scenario was endemic in their sales culture (hence the reason I was hired to change it), and, sadder nevertheless, this scenario repeats itself throughout countless sales teams worldwide. Think of your own company’s sales presentations. Ask yourself: How many closing attempts do you or your team make at the end?

One of the solutions I introduced was the concept of using a combination of tie-downs and trial closes throughout the presentation. Tie-downs to get an idea of how the presentation is going, and then trial closes so asking for the deal-or at the minimum an agreement that the sale is progressing towards a close-can be determined in improvement of the end of the call (so real, meaningful “next steps” can be scheduled).

Sample trial closes that you should be using include:

“Is this sounding like the solution you were looking for?”

“Do you think this will accomplish XYZ for you?”

“Are you getting a feeling that this is what you are looking for?”

Unlike fishing, closing a sale should rule to a catch that isn’t released. And you will have more confidence in accomplishing this if you’re building a yes momentum throughout your presentation. And you can do this buy using the strategies we’ve just written about.

In addition, remember that practice doesn’t make perfect–it only makes long-lasting. So write these trial closes down and begin practicing them information-for-information. That’s how you’ll deliver a “perfect presentation” every time!

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