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The Lost Art of Closing

Lesson 12 of 16

Asking for the Business

Anthony Iannarino

The Lost Art of Closing

Anthony Iannarino

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Lesson Info

12. Asking for the Business

Lesson Info

Asking for the Business

We do have to ask for the business, and this is gonna be our very shortest segment. And it has to be. I'm gonna share a couple ideas with you about language choices, but when you get to the commitment to decide, all you need to do is just ask directly for the business. If you've done all these things that we've been talking about, and you've had all these conversations, and all these commitments have been made, all you really have to do, is just walk up to the person, and say, "Price, I think "that we build the right solution. "I know that we have the consensus from your team. "We've all agreed on what the milestones are gonna be. "Unless you need something else, "I'd like to get you a contract, "and ask you to sign that. "And then, we'll have a kick off meeting "two weeks from now, and we'll begin to put this in motion. "Does that work for you, or there "something else you still need?" I just sold Price, this is great. I'll get him a contract. Immediately, now, for what, I don't know,...

but I'll find something that we can sell you. That is it. That's the whole conversation. And we make so much of this, and we get all these books that have these language choices. When I wrote this book, my greatest fear is still my greatest fear, is that people were gonna think it's a book of a bunch of closes. And that is everything that the book is not. And it is very intentional. My friend, Jake Brock, sent me a note saying, "Where's the puppy dog close? "I couldn't find that in here." And I said, "There's no puppy dog close. "You know that." What we're asking them to do, is decide to buy or tell us whatever else is holding them up, so we can do something about it. And here's how you make it difficult. You skip the commitments. So, you get time, you get explore, and you decide, I'm not gonna ask them if they really want to change, 'cause it's gonna put them on the spot. And then, they're gonna look at me negative, and they won't prefer me, 'cause I asked them this question. And then, we skip over collaboration, or we shorten it, to try to get to the punch line, and give them a presentation. Or we skip consensus building, which is a great one to skip, because a client says something like this, "Listen, Anthony. "I'll be the one that's working with you. "We don't need to bring anybody from my team, "and I'm the one that decides." And it's not true, and you have to be able to look at that person and say, "I understand. "Can I share something with you?" That's my favorite question to ask, 'cause they have to say yes. And so you get just a minute of their time to say, "In my experience, when we leave out "your stakeholders, when they find out what we're doing, "they're gonna slam on the breaks, "and they're gonna actively oppose us, "because we left them out of the process. "I promise you'll retain control here, "and I'll work all of this through you, "but if we don't bring them in, "I'm afraid we're not gonna get this outcome." So, when we skip by that, later on, we think that we're closing, and a bunch of stakeholders are now got picket signs up, and pitchfork, right? And they're ready to destroy everything in their path, 'cause they're like, "Wait, you didn't "even talk to me about this change that you're making. "You didn't even consider what we need. "How do I go and say yes to this when "you don't know a single thing about "what we want, or how you're supposed to work with us?" When you try to skip steps, you actually make it more difficult to make that ask at the end. And you make it harder for that person to say yes, 'cause now they have these concerns. Is this gonna work? Did we do enough work? Does everybody really gonna go along with this? And the fact of the matter is they're not, 'cause we left them out of the process. Or it's the easiest. You've done all these things. You've been credible and reliable in the way that you've approached everything the entire way through. And you get to this, and you ask, having done all the work, and they say, "Makes total sense to me. "How soon can you get me that contract?" And then you get to move forward. You get to decide which it is. Language choices matter a lot. We'll focus on bad language choices for just a minute. If you ever decide to close by naming a founding father, which would be the Ben Franklin close. (audience laughs) When Ben Franklin had a tough decision to make, he would get a, they would say a piece of paper, but it must have been parchment at the time, or something, right, and a quill, and he would draw a line, and he would write the positive attributes, and the negative on the, that is not a way to ask anybody for their business. And I just saw somebody that works in my world, send out something on how important the Ben Franklin close is, and I promise you, when you go back to 1776, to start the conversation, you've gone too far back in time. You don't need to go that far back. It doesn't make any sense. And then, we also have these alternative to choice, which means you don't really have a choice. It's the alternative to choice is no choice. So, I say, "Would you like your car in blue or in red? "You want me to get that contract to you today or tomorrow? "What works better for you?" It's smarmy. It's pushy. It's self-oriented. Yeah, I like smarmy, too. I like the word. It describes somebody who's kind of greasy, and you're like, I don't trust that person, the smarminess. You can't use those questions. And you can't say things that sound like this, too. And I've read a lot of advice on what, I wrote a book about closing, so I started reading everything, and I was horrified. "If I could offer you a 20% discount, would you buy today?" And like, why did you give me the higher price, if you're gonna give me a 20% discount? What is your real pricing? Now again, you started to cause me concerns about who you are. So, we have all these things, instead of just saying, "Unless there's something "else you need, I'd like to get you a contract, "and ask you if I could get started. "Can we do that?" You're gonna get a yes, or they're gonna go, "I still have this concern." "Okay, great, we'll take care of it." I had the experience, first off, you don't really want to be a salesperson and come into my home, which they do sometimes. But I had one, because I needed a patio. And the guy came into my house, and he sat down at the table, without really even look out at the area or anything, and he started opening up his binder, and showing me how great his company was, and all their reviews on Angie's List, how good their work was. And then, he asked me these questions, he said, "Am I the kind of person "you would want to buy from?" And I said, "I really don't have any idea. "I don't really know you." And he said, "Well, is my company "the kind of company that you would trust to buy from?" And I said, "Before today, I'd never heard of your company." And he said, "If price was not a consideration, "would you buy today?" And I said, "Price is not a consideration, "and no, I won't." I said, "This isn't gonna work for me." And he was stunned, like, "What?" I'm like, "Yeah, it's not gonna work." I said, "You're not gonna be the right kind "of person for us to work with. "I apologize." And then the next sales person that came in, immediately recognized that I know nothing, and I'm worthless in this deal, and immediately went right to my wife, and said, "Can you tell me what you want "that patio to look like?" And she's like, "I like him. "He cares about what I want." And I'm like, "This guys gonna jack this price up "by $5,000 right out of the gate, "because of the way you looked." Can't hold anything back, she was like, "I want this." We bought it from him, of course. And I threw the other guy out. And she's like, "That was really, really, "you were really tough on him." And I'm like, what am I-- He went to the right stakeholder. Well yeah, first, he's talking to the wrong stakeholder, and second, he's using the worst thing I ever heard, and I just gave him the honest answer. Am I the kind of guy you want to work with? I don't know, how would I know? You just showed up and showed me a binder. Not that I'm not guilty of that. When I first started selling, I had an 84 page binder at Olsten, and I really started in 1942, when William Olsten started Olsten Services, delivering women to secretarial pools during World War II. And fortunately, I had my manager with me when I went through the binder, and I noticed at some point, like maybe page seven, as I'm reading it word for word, where he had this look on his face that said, I'm gonna stab your eyes out when we leave here. And that was a kind way of expressing his dissatisfaction, but I plowed through all the way, and we got to that point, where you're on the sidewalk and you're leaving, and he said, "How do you think that went?" And I said, "I think it went really well." And he said, "I think you should be brought up on charges, "because that woman is in a coma, "and we're never going to get her out. "That was the worst thing I've ever seen. "And no one cares about us or our binder." I'm like, "Then why do we have this binder?" And he said, "They put it on their desk when we leave. "So that there's proof that they're "working with a good company. "They only care about three things." And I'm like, "What are those three things?" He goes, "I don't know, either, whatever they want. "They only want a few things. "Find out what that is." You're laughing at my expense, aren't you? [Woman In Audience] I am. I wish that wasn't a true story, but it's true, and I can still remember a little drool coming out of her mouth, like she's really in a coma. [Woman In Audience] What did you say? Just ask. Just ask. Just ask for the business. Can I put this in place for you? Can I ask you for your business? Can I ask you to sign this agreement, so we can get started? Can we schedule a kick off meeting? And that's the end of this. We have to tell them what comes next. I'm asking for the business, now I'm gonna tell you this is how we're gonna get started. We're gonna need your team together for a kick off meeting. We're gonna need to bring our team out to tour your facilities, so we get a better understanding. We're gonna need to get a little bit more information from you, so we're able to go ahead and start configuring the solution. Whatever it is, you've got to agree on what those next steps are, and it may be a negotiation, it may be information transfer, it may be having your teams work together. Whatever it is, you just have to know what it is, because that's the beginning of execution. And it's the end of the part where we ask. It should just be all decided by the time you get to this point. So, if you haven't done the work, so that you can walk in and know that this has all been decided, then you haven't done the right work. It should all be done, and this should be the easiest ask you ever make. If it's hard, it's because you missed something. And the one thing since this book has come out, that I get more comments on are, "Now I understand why I lost these deals. "And now I'm going back, and I'm re-setting "with people that I'm working on now, "and it's massively improving my results." I get one of those a day, every day, mostly on LinkedIn, as an in-mail, where somebody sends something to say, "I changed what I was doing here, "I'm asking for this commitment "to consensus, and it's working." If you follow the process, the process will work. And if you need to be more effective, look at that, and then at the end, just ask. And now we know, it's question and answer time. On the commitment for consensus and the client says, "No, I'm the guy," and you say, "Well, I understand that, "but I'm sure you have other stakeholders and such, "would love to get with them, talk it through." And they go, "No, I really am the guy." And they refuse, do you walk? No. I'm pig headed, I told you that, right? Yeah. I don't have to win this first contest. Yeah. I'll try again. And then, I'll try again. And about the third or fourth time, I'll probably get my way. And I'm gonna continue to try to make a case, to say, "If we leave them out, they're gonna resist us. "If we leave them out, as soon as we start executing, "they're gonna drag their feet. "If we leave them out, we won't have the "depth of understanding that my team wants to know, "and we're gonna end up having "a much steeper learning curve. "And listen, your concerned, I understand, "you want to keep control of this, "and I know people are gonna pick apart "what we're trying to do here. "I promise I'll defend it with you. "How do we do this? "Who's the most friendly person that "we can bring in, that you're not concerned about, "so we can at least start this?" And I can keep going if you want. No, that's good. "Who are the obstacles we want to avoid?" I mean, I'll just keep going, and keep having a conversation. I'm really good at this. There's one person, though, that's much better, and it's my youngest daughter. (audience laughs) My goodness. She's like a rain storm. You just keep getting hit with drop after drop after drop until you're like, "Okay, I get it. "You can have whatever you want. "Just go away." And so you need a little bit of that. You need a little bit of that persistence to be a good salesperson. It just comes with the territory. But I don't have to win a contest. I don't want to have a battle of wills with somebody. I'm not trying to do that. I'm not trying to butt heads with someone. I'm trying to serve them. So, I'm gonna be patient. I'm gonna take a step back, and say, it's not them, it's me. I need to change my approach. They say no, I change my approach, I get no, I gotta change my approach again. What I'm doing's not working. And I need to continue to try to do that. That's my view.

Class Description

To close or not to close, that is the question: Whether it’s smarter to use pushy tricks for the final ask or forgo the hard sell for a softer approach. For people who work in sales, figuring out the best way to close the deal is a real conundrum.

Best-selling author, speaker and entrepreneur Anthony Iannarino has come up with an innovative approach to closing that’s geared toward the new technological and social realities of our time.

Instead of looking at closing as the hardest part of the sales process, Iannarino shows how it can be the easiest. The key is to lead your customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall, including getting them to commit to investing in the process, building consensus and resolving concerns.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify and pursue your dream clients.
  • Call prospective clients without being smarmy, pushy or self-centered.
  • Uncover your prospects’ needs.
  • Present your proposal and solution.
  • Differentiate yourself in a crowded market.
  • Talk about money without fear.
  • Avoid weak language that lacks confidence.
  • Negotiate so you can capture a fair share of the value you create.
  • Ask for more business and referrals.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Anthony Iannarino Presentation

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Debbie Burney

I took an entire work day off to attend this online course. It was so worth it!. I've read Anthony's books, and I've been applying his methods and adopting the mindset of being "other-oriented," and my success is taking off in a big way. Just about everything in this session is in his books in some form, sometimes exactly, but seeing Anthony live and hearing the passion and commitment to practicing what is in the books was exciting, motivating, and sticky. The combination of reading the books, working through the workbooks, reading the blog, and now, seeing it all live is powerful stuff! I highly recommend dedicating a day for this class.

Joanna Avigail Nasierowska

Incredible course, loved it! Thank you, great advice, great understanding of sales process, sharp, quick, easy to understand negotiation & selling process.

Stephen Layman

Anthony Iannarino is an excellent teacher. I have seen the concepts and principles that he teaches ring true in and my experience in B2B sales with large creative projects. For anyone seeking to sharpen their sales technique I would highly recommend this class.