Shortly after I gave my negotiating presentation at VOICE 2007, Alex asked me to write several short articles for Voice123, saying he particularly wanted an article about “closing the deal”. Since I’ve covered this topic only briefly before in seminars I started brushing up on the topic by reading about sales techniques. I knew that negotiating plays a big part in sales, but quickly realized the material was very familiar to me because sales techniques and negotiating techniques both employ the strategies and tactics I teach and use on a daily basis.
Webster’s defines “closing” as to bring to an end, to conclude a discussion or a negotiation, or to enter into or complete an agreement (e.g. closes on a deal). Salespeople strive for an agreement on terms which, among other things, includes the details of the product and the price. Both sales and negotiating are about getting to “yes” or coming to an agreement.
When you go to a car dealership to buy a car the sales person hands you over to the sales manager. The manager then further persuades you that this, specific new car is the one you can’t live without. In this situation, the manager is the “closer” who is there to cinch the deal. In the VO business we mostly work by and for ourselves. For the most part, VO talent doesn’t have the luxury to employ a closer.
When you go through a job checklist with a potential talent buyer, not only are you gathering the detailed information needed to give a good quote, but also getting the buyer to invest both time and energy. The more involved the other side becomes, the more they have invested in you. They’re also invested in helping create an agreement. You are assisting the client in making the decision to hire you.
Since some people are uncomfortable making decisions, you may need to guide your potential clients in making them. One way to do this is by providing the client simple choicesand leading him or her to easy answers. “Is this spot to be done dry or do you need full production?”. Use your checklist to provide simple choices that show why they should hire you. You are helping them make decisions and also showing them you are a professional.
An example of a close is “... When do you need this by? I can start on your project first thing in the morning. Let’s work out the rest of the details and I’ll get started.” There are many ways to close and you should try different variations depending on the circumstances. Be creative. Mark McCormack in his book What They Still Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School says, “The best closing technique might be no technique at all – where the sales pitch seamlessly leads into the purchase and the buyer doesn’t know the difference.” The best sales person, or closer, whenever possible gets to “yes” without their prospective client knowing they were sold. In my opinion, the best negotiating and sales are “win-win” situations where everyone’s needs and goals are met.
Article Written by Gregory Best