Do you find sales difficult?
You're certainly not alone.
Key Account Managers are often accused of being farmers - good at maintaining and growing existing account relationships but lacking when it comes to pursuing revenue and new accounts.
Like it or not, we all have to sell something sometime. Clients come and go, products evolve, people change and prices go up.
The Perfect Close works for all these situations because it's easy to remember, it fits in with any sales cycle and it isn't high pressure or manipulative.
Muir examines what "closing" a sale actually means anyway. For him, it's less about asking for the business and more about advancing the conversation towards completing the transaction. He likes Neil Rackham's definition of "A close is anything that puts the customer in a position involving some kind of commitment"
I like it too.
Muir spends some worthwhile time on developing the right mindset and reminds us that sales is service - about helping your clients and prospects get solutions to the problems they face.
It's truly inspiring and a good motivator for those of us that reel at the image of foot-in-the-door sales convincing us to buy stuff we don't need. By the end of the chapter, you'll be convinced that not only can you sell, but that it's your duty.
Roll up your sleeves, because Muir lays out his entire process. He explains how to:
- Plan for success
- Set call objectives
- Figure out why your client should see you (what's in it for them)
- Decide what actions you want your client to take
- Deliver value during your next meeting
- Pre-plan future meetings
- Design a collaborative meeting agenda focused on outcomes
Action + Effort = Commitment
Muir points out that that not every "yes" is created equal. A client that agrees to a next step that is easy is not a good indication of interest. He suggests you focus on next steps that take more effort and show greater commitment.
Muir also discusses what "value" means and believes every interaction should deliver something worthwhile for your client. He makes the distinction between expected value and unexpected value, suggesting you bring an element of surprise to your client meetings. Go beyond the agenda by adding just that little bit more.
It works. I've tried it. I've noticed trust and credibility grow significantly as I strive to deliver a little more than my clients were anticipating.
Recently I discussed a customer retention strategy with a client and during the meeting shared a template I'd designed for them as my "unexpected value". I didn't have to do it. It wasn't on the agenda. But they were blown away - even by that small effort ... and it earned me a follow-up meeting to discuss how to implement it.
While much of what's revealed in the Perfect Close isn't new, what IS compelling is the way Muir has connected all the dots and put together a highly actionable and predictable framework.
The audio version is excellent, and Muir is a gifted narrator. It's an exciting few hours you'll spend with him and I didn't skip past a thing. The pace is great too - I didn't feel the need to listen at a faster speed.
One of the limitations with audio books is you don't have access to the text. And for books that invite you to follow processes and take action - that can be a real disadvantage. Many audio books ignore this point and leave the listener to fend for them selves.
Other authors please note: what really separates The Perfect Close from many other audiobooks is the comprehensive resources. There's a full suite of practical downloads that will guide and support you through the sales cycle (the Meeting Planner is worth the price of the book alone).
As for the perfect close itself? I won't spoil it for you but it is simple, easy to remember and the icing on the cake for a book that shares so much about how to move your clients through the sales process.
I highly recommend The Perfect Close by James Muir and promise you won't be disappointed.