The Needle in a Haystack and Closing

It’s an age-old conundrum – how can you search for a needle buried in a haystack? Virtually impossible, I’d say. That’s the problem with selling and especially closing for the business.

Indeed closing has a bad rap – visions of Alec Baldwin from the 1990’s – always be closing – don’t do it justice.

The hurdle is finding the right customer for you, who has the money to spend, has needs that totally match your product or service and want to go ahead with you right now. They are out there, and traditional prospecting and marketing tends to use the shotgun approach of shooting enough pellets in the sky to hit the target. This method does cause a lot of failed sales meetings and time-wasting.

The secret is the real answer to my problem of the haystack and the elusive needle.

You simply put a torch to the hay, let it burn into ash and then blow it away. What’s left is the needle. Simples.

When selling, we should be constantly trying to eliminate customers by closing all the time with the objective of burning the hay to reveal the needle. Here’s a few ideas you may not have thought about:

  • Early on, if the customer is derailing, you just tell them that your service is not right for everyone and suggest it may not be right for them. I do this many times, and invariably they come back wanting it more.
  • When it’s time to sign the contract, just ask them outright – do you want to go ahead with this, or not?” or “do you want it?”
  • Pre-close by asking if they’re interested so far, if they’re not, suggest we end the connection
  • With the classic money objection – just deal with the “knee jerk” aspect first by asking – are you sure?”, then deal with it.
  • When prospecting, do make sure you actually contact them even though it may take 10 or so methods to physically make contact. Then quickly put across your value proposition – aka elevator, sound bite, business card – ask if that might be something that would be of interest.
  • Use the towards and away from method of presenting your service. When outlining how it meets their needs, highlight what might happen if they didn’t go ahead, i.e. the away from motivation. This can be alluring for the customer.

Make sure you work out the value to the customer in starting early on. This is a bind, and many sellers don’t go there or choose soft values. In a hardening economy you must calculate the value and return on the cost of your product. If you can’t then they may not be in the market for your solution. Suggest this and seek a reaction.

Have you ever set light to a haybale? I imagine that would cause a lot of additional damage to the farmer’s fields. I remember when farmers would set light to fields of stubble and cause raging fires all over their land. And wouldn’t the needle melt – I wonder what the melting temperature is?