The Black Sales Professional – Closing Two Sales at Once

If you are a Black sales professional it is no secret that closing a sale is a calculated action; part of a process that we call the professional sales call.  There is no doubt that if you are in this group you will need to have a strong sense of when to close and the technique to close both sales.

Closing on Two Fronts

The close has to come on two separate fronts.

  • My company/product is the best for you and is an acceptable price to create the value and utility that your organization needs
  • Although potentially different because of my pigmentation, I am the best choice of sales professional to handle the needs of your organization now and in the future.

There will be those that may disagree that this happens.  Don’t be naïve, as it is common.  Note the examples below:

  • A young sales person has to make the sale that they are a viable option by showing that they can provide the knowledge and have access to the wisdom and experience which when coupled with the energy of youth can be the best option.  This is right and natural.
  • Several years ago women wrongly were forced to close the credibility sale by showing that they were able to prove personal credibility and dependability.  This was fundamentally wrong, and still is.

When I was a young sales professional, I found out that I had at least two items against me.  At a time when there were a much smaller number of sales professionals who were black, I was Black, and was a mere 22 years old.

I was selling in a commercial market (B2B) where there were few Blacks were experienced, and knowledge and experience were to be touted as an advantage.  I quickly learned that you had to find compensators for these “disadvantages” while at the same time I needed to keep doing the fundamental activities that give you a chance.

Learning how to close the sale and the personal/professional sales was one of those activities.

Closing the Product/Service Sale

Knowing how to close the product sale can be scientific, yet still is an art.  Recognition that the close is not always designed to get an order but can systematically be used to determine what objections are out there is important.

There are numerous books out there on closing and having read some, they all have something to add on closing techniques and styles as well as when to close.  I am not going to cover them here, yet will in a future post suggest some books and blogs on closing that you might want to consider.

The main purpose of this post is to discuss the sale that you must make even if your product/service is the best one out there.

Closing the Personal/Professional Sale

This sale is less defined.  Much of this sale is actually done as a prequalification. This is a set of activities that you undertake from the beginning of the relationship.  This set of activities is different for each customer/prospect, as each one comes with a different set of perceptions and preferences.

It is during this calculated process that you get a customer/prospect comfortable, confident, and willing to do business with you.  Is this different than with any other sales professional?  They answer is probably yes.  It is different because in many cases you are altering perceptions, and attempting to change preferences.  A big order, yet something that can be accomplished.

Female Black sales professionals who sell know this more than any other segment.  It is better than it used to be, yet still difficult.  They are challenged to hurdles.

Here are some of the items that you are trying to sell in the Personal Sale:

  • Professionalism
  • Responsiveness
  • Credibility
  • Expertise/Specialty
  • Personal Accomplishment
  • Effectiveness
  • Vision

Your customer/prospect will recognize that if you have these traits and one more, the customer’s organizations interest in mind, you have everything you need to have value for his/her organization.

Many of the items above are linked to the Black Sales Journal Article that defines them in depth.  Please take a look at them to get a fairly in depth look what these attributes entail.

Make It Work!

Now back to the issue of prequalification. This is the process of gaining the necessary credibility to make the personal sale.  It is giving the necessary information to the client in “bite sized” portions so that it can be digested and absorbed.

You will prequalify by activities such as sending your customer/prospect your newsletter regarding his businesses industry, referring him to your customers who are next door (who he knows) to get an idea of your expertise, and share with him your ideas about how companies with your profile can get benefit in the future from you product/service.

In Summary

You can correctly position a sale of a product and prepare a close, yet if you are wise, you will realize that perceptions and preferences can be overcome, yet not in a one hour meeting. Prequalifying can have success by getting agreement and clarifcation on many of the issues that would be in question at the final sales call.

These items include providing references to give confidence (professionalism, responsiveness, expertise, etc.), making suggestions for changes and visions of the future (vision, expertise, effectiveness, etc.), and developing the deep relationship that lets all of this gel together.

Don’t miss the opportunity to feed it slowly to your customer early on.  If you give references, suggestions, and expertise information all at the end, when you present your proposal, you have missed an opportunity.  It is too late.

Close both sales and get the order.  Good selling.

Your comments are welcome.

Comments are closed.