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She Had Me Until…3 Surefire Ways To Kill The Close

“If you join today, I’ll waive the $100 initiation fee. Are you interested in joining?”

I still can’t believe it. Only minutes into my first meeting with this well-educated (she has a law degree), seemingly professional business person, she went for the home run without even trying first base.

Yuck! Gross! Gag me!

No. I’m not talking about sexual advancement.

I’m talking about “two point oh (2.0)” business and building relationships in the 2014 world of doing business with people who want to know, like and trust you before buying from you.

After recoiling from this unexpected 1970s-shoe-salesman approach to winning customers and influencing buying decisions, I gave her an honest answer – “NO.”

Let me share the three things that contributed to this sale gone wrong.

She Didn’t Do Her Homework

If you don’t have 10 minutes to check out a prospect before your first meeting, RESCHEDULE (yes, I’m yelling at you). At a minimum:

  • Do a Google search of the prospect’s name with and without quotes
  • Look at the prospect’s business and/or personal website
  • Checkout the prospect’s LinkedIn (if you have Rapportive you can do the research right from your inbox) profile

She Reeled Me In With A  Misleading Premise for Meeting

Actually I met my “go for the kill” closer at a professional women’s networking meeting. We exchanged niceties for a few minutes before the evening presentation. Here’s a quick run-down of our conversation.

  • She told me that she scheduled event speakers for her business.
  • I told her I did training.
  • She suggested we meet to see if there was a fit.

When she called to schedule our one-to-one, I understood we were meeting to see if my training topics were appropriate for her business. Nope. The meeting was a cold call sales pitch.

Bottom Line: Words matter. Clarify assumptions. Not all professional business people understand the concept of goodwill and friendraising.

She Didn’t Read The Tea Leaves

I believe when businesses cultivate marketplace relationships, prospects become customers and customers become brand advocates.

I also believe prospects give signals when they are ready to buy. As my husband tells me, boys don’t go in for the kiss until they are sure they won’t be rejected. The stages of business relationships correlate to puppy-love dating:

  • How prospect (mates or customers) notice you
  • Interest and courtship
  • The ask with high probability of “yes”
  • Forever after

I never indicated an interest in her business. She didn’t even ask about my interest in her organization until after the “buy today” pitch.

Clearly, I was not a fit for her target market. I knew it. Her responses to my questions indicated that she knew it too. Yet, rather than recognizing the  objections, her sense of urgency killed the close!

Now I’m not interested in learning more about her business or continuing the conversation. Instead I’m interested in sharing the story so others don’t commit unnecessary death of a sale.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Or, if you have stories of one-to-one meetings gone awry, share them too.

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