Closing Is NOT the Problem – It’s A Symptom!

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When sales people aren’t performing as expected, the kneejerk reaction is to focus on closing skills. In this episode of the Sales Management Minute, learn how to troubleshoot your sales team to get to find the reasons for subpar performance.

When executives contact me for help, the conversation usually starts with, “My sales people can’t close! Can you help me?” Rarely does “weak closing” turnout to be the real issue. Closing is merely the final step of the process. If a runner isn’t winning races, it’s not because he doesn’t have the ability to pull down the finish line tape. There is something else in his game that is impacting performance.

Not sure why your team isn’t performing as you expect, let’s troubleshoot the issue. Two questions for starters…

1. Did you hire the right sales person for the role? If you aren’t getting the performance levels you expect, you may have selected the wrong person to do the job? If you haven’t defined your ideal sales person for the role, this could be your smoking gun!

2. How did you bring the sales person onto your team? Many companies leave success to chance and don’t have an onboarding program in place during which the sales person learns how to apply their sales skills in your sales role. Without this bridge, you have a high risk of new hire failure.

If you feel you have the right person on your team and have prepared him for success…and you still aren’t achieving the results, here are some other areas to investigate.

1. Do you have a well-defined Ideal Client Profile? Not every prospect is a match for your offerings. If you don’t have a clear definition of your ideal client, your sales people could be chasing deals that are nothing more than a mirage. If you are a value-provider and the prospect buys cheap, there’s little chance of a deal being consummated.

2. Have you documented your Needs Analysis Strategy? Sales people need your guidance in determining what questions to ask prospects, when to ask them, why they are relevant and where to direct the conversation based on the received responses.

3. Have you set expectations for Pre-Call Research? No one wants to feel like the sales call of the day. Your sales people need to master the industry, competitors, prospects and the people who affect the buying decision. Remember, companies don’t buy anything…people do!

4. Have your sales people mastered the Two Most Powerful Words in Sales? These aren’t trick words. Yet, mastery of them will guarantee that your sales people sell more than they ever have before. Unfortunately, they never get to say these words to prospects.

Those two words… Synergy and Priority. Synergy is the connection between buyer challenges and supplier capabilities…the solutions to the problems. Priority answers why now? Synergy gets deals into the sales pipeline. Priority gets them to come out the other side. If your seller can’t position priority, he will be quickly reminded of the old Roach Motel. Deals will come into the funnel, but they’ll never come out!

The next time you think that “weak closing” is the reason your team isn’t selling, run through these troubleshooting steps to get to the real issues.

See you next time on the Sales Management Minute.


Lee B. Salz is a leading sales management strategist specializing in helping companies build scalable, high-performance sales organizations through hiring the right salespeople, effectively onboarding them, and aligning their sales activities with business objectives through process, metrics and compensation. He is the Founder and CEO of Sales Architects, Business Expert Webinars and The Revenue Accelerator. Lee has authored several books including award-winning,  best-seller “Hire Right, Higher Profits.” He is a results-driven sales management consultant and a passionate, dynamic speaker . Lee can be reached at or 763.416.4321.