Close the sale. Seal the deal. Complete the transaction.

We all know what these terms mean; to complete the process of selling a product or service. They have a certain finality about them, as though they refer to the end of something. And in a traditional, commodity, non-service business-environment sense, that was the end. Once upon a time the traveling salesman delivered the encyclopedias (or vacuum cleaner, or kitchen gadget) he was on to the next opportunity never to be heard from again…

Times are different now and people have different expectations. We don’t want to be sold to, we want something different. We can research before we ever enter a showroom. As consumers, we now have the power to know anything we want to know about anything we want to buy or do. We hold the facts, and knowledge is power.

So let’s talk about opening, opening vs. closing. When people choose to do business with us, choose to buy from us vs. a competitor, they are opening a relationship. People today want something more, like I said, nobody likes being sold to.

I was recently talking with the manager of a large independent sporting goods store. She told me about a customer that had come in to try on shoes, so they would know how they fit before they placed their order online. The customer was using an independent retail establishment to make sure their online order would fit.

In a multi-competitive-retail-channel world, where customers want access and immediate availability of all ways to conduct business, the “little guy” needs to develop their own unique value proposition that isn’t based on price, but instead based on opening and building an experiential based business that grows and develops relationships. With strong relationships, people return.

What value an organization delivers varies by business and owner and staff. Maybe the sporting goods store we talked about could deliver lessons on proper fit and use, suggest complimentary items, update their clients on new gear. I suspect someone in that industry could come up with many more and better suggestions.

The first sale, the account opening, the initial deal, should be the opportunity to start building. Building trust. Building knowledge. Building a relationship. As I’ve written before, people don’t do business with companies, they do business with the people that work in those companies. People do business with people, and more so with people they know and trust.

Let’s look for ways to open more opportunities, to build more and create trust.

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