Closers aren’t just the attention getters who make the deal. I want to talk about the real deal: Closers who get things done.
Everyone is in awe of closers. However, we all associate “closers” with sales. I have always loved watching the ease and grace some people seem to have in the sales process. People who are so confident in their product or service that the “ask” just flows out of their mouth. They then confidently pause and allow the prospect to respond. The next steps are smoothly articulated, and everything looks as graceful as a ballerina in Swan Lake. They are heralded as rock stars throughout the company. But hold on. Those aren’t the closers I want to talk about.
I want to talk about the importance of closers as completers. Completion is a real obstacle for many entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are great initiators. They thrive in the creative and risk-taking process. However, once the business, project or idea has begun, many find themselves stuck in one of two scenarios.
- Too many projects with nothing moving forward.
- Hyperfocused on perfection.
Too many projects with no traction are a problem that I regularly consult and coach on with many entrepreneurs and business leaders. In Texas, this could be a version of “Big Hat, No Cattle,” business leaders who are constantly talking a great game with little to show. They are always working on the same projects but never seem to launch or implement. They keep having great ideas but have never developed the mechanism or wisdom to plan strategically. If they have an idea, they start working on it even if that leaves a trail of unfinished projects, programs and ideas. I spend a lot of time with clients teaching them how to take great ideas but strategically determine WHEN they should implement. Three-year plan? Five-year plan? Ten-year plan? While all ideas can have a place, we don’t always have the resources, skills or human resources to implement. When I work with business leaders stuck in this situation, strategic planning becomes our priority.
Being hyperfocused on perfection is the second most common obstacle. This is death by a thousand tweaks. The website doesn’t launch because X, Y, Z isn’t ready. Let me assure you: Your competition isn’t waiting. You don’t utilize social channels because every post or blog is in the 400th edit. You don’t pitch to prospects because your slide deck needs additional work. I remind clients in this category that DONE is better than PERFECT. Done can always be improved on. Done allows you to move forward. You launch the website. Your marketing is out there and working for you. You are servicing customers and clients you have presented to and closed. With Done, you can compete and dominate your market share. I often encourage clients to launch projects at 70-80% completion. At that level of completion, the momentum is working in your favor. The remaining 20-30% are things that you need to test in the rollout. Many times, my clients report that they are glad they launched while in the final stages of project completion. Many times, the customer responses take them in a slightly different direction than where they would have originally gone.
These are the top three projects that entrepreneurs and business leaders need to complete vs. perfect.
Good enough actually works! Your consumer doesn’t know if something isn’t perfect. They hear compassion, value, impact, trust and kindness. They want to see warmth. They want to laugh. They like to think you are just like them. The best way to be more “like them” is to let things be good enough. Even laughing at our own flaws helps us seem real to others. It isn’t about showing them all your mistakes. It is about being authentic and real in the best way possible. While others in marketing are about the perfect shot or perfect message, if we were all honest, we like to find the companies and people that are normal and real. We trust normal and real. So just like you can pick up on manufactured perfection, so can your potential customer.
Again, people buy from people. While there are times a fancy slide deck is appropriate, most sales are done person-to-person over lunch, a drink or dinner. Handshakes, smiles and a willingness to listen are needed. It isn’t about the colorful presentation as much as the solution you present because you really took the time to understand the pain point or need. When I think back to all the clients, I have had the opportunity to serve, it was the person-to-person interaction that made the difference versus a shiny brochure.
I have watched people spend hundreds of dollars on a handful of business cards. They only hand out the best! I have had clients tell me they couldn’t network and make connections because they don’t the “right clothes.” However, does that really make the biggest difference? Maybe. I won’t discount that you should have a way to connect with people. But I am not convinced that a flashy business card is the best way. I find that most people can size up a new connection in the first 30 seconds. Are they presentable? Do they smile? Do they make eye contact? None of those things requires perfection or a lot of money! You can be presentable and not have the most expensive handbag or shoes. You can smile and not have the whitest teeth. You can make eye contact and validate another human at no additional costs.
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Originally published Oct. 25, 2021.