Don’t ‘Close’ sales – ‘Open’ relationships



Words are bullets and language drives behaviour.

Some have killed, others have died for the sake of a few words. Words shape our experience, our attitude and our actions – so it’s important to think about what we say the consequences of our words.

Some words have emotionally charged connotations that trigger an automatic response in our nervous systems, irrespective of the context.

One such word is the verb “to close”. It evokes visions of closure, endings, a finish.

Many phrases that use the word have negative connotations; “close minded”; “closed shop”; “closed door” and so on.

When we use the term “close a sale” it implies it is the end result. And so it is – from the perspective of a salesperson who can move on to another sale he or she can “close”.

But from the perspective of the customer it isn’t an end – it’s a beginning. It’s the beginning of a relationship with a company that’s sold them a product and service. There’s a cognitive dissonance here – the salesperson, who is supposed to care for the customer and help them receive the business benefits they are looking for, has don his or her job thank you very much and can move on.

Meanwhile the customer is passed on to someone else to look after and if they don’t get what they expected or were promised that’s not the salesperson’s problem. All care and no responsibility – or in many recently documented cases, particularly in the financial services arena, no care and no responsibility.

Of course, the majority of salespeople are ethical, they do care about the customer and they do want them to achieve the results they have been promised.

So let’s make our language match our customer facing rhetoric. If we’re committed to building relationships, delivering value, promoting customer satisfaction and selling ethicallywe need to use relevant language

So let’s not ‘close’ any more sales – Instead, let’s ‘open’ relationships.


Steve Hall has been described as Australia's leading Authority on Selling at C level. He is the founder and Managing Director of Executive Sales Coaching Australia and is an Executive Sales Coach and Corporate Storyteller. Steve helps sales people and sales leaders sell more effectively to senior executives and: * understand the issues that C level executives care about * identify how they can help senior executives achieve their goals * develop messages that attract senior executives' attention * communicate their messages effectively via the best channels * schedule significantly more introductory meetings at C level * prepare effectively for C level executive meetings * get the best possible results from C level meetings * identify decision makers and what they care about * build consensus so they can win more, bigger B2B sales Steve is a gifted corporate storyteller. He helps his clients create a compelling vision that inspires and attracts customers and prospects. He is an author, a keynote speaker and a Devil's Advocate, challenging his clients' ideas and approaches to make them more powerful. He has held senior management positions in sales, marketing, professional services and project management. He has sold products and services worth more than $100 million in over 30 countries on six continents and has worked with Fortune 500, FTSE 100, ASX 100 and NASDAQ listed corporations as well as many smaller public and private companies.

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