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It’s Easy to Close the Deal, but . . .

Can you honor it?

If you’re in business, you’re in sales. Period.

So, there’s this interesting phenomenon I’m noticing out here in the world of sales and marketing. People seem to be getting better and better at selling.

Let’s face it, if you have a product or service that you really care about or are invested in, it’s not all that difficult to spin the story of why it’s important to your prospective customer or future employee.

As I began to think through this phenomenon, I couldn’t help but recall a salesman I came across some years ago. He was the guy we’ve all met at some time or another. You know the one. The smooth operator who could literally sell rags to a rich man. This salesman prided himself on being a “closer.”

There was only one problem with his ability to close. He could never fully honor the deal or the contract. Why? Because most of what he offered or promised was embellished.

This is my feeble attempt at diplomacy. Truth in fact, he lied. Every feature and benefit was grossly exaggerated. The end always justified the means. He could pretty much get anyone to commit to anything.

Unfortunately, no one ever stayed committed for very long. Customers eventually disappeared. Employees moved on. He lived in a viscous chaotic cycle of stops and starts and somehow managed to convince himself that this was “sales.”

Something to seriously consider as you work to grow your business. What I’m really talking about here is the integrity of the sales process. We get good at our scripts, and it’s easy to cross over into falsehood.

The question then becomes: How does one know when you’re crossing that line?

Here’s a few simple check-in points to consider:

1. Can you really deliver on the promise?

In business, your word is golden. This means that you have to really deconstruct your sales script to make sure that every element of your pitch is accurate. Can you really deliver the specifics of what you’re offering? This premise holds true for both your internal and external customers.

If you’re selling a product or service, will the benefits be congruent with your claim?

If you’re hiring someone to be a part of the team, will you fulfill your obligation to them as an employer?

The goal is not to be perfect the first time every time. The goal is to establish credibility from the very onset of the process such that people know and understand that you have every intention of honoring your word.

2. Are you embellishing your own sense of expertise?

People want to do business with people they trust. Yes. I’ll keep on stating this premise until there are no more lies in the world.

This is a particularly difficult question to answer because if you’re even remotely good at what you do, it’s easy to embellish those skills and talents in order to get people to buy-in to what you have to offer.

The problem here is that people are naturally intuitive. It doesn’t take too long for them to figure out that you’re a fraud, so why go there?

I’m not suggesting that you air all your dirty laundry. That wouldn’t be wise. It simply means that you start your “sales” conversation with an authentic and accurate perspective of what you, as a business person, have to offer.

Just the facts, please.

3. Do you need to buy a saddle?

Odd question, right?

Here’s the thing. One of the main questions I get from my audiences often centers around what to do when someone on your team—whether client or employee—states negative things about your ability to lead or deliver on a promise.

When this question comes up in one of my sessions, I always have the same response.

Listen to what the people around you are saying. It’s an opportunity to discover some areas where you need to change and/or grow.

Here’s the drill.

If one person calls you a horse’s ass, (it’s a part of a horse’s anatomy, so don’t freak out at my language), smile and say: Thanks for sharing.

If two people call you a horse’s ass, smile and say: I appreciate the feedback.

But, if three people are calling you a horse’s ass, consider buying a saddle. There’s a good chance that you are, you guessed it, a horse’s ass.

Buy that saddle and wear it well or else commit to change.

Do you get my drift?

Any smooth talking fool can close a deal. The most charismatic sales people are often the most dangerous. You don’t want to be that guy.

Your credibility as a business leader is always on the line. If you’re in sales or a leadership role, there will always be someone out there who’ll have something to say about what you’ve done or failed to do.

If you’re operating from the intention to honor your word, you’ve got a far better chance of creating lasting relationships with your customers and your team. Relationships based on truth and integrity go a long way in creating a culture where people want to work and do business.

I challenge you to think about it.

Published by Sharon Spano, Ph.D. February 6, 2015