10 Oct When a sale feels like climbing Mt. Everest
Ask for the business
There are only about 2000 individuals in the world that have climbed Mount Everest. Climbers must train for years in order to get into the shape they need to even attempt to climb this extraordinary mountain. They must take courses on survival, technique and the special equipment they will need, and follow it with years of practice on many different terrains. Before they attempt the mountain, they must be in peak physical and mental condition. Even then, there is a 50-50 chance of success to reach the summit and an even more intimidating 1-in-6 chance of never making it off the mountain at all. But they know that if they succeed, they will gain immense rewards from following their dream.
Let’s assume the following scenario: You have climbed 2500 grueling meters from Base Camp to Camp IV, and you are resting and acclimatizing, thinking about the distance you have left to go. You have only one last trek left to make it to the summit, a distance of about 900 meters. This has been your dream for years, and at this point you can think about nothing aside from how you will feel when you finally sit on the top of the world’s greatest and most dangerous goliath. You are prepared and able. Your team is excited and ready to go.
Is this the time for you to quit? The time for you to say, “well, team, we made it this far and that’s great. Although we could make it to the top, I don’t really feel like it. Let’s head down.”? Would you waste your years of training, sacrifice, and dreaming like that?
Although this comparison may seem extreme, I see a parallel of sorts between this situation and a salesperson closing a sale. Too many salespeople are afraid of climbing that last bit to the summit, of finally closing the deal. Instead of asking for the client’s business, they just offer to talk another time and don’t make the close. Why is this? Clearly they have worked hard and taken the relationship far enough since they can see an opportunity to initiate a sale. But then they don’t do it.
If the sale were a mountain, the initial client contact would be Base Camp. Before this point of course, you have trained and worked on your own sales skills to perfect them as much as you can. But Base Camp is when your first draw the interest of the customer. From there, you must work your way up in the relationship and, with a major client, this may take months – months of negotiating and hard work. There is a reason that you have made it so close to the summit, and that is that you have the talent and the drive, and you have put the work in. It also means that the client is likely interested.
So, if you are in this situation, go all the way and reach the summit.
Ask for the business and close the sale.