You’ve reached the end of the process. It’s the closing meeting. Time for you to put your best proposal forward, overcome the prospect’s objections, and move forward with a new client in hand. Many sales people live for this meeting. They love closing above all else.
Not you, though. You’re anxious. Your stomach is a bundle of nerves. You can’t escape the fear that something will go wrong and you’ll lose the sale right at the very last step. You might be so nervous that you don’t even want to go through with the meeting.
Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Even the most successful salespeople are overcome by nerves, especially when it’s decision-making time and the sale is on the line. In fact, nerves are healthy. They’re a sign that you’re invested in the outcome and that you’re passionate about the work that you’re doing. If you didn’t have nerves, that might be a sign that your heart isn’t in it.
The key is to focus your energy and manage your anxiety so you can perform at your full potential during the meeting. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
Visualize your performance.
The power of visualization has been well documented. Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus has said that he never swings a golf club without first visualizing the swing’s outcome. Researchers have even found that for some athletes, visualization can have the same benefits as an actual practice session.
Why is visualization so powerful? Think of it as training for your brain. When you take time to visualize your closing meeting, your brain will go through the same motions as it would in the actual meeting. The more specific and detailed you can be in your visualization, the more benefits you’re likely to see.
Think of details. Where will you sit in the meeting? Where will the prospect sit? What will your posture and arms be like? What will you say? How could they respond?
Take the time to sit somewhere quiet. Close your eyes and put yourself through some of the scenarios that could play out during the meeting. After visualizing these scenarios, you’ll be prepared for anything that may pop up during the meeting. That level of preparation is likely to calm your nerves and help you confidently run the meeting.
Your body is armed with a natural fight-or-flight response that is meant to protect your from harm. When faced with a threat, you’ll feel your adrenaline pumping and your stomach tighten. You may even start trembling or sweating.
This response can be helpful if, say, you’re being chased down by a wild bear. The fight-or-flight response tells you that it’s time to find safety.
However, it isn’t so helpful when you’re frightened or worried that your closing meeting may not go as planned. No matter what your body is telling you, running to safety isn’t an option. You have to push forward.
Fortunately, you can control your fight-or-flight response, which is controlled by your sympathetic nervous system. You can control it through breathing.
When you take deep, slow breaths and exhale for a few counts longer than you inhale, you send a signal to your brain that it’s time to turn down the nerves. Think about it. If you were getting chased by a wild bear, you probably wouldn’t stop to take calm, relaxing breaths. Those breaths tell the brain that you’re okay and you’ve found safety.
If your nerves are a bit out of control, find a quiet spot, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Count as you breathe in and as you exhale. Your exhale should be longer than your inhale by a count of two or three. Once your nerves have subsided, you’re ready to head into the meeting and win the business.
Close from the beginning.
This gets to the root of why you feel so nervous. Is it because you’re just vulnerable to a case of the jitters from time-to-time? Or is it something deeper? Something that requires a bigger fix?
Often, I’ll talk to salespeople who are afraid of closing, or are just downright bad at it. The problem doesn’t really have to do with closing, but rather has to do with everything else that came before it. Simply put – the salesperson doesn’t believe that they’ve earned the right to ask for the business.
If you’re feeling anxious about closing, maybe it’s because you have a deep suspicion that you haven’t positioned yourself well. Maybe you haven’t shown value. Maybe there’s an outstanding objection that you haven’t been able to overcome. Maybe you haven’t been able to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Whatever the problem, your anxiety about closing is really anxiety about your entire process. The good news is that you can fix it. You can establish a process in which you’re closing from the beginning. You present value and ask for the business along the way. Then, when you get to the end, closing is just a formality.
If you’d like to evaluate your process and find areas for improvement, contact me. I’d welcome an opportunity to discuss it with you and see how we can help you close better and win more business.
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