Sales 2.0: Do we still need closers?


The description of a “good salesperson” used to include characteristics like terms like closer, persistent, aggressive, and money-motivated.

For complex sales, or solutions sales are closers necessary? Or is there something a little bit more subtle than a closer that can move from opportunity to revenue.

As I reflected in my other posts, sales people are no longer information gatekeepers, which really removes a whole skill set from the successful saleperson. I think today, a successful salesperson has a few of the following traits or roles in the sale:

  1. gather information from the prospect on the project
  2. analyze and assimilate the info into a solution
  3. build rapport
  4. guide the sales process
  5. be persistent

Sometimes all of these skills can be present in a single person, other times a team sale is appropriate to fill all of these roles. I didn’t include a “closer” on my list. I don’t think customers will tolerate it any more.

Tolerate. I used this word on purpose. I think when the sales person was in charge of the information and the process, the prospect felt like they had to put up with a certain level of inconvenience or annoyance to get something. Now that prospect 2.0 is in charge, I think their level of tolerance has decreased.

The interesting thing is that new personality types have a higher likelihood of having successful sales careers with team selling models, and informed buyers. The trusted advisor types, the super persistent people, and the process-oriented analyticals can play a role in the sale.

5 thoughts on “Sales 2.0: Do we still need closers?

  1. You comment about customers not tolerating closers is interesting. Clearly the customer is much more in control and the old ways are not as effective.

    But I also think that there is a real need for someone to bring a deal over the finish line. It might not be through the old techniques of putting the customer in a virtual headlock, but it might be helping them to launch a trial or make the first step toward using a new product. Or it can be creating a sense of urgency to begin a project sooner, or to just start a project period.

    At a certain point, you need to close deals to have a successful business, and having deals that are 90% done and just floating out in the ether is not a great practice.

  2. I suggest that any close that the prospect sees is a waste of time. The close needs to be a natural continuation of the process of solving the prospect’s need. However, there’s only one best time to close and most salespeople are to self-centered to see it, so when they try to close, the prospect sees it.

    I’ll also suggest that persistence is a waste of time if the prospect isn’t fully engaged. Ineffective salespeople that call without encouragement, or can’t effectively get and keep a prospect engaged so that the next step is encouraged are annoying (at the least) if they try to be persistent.

  3. Ray Schavone

    I think persistence may be a key to getting the customer engaged. Perhaps it depends on the type of sale or what is being sold. But, there are many times I have engaged with a client simply because I continued to call or stop by – in response to an inquiry. Many sales people give up too soon, I think. I don’t believe in beating someone over the head, but until they tell me no, or go away, it’s the job of a sales person to follow up on an opportunity.

    I agree that “selling” has changed. But some people still like to be sold.

  4. I agree with all three prior responses but want to address your comment about the complex sale and solutions. While I will agree that traditional salespeople are no longer necessary to the transactional sale, you won’t succeed for very long if you don’t have salespeople uncovering compelling reasons why a prospect would buy and shaping their solutions to those issues. Without strong salespeople, that would be quite difficult, differentiating your company would be even more difficult and qualifying impossible. When salespeople are able to do those three things well, they will close by virtue of their thoroughness.

  5. Jame

    The comments so far have been pretty interesting. i noticed each person above, agreed that the saleperson needs to evolve, and each person noted there was a need for a person to drive the customer to a conclusion. It looks like I’ll need to revisit this topic to clarify the difference between a closer and closing. I thing we are all in agreement, closing is necessary. But really i don’t think the closer should fill that role.

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