Bill Sparkman, Sales and Marketing Trainer, Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author

By: Bill Sparkman, The Coach

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By learning how to balance two basic drives - the need to close, with the need to develop relationships - every salesperson can become a star performer. Great salespeople are able to apply both talents equally. But the salesperson who focuses too much on building relationships will make a lot of friends, but few sales. The salesperson who is too preoccupied with closing the sale will forfeit customer loyalty and repeat or referral business.

What causes salespeople to get off balance? Why do some salespeople get stuck in the relationship mode, while others get obsessed with closing to the point of alienating their own best prospects. I believe it could be as simple as addictive behavior patterns.

The first casualty of being addicted to anything is often balance. Life becomes so skewed to the needs of the addiction that everything else takes a back seat and the person's life tilts in one direction. In sales that tilt may be more subtle, but no less damaging. Sales professionals can lose their professional edge if they fail to balance their talents of forming a relationship with their need to close the sale.

Any activity that has a certain measure of gratification associated with it can have the potential of becoming addictive. It doesn't matter if it's drinking, spending money, running, or working in sales. While other professions usually offer highs for those only who reach the very pinnacle - say a football player - in selling, anyone can get a rush out of making more sales.

Does closing a sale give you a high? Do you get excited every time you meet a new prospect? People in sales can easily become addicted (thrown off balance) by the adrenaline rush associated with certain phases of the sales cycle.

Is there anything wrong with pumping your fist through the air, expressing a triumphant "YESSS" when you get the contract signed? Nothing at all as long as you are able to maintain balance. If you really enjoy selling, and if you don't get hung up on any one particular part of it, such as meeting new people or closing, you're not likely to suffer from an addictive pattern.

The Closing Addict...
Closers are attractive, intelligent, quick with their words, and often very financially successful. They are very focused on numbers, obsessed with sales goals and collecting commission checks. Their main preoccupation is to sell something to everyone they meet, at any cost. They want to get what they want and move on to the next prospect quickly. Closers say they like people, but they are only using them to satisfy their impulse for a temporary high. They are takers instead of exchangers. They take what they can from everyone.

Closing addicts rarely talk about their personal lives and usually don't have time for small talk. They wear a polite yet unemotional mask. Closers tend to feel their self worth is tied to closing sales. That is why they tend to feel quite vulnerable on the inside.

Closing addicts are not good team players since they have a hard time giving up control. Sales managers generally like closing addicts for one reason, they get results. Their high sales often comes with a high price, many cancelled sales and lost referral business.

The Relationship Addict...
Many pursue a career in selling because they like to meet other people. New relationships often carry the promise of new sales, a better future, and the potential of dreams turned into reality.

Although there is nothing wrong with feeling good about connecting with new prospects, some salespeople become so gratified on an emotional level to the point where they actually avoid closing the sale.

To relationship addicts, fresh new prospects are always a source of excitement. When new prospects appear they can't wait to get the relationship rush. While they are on a roll with the personal relationship, they feel powerful and worthwhile, but at the same time they feel ill at ease with advancing the sale. They worry about spoiling the warm comfortable feelings when they have to move from relationship to discussing business or moving through the critical path selling process. The relationship addicts are, metaphorically speaking, drunk
on having the relationship. To them, other parts of the sales process don't offer an equal amount of gratification.

Optimum sales results come from staying balanced. You are in front of the prospect for two reasons: you are interested in the person and their wants and needs, and you want to make the sale. Both are valid and important.

Here are 3 keys to achieving balance:

1. Be Friendly - This means to be able to connect with the prospect on a personal level. To smile, show emotion and listen to the customer's wants, hopes, and dreams. Build trust and confidence in yourself and your company.

2. Be Firm - This means to have the inner desire to close the sale. Firmness is the ability to confidently lead the conversation from personal matters to the business at hand and direct the sales process from the opening to the close.

3. Strive for balance - While friendliness opens doors, firmness closes sales. To achieve success you must balance both qualities. How? Develop a plan for building a solid relationship with your prospect and a sales strategy for closing the sale.

Practice makes perfect. Learn to read and interpret your prospect's signals.
When the relationship goes well advance the sale, when the sales goes well move on to the close.

Finally, apply the concept of balance to managing yourself. Strive to be firm and friendly with yourself. Firmness helps you set more challenging goals, friendliness will help you enjoy the rewards.

Bill Sparkman, "The Coach" is a mortgage industry sales trainer, speaker, and coach. For more information about Bill and his products, visit his website To book Bill for your next event, call Heather Greenemeier at 847-721-6200.

Bill Sparkman, "The Coach"




Bill Sparkman, The Coach

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