Are You A Natural Born Closer? Take the following Test to find out
Harvard Business Review is
arguably the most prestigious publication for business leaders and
management thinkers. Here’s one of my recent Harvard Business Review
articles titled “Are You A Closer? Take the Test”
The drive to take command of a situation is instrumental to a
salesperson’s success. Salespeople with a weak dominance instinct are
never quite in control of an account. They operate under the direction
of customers or are at the mercy of the competition. They also find it
more difficult to close the sale because they are uncomfortable exerting
their will over the customer.
Dominance is gaining the willing obedience of the customer. The
customer listens to your opinions and advice, internalizes your
recommendations and agrees with them, and when you close the sale call
follows your course of action. Your personality greatly influences the
way in which you establish dominance during sales calls.
Nowhere during the sales process does dominance play a more important
role than when closing. Take this short test to determine your natural
tendencies to dominate group settings. Score your answer after each
question with zero, one, or two points.
1. Assertiveness within groups. Let’s
pretend you are having a hallway conversation with three colleagues. Do
you remain silent the majority of time letting others speak (0), speak
an equal share of the conversation (1), or usually find yourself talking
the majority of the time (2)?
2. Conformity within situations. Using
the hallway example above, if someone said something you disagreed with
would you typically remain silent (0), might challenge the person to
explain themselves (1), or usually confront the person directly (2)?
3. Self-consciousness around people. If
a colleague said one of your important ideas was stupid would your
embarrassment cause you to remain silent (0), perhaps defend yourself
(1), or would you reject the person’s comments outright and criticize
their arguments (2)?
4. Candor around people. When speaking with colleagues are
you someone who carefully edits your words (0), tactfully speaks your
mind (1), or is completely open and honest with all your thoughts (2)?
5. Humility around people. Are you
someone who feels genuinely humble and respects all others (0),
generally believes you are equal to others (1), or usually thinks you
are better or superior in some way to people around you (2)?
Total your score for all questions. A score of six or below indicates
you have a low natural tendency to establish dominance in group
settings. Consequently, you may have a more difficult time closing. A
score of seven or more indicates high natural tendencies. Most likely,
you are a “natural” closer who is more comfortable in the uncomfortable
position of asking prospective clients for their business.
There are two basic approaches to establish dominance during sales
calls. The direct approach is based upon personal prowess, while the
indirect approach is based upon finesse. The approach you should use
depends upon attributes of your personality. If you scored a high level
of dominance, you are typically well suited to use a direct approach.
This approach is based upon first establishing yourself as the focal
point of the purchase. In essence, the customer is buying your
credibility, your personal experience, and your ability to help them
accomplish their goals.
If you scored a low level of dominance, you are more likely better
suited to use an indirect approach. This approach is based upon
establishing your product and the capabilities of your company as the
focal point of the purchase before you start selling yourself. For
example, a salesperson with low dominance that transitioned his career
from a technical position into sales can have an equally dominant
presence as a seasoned sales veteran. However, he has to use a different
approach. Instead of projecting a powerful presence in person, his
deep-rooted technical understanding of his product draws customers to
A salesperson’s goal is to gain dominance over a submissive customer.
While dominance is commonly associated with brute force, this is not
the case in sales. It’s simply how people judge others. People are
continually sensing whether their position is superior to yours,
relatively equal, or inferior in some way. In turn, this impacts what
they say during the conversation and how they behave.