How to adopt a time-proven sales closing strategy

In Careers & coaching, Sales by Eric Silverman

Seventeen years ago, I was a college intern with zero sales experience and no insurance background. My manager was an old-school sales pro who preferred to have a conversation with prospects, and for the most part, shoot from the hip. To say he wasn’t a great closer, however, would be a lie. In fact, he remains one of the top closers I’ve ever had the privilege to learn from.

Here’s the challenge: Most of your sales producers aren’t like my original sales manager. Take me, for instance. Green as could be, I struggled with learning how to close from him, as every meeting I saw him run was very different. Yes, they all started similarly, and usually ended with him getting paperwork signed and scheduling an enrollment, but it was the variation of all of that important content in the middle that constantly led me to get lost.


Bloomberg/file photo

I thought, there must be a better way to teach new sales producers.

A couple of years later at a training seminar, I learned about this thing called a “siteseller.” It was a simple, short PowerPoint presentation printed in color and put into a professionally bound binder. To me, this was an incredible idea because I had just started helping new agents prospect and close deals and I didn’t want to see them struggle to get up and running independently the way that I had.

At that time — pre-siteseller — I considered myself a slightly above-average closer. My biggest challenge was closing the deal in a time-efficient manner. Loquacious by nature, the beauty of using a siteseller was that it allowed me to start closing deals in less time. It provided a tangible roadmap that brought the prospect from A to Z in the sales cycle while leaving no stone unturned.

What made me a true believer in the siteseller was the fact that I saw it as a perfect way to begin a presentation with a clear methodology and systematized timeline of how I wanted and needed a new prospect meeting to go.

The siteseller began by framing the current state of the employee benefits industry, and then it led smoothly into asking poignant and perfectly framed questions that would ultimately lead the conversation in the exact direction that I wanted it to go. The best part of the siteseller was that it usually finished with what was originally designed to be a “test close,” but that more often than not, turned out to be the part of the presentation where I would obtain signed paperwork and schedule the enrollment date.

As my career progressed and I moved into management, I realized that I needed my entire organization to be sold on the value of the siteseller. After all, with the sheer volume of sales producers I was hiring, I needed a transferable method to quickly teach a new producer with little-to-no experience in sales or insurance how to get up and running and profitable within a very short time frame.

Implementing a systematic and transferable way to close deals allowed my organization’s new account numbers to dramatically rise, which in turn greatly helped with my new agent retention.

Triple C: Cheesy, corny and canned

The quintessential devil’s advocate thinks that a siteseller is “cheesy, corny and canned,” or as I like to call it, the triple C. This describes my original sales manager who could wing-it, and still close nine out of 10 new accounts. Fair enough. The challenge is that most of us — including yours truly — are not the world’s greatest closer.

If you’re running a very small shop, and you’re like my original sales manager, and in turn will be able to run every single appointment, more power to you. The question I have for you is, how do you scale? The scalability aspect when you’re the only one who can close a deal is virtually non-existent. How will you grow? What do you do when you’re busy or out of town that day? Does your agency just stop closing deals when you’re not around? Wouldn’t you love to have the closing ratio of your firm remain at the highest optimum level whether you’re personally running the appointment or not?

My producers and I use the siteseller in any account and any industry — small to large, employer size doesn’t matter. We even have a siteseller specifically designed for each of the two audiences we may encounter. One specifically designed and engineered for the final decision-maker and the other for when meeting with a non-decision-maker. In more than a decade and a half of using a siteseller — and after personally closing hundreds of new accounts — I’ve rarely encountered a prospect who says they don’t want me to use the siteseller, and that they’d rather me just speak to them directly without a “canned” approach.

Has it happened? Sure. Can it be overcome? Absolutely.

Curious what my sales producers and I say if a prospect tells us to ditch the canned presentation and just talk to them? Please share this article on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to tag me. As a thank you, I’m more than glad to email you the script we use to overcome this objection. Full disclosure though: In my experience, this objection more comes from analytical producers who are thinking too much. The reality is it’s a very rare occurrence in the real world.