Specialising in the world of Big Data and BI sales it feels alien to me that a small number of interviews can come to a conclusion without a close. Those who are closing £500k+ deals fail to close on an opportunity to improve their career when faced with the opportunity.
Surely, it’s a win-win situation for both the interviewer and interviewee? If a client feels the person in front of them is the one to generate mountains of revenue for their business then why not close the candidate and secure them? Same goes for the candidate, if you are at an interview for a sales position then close whoever you are speaking with, you are sales professional after all.
In this article I will highlight a few different types of close, when to close and the benefits to you as a candidate to closing the hiring manager/interviewer at the end of each stage.
Types of Close – The How and When
A close doesn’t necessarily have to come at the end of a meeting; it can be a stand out question to conclude a meeting but also a progressive and efficient process that occurs throughout the entirety of the interview.
Below are a few different approaches to closing the interview:
The pre-close as you can guess by the prefix attached is a technique used in the early stages of the meeting. Once you have exchanged the pleasantries (and a complaint about the weather if you are interviewing in the UK) you will need to gather information on what the interviewer is looking for in a candidate.
Now you may think you already know this from the HR spec you have read online or the brief given to you by your recruiter; it is always best to confirm this again with the person interviewing you! They could have some personal preferences in a candidate that are not reflected in any job spec you have been supplied with.
Once you have a list of the most important things to this interviewer you can perform a pre-close before getting stuck into the meat and drink of the interview.
This could look something like:
“If I can show my ability to perform (insert requirement A), (insert requirement B) and (insert requirement C); what is the next stage in the process? And would you be happy in progressing me to the next stage?”
After they have responded to this get into the stating the relevant facts/experience from you background to satisfy these requirements.
Isolate and Trial Close/ Progressive Close
This is a close that can be continuously performed throughout the interview process. Again you will need to have performed a process to gather what is MOST important to the hiring manager/ interviewer for this to work.
So, following on from the pre-close you will be left with a list of requirements that you will need to satisfy in order to progress to the next stage. Using these requirements, you will need to address relevant parts of your background to reinforce you are the correct candidate for the job.
Following this, make sure to close after each requirement:
“Are you comfortable with my (requirement A) experience?”
If yes, move on to the next requirement. If no, do not panic, it is not the end of the world! Enquire as to what is missing or what the objection is, then use the relevant parts of your background to overcome this objection using fresh references not used previously.
This is a good time to use any documentation you may have with you such as sales presentations, yearly figures or a discussion document to help reinforce any points you make. Preparing such documentation will ALWAYS leave a positive impression.
The Big Closing Homerun Finale
At the end of the meeting, all of the questions will have been asked and you will have put your best foot forward by addressing the interviewer’s requirements specifically and precisely. So, now it is time to confirm the next stage you want!
It is advised to start with a positive summary of the meeting:
“I feel like the meeting has gone well and the opportunity here at (insert company name) is one that I could excel in.”
Then combine this to bring the requirements stated by the interviewer at the start back into play. They have mentioned these themselves so they are their must-haves, use the statements at the beginning of the meeting to ensure your progression:
“At the beginning of the meeting you mentioned (requirement A), (requirement B) and (requirement C). I feel that I have demonstrated all of these requirements to you.”
And finally add the “big money” question:
“However, I think what is more important is not so much what I think, but what you think about me. So based on what you have seen and heard today, are you comfortable taking me forward to the second interview?”
If this is a yes, get as much detail as possible about the next meeting; who you will be meeting? Where? When?
If they reply with a no, ask what reservations they have? And again, use relevant parts of your background to overcome these. Then perform another close.
Benefits to Closing
Losing out on a sales job due to not closing is ridiculous, I see it as the equivalent of not playing football at a professional football trial. Closing is part of the role you should be displaying this at interview. There is no situation where closing is ‘not right’.
The main benefits to closing the interviewer are as follows:
- You know exactly where you stand, are you progressing? Do they have any reservations?
- Gives you a chance/multiple chances to overcome any reservations they do have.
- It can speed the process up. You will not have to wait for feedback or details of the next meeting. If the close goes exactly to plan, you will leave knowing you have progressed to the next stage or even got the job! In the case of a next stage you will also have full details of this so can begin preparation straight away.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY it is proof of your sales process and ability!
So in summary, when interviewing (especially for a sales role) you should ALWAYS be closing! As you can see in the paragraph above it has multiple positive implications on the interview process. No candidates like to be left in the dark waiting for next stages or feedback this can be prevented by closing!
Remember your A. B. C… (Always Be Closing).