Yet, I found myself bristling at the author’s use of the terms “dominance”, “gaining the willing obedience of the customer”, “gaining dominance over a submissive customer” and “exerting their will over the customer.” The movie classic Glengarry Glen Ross immediately came to mind. However, I think his point of view has merit as does his self-test which is very good. I would encourage you to read the full post at the HBR Blog Network: Are You a Closer? Take the Test. I’ve excerpted the self-test and a few quotes below.
(P.S. Last minute addition. The subject of my post Pure Sales. All Human. scored a 7 on the test below. And he was doing high-fives around the office. His Sensei didn’t have the heart to tell him his own score. Youngsters. Will they never learn. :))
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 sales 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.
- 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)?
- Conformity within situations. Using the hallway example above, if someone said something you disagreed with would you typically remain silent (0), maybe challenge the person to explain themselves (1), or usually confront the person directly (2)?
- 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)?
- 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)?
- 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.
…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.
- Pure Sales. All Human.
- What Buyers Want From A Salesperson in 2012?
- Closing on Elevator Speech?
- Are your sales reps pushy enough?
- HBR: Biggest driver of customer loyalty: Brand? Product? Service? Price? No. The sales experience…
- HBR: Top Salespeople are Challengers. Not hard workers, problem solvers or relationship builders.
Image Credit: One Good Movie