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The Sales Business Cycle – Part 3

The Sales Business Cycle – Part 3

In part 1 and 2 we looked at generating leads and converting interest into purchase decisions. Now it’s time to seal the deal. Closing and delivery round out the four stages of the sales led business cycle.

Closing – Negotiating the Details and Signing the Deal

Closing is all about negotiating the details and agreeing to delivery and payment details. This happens after the customer has seen the value and made a decision that they want to buy. Closing includes things like choosing the color, options and accessories, negotiating warranty, agreeing on the final purchase price and discussing delivery options. As you read this you are probably starting to see that it can be very advantageous for a company to delay discussion of these points until after the buying decision is made.

Right up to the point that we, as people, make a mental decision to purchase something any little problem can make us change our minds. Consider the last time you bought a car. Did you pay a little more than you were planning to initially? I know I did. My first brand new car was a Jeep. I wanted something under $20,000 and they were advertised as starting from $17,500. So I went for a look. I drove a few different ones over the course of several weeks. I talked to the sales people and changed my mind a few times because I saw a scratch, or didn’t like the color. Then one day I was feeling good and went to drive another one. This one had some extra options and looked especially good. Some young women at the lot commented on how much they liked the Jeep I was driving and I decided I was going to get one. I made a mental decision to buy it. I started to imagine taking it home.

I imagined driving it around, and all the complements I would continue to get from young women like the ones at the car lot. I told the salesman who was helping me that I wanted to get one and he switched from converting to closing as we went inside to discuss the details. The $17,500 model was not available. They had one for $19,000 but it didn’t have the chrome wheels or the back seat, or the same stereo… The convertible top was extra, the back seat was extra. To make a long story short I walked out of the dealership with a $24,000 jeep and several optional extras. I would not have even looked at a $24,000 jeep at the start, but after I had made the decision to buy it the emotions took over and it was relatively easy to get me to agree to the new costs. I loved that Jeep. I never regretted the decision to buy it, or the decision to spend a little more and get the options I wanted.

Closing is when both parties have committed to making it happen, and both are very motivated to sign the deal. Once I said I wanted to buy the Jeep, not only was I committed, but so was the sales person. He knew that if I walked away at this point it would be because of him, not because I had any remaining indecision. He had already started to imagine the commission cheque in his pocket and the things he would do with it. We both had a vested interest. We were both committed to coming to a suitable arrangement. We both had to give the other what he wanted to get what we wanted.

Closing provides a powerful opportunity to add value to any sale to both the customer and the seller. It is important to recognize it as a separate stage in the sales process.


Delivery can be both the final stage and the first stage from a sales perspective. On the one hand, once the initial sale is made the hard part is over and you just need to tell the factory, or warehouse or service provider to go deliver the solution as agreed on. On the other hand, prompt professional delivery of the solution can result in a very satisfied customer who will be ready to buy from you again the next time they need a similar solution. A good delivery experience can get you a long way towards the next decision to buy. Conversely a bad delivery experience can result in product returns and a virtual guarantee that you will never get another sale from that customer.

Effective sales led organizations pay special attention to the delivery stage. It is easy to think that the sale is over as soon as the contract is signed, but the best sales led organizations realize that this is merely where the next sale begins and make sure every opportunity is taken to satisfy the customer and make the next sale easier.

The business cycle from the a sales perspective is three quarters about selling (leads, conversion, closing) and one quarter about the rest of the business (delivery). This perspective of business expands the portion of the business that sales people have direct impact on, and minimizes the visibility of activities they have little or no influence over. The sales perspective of business is very useful for training sales people on the major things they need to be doing to help the business and the customer. The sales perspective is also very useful in training the rest of the business how important it is to support their sales team. Without sales, there is no business.