“What do you mean you didn’t close?”

Enterprise Sales Personnel’s Client Partner, Jake Cassidy, explains why it is important to close at your interview.

It is official. My biggest pet peeve of 2016. People who do not close at interviews!

I get told all the time that people have spent hour after hour meticulously preparing for interviews, finding out every minute detail about the business, the interviewer, followed by a fantastic meeting, followed by…. no ‘close’ at the end of the interview.

Oh dear.

I would refer to this as a ‘schoolboy error’.

And I am not talking about fresh-faced graduates straight out of university. Oh no. I mean people who have been selling for a living for 20-30+ years and claim to be fantastic at their jobs.

So why do professional sales people not close at the end of a meeting with a prospective employer?

“We had a great meeting. It did not seem appropriate”

I think this could be the worst reason of all for not trying to close at the end of an interview. It is always appropriate to close at the end of a meeting regardless of what was discussed, even if it is just confirming what the next steps are and if you are definitely going to be part of that next stage.

One of the common reasons people are unsuccessful at interviews, particularly for sales roles, is because they simply didn’t ask for the business.

“Closing people is not my style”

If you are going to call me with interview feedback and drop this line, save me the agony. I will spend the next hour weeping into my hands awaiting even worse interview feedback from the hiring manager that I have no doubt recommended to interview you!

“The interview wasn’t with the hiring manager”

Just because someone isn’t going to be directly managing you in your new role doesn’t mean they don’t get a big say in who actually gets the job.

Interviewing with other people in businesses is often par for the course, but you should at least come away from this meeting knowing whether that person is going to recommend you for the job!

“They have more people to see”

This is a tricky one. They obviously don’t want to commit there and then but how do you know what your chances are vs these other candidates without coming across as too pushy?

A great candidate I was working with recently tackled this by saying something along the lines of “I appreciate there are other people you need to speak to. You have seen their CV’s already and agreed to meet them, so can you see any skills or experience you are looking for that they have been able to show and I have not been able to demonstrate today?”

The moral of the story is that if you walk out of an interview with little idea of what is happening next, you probably haven’t done a good enough job trying to close at the end of the meeting.

I have worked out some rough figures and about 20% of people are unsuccessful at sales interviews because they didn’t close at the end of a meeting, regardless of how well the rest of it went.

Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions! No matter what industry you work in, it is not just sales people that close or ask qualifying questions, it is done in every walk of life.

You will know exactly what I mean next time you walk in to your favourite fast food restaurant and get asked the most famous presumptive close of all …“would you like fries with that?”

About Jake

Jake Cassidy is a Client Partner at Enterprise Sales Personnel Ltd, focusing on identifying new opportunities in the Scottish Market for the candidates he works with, as well as helping these individuals prepare fully to give them the best chance of securing a fantastic new role.

If you are looking for your new IT sales career move or you are an organisation looking to hire exceptional IT sales people, contact Jake via email jake@enterprisesp.co.uk or call on 0161 446 4160