The “close” rate hinges more on the discovery process than it does on the power of the presentation. It is in the discovery process that we do the reconnaissance work that ensures that our delivery is zeroed in on the client’s most pulsating need.
As of late there is appearing a new trend in Major League Baseball where teams are experimenting with starting their game with an “opener,” who will pitch one or two good innings and then hand it off to the next pitcher, who will attempt to pitch the middle innings, before handing it to the closing rotation. It will be interesting to see how it plays out over time.
I’ve always believed that the greatest impediment to closing a business arrangement is the feeble form with which we often open the dialogue. Don’t think about being a great closer—think about being a great opener. Discovery opens the doors to possibilities. We need to make sure our discovery processes are not too narrow in scope and too fact driven in design. Facts don’t reveal all the opportunities and challenges, but stories do. Our “close” should be nothing more than suggesting to the client that we can apply certain financial strategies that will help their story end the way they want it to.