March 19, 2010 10 Comments AUTHOR: brucemarler CATEGORIES: Random Tags: ,

Can You Train Someone How To Close A Deal?

As we ramp up our sales staff one of the things we find quite often in the interview process are people with great marketing knowledge, personality, and even business knowledge but sometimes are missing something that can, at times, be hard to determine in the interview process. Something a bit more intangible. The ability to close the deal when the customer is ready to buy or more importantly at the deciding point.

Being around various sales teams for years I can typically tell within 5 to 10 minutes if a person has the ability to get the deal done, it seems to be a pure personality trait that you can pick up on. People do not like to make decisions based purely in intangibles like that but more and more I think that you can tell by personality if a person has that capability.

At that point it really comes down to if they have the knowledge of the industry or general marketing and business sense to match the product or industry they are going to be selling in.

So, before I even get the the question in the title of this post, let me say, I do not think you can train someone to close a deal, some people just do not have the personality to ask someone for money even if they are giving something of high value in return. After many years thinking people were trainable in this regard I just do not think so. I think people may have minor levels of success but the time to train could be better spent using their skills elsewhere where they are more apt to excel.

That said, I think there are many people that have the ability to sell and close a deal but they are not recognized as sales people because they are in the wrong group in a company. I think it is much easier to train someone who has the natural ability to ask and close a deal to sell than it is to train someone who may have all the business knowledge but just does not have the personality to get it done.

The techniques can be taught to those who have the natural ability to hone their skill even further, but when you are starting with someone who does not innately have the skills to close the deal you are fighting against everything their psyche is telling them.

Do you think people can be taught to close? Or do you think good sales people just have the natural talent?


  1. Zadling 7 years ago says:

    Interesting read. What qualities do you look for to determine whether someone can close a deal? Do they have to have an assertive personality? Is it generally about confidence? I was hoping there are things that you can identify during the interview process to determine whether someone knows how to close.

  2. Arseny 7 years ago says:

    What is the core of sales actually? What are the best salesman good at?

    I still believe that sales are actually the power of persuasion. Good salesman is good at convincing and persuading almost anybody.

    What is the place of a good salesman? Office? Behind the client? On the way to client? Generally speaking, it’s actually the head of the client. The best salesmen know his client, knows the arguments, objections. And is assertive enough to not consider those barriers to close the sale.

    What I have noticed is that good salesman are quite passionate during the debates and discussions. Although their arguments might not always be the smartest ;)

  3. Dennis Combs 7 years ago says:

    Samit I do agree with you about training – everyone will be better at any job when given the knowledge only experience can bring. But the standard for Dean Witter was that they only hired people with the experience of being successful at their previous vocation. The “training” one gets from a sales manager is not what will ever make a successful salesperson – that comes from within. You might get them to subsistence level but that is not good for anyone involved – to truely work at sales is a very challenging job. A mediocre sales person should be sent on his/her way for the benefit of everyone involved.

    But there is no one “type” of person that makes a good salesperson. If it was that easy then hiring salespeople would be simple.

  4. Samit 7 years ago says:

    Sales is about closing, if someone can’t close he/she isn’t in sales but in PR.

    Certain personality types do better at closing faster than others, I’ve said as much in my previous comment.

    But to say only a certain ‘type’ of personality can close sales is incorrect.

    With the correct training and technique almost anyone can be taught to close.

    What can’t be taught is the ability to be a superstar high value deal maker.

    At least imho.

  5. Dennis Combs 7 years ago says:

    The ability to close is what seperates the successful from the rest. When I was a stock broker with Dean Witter one of the great lessons I learned was from a retired military guy. After watching him work long hours for weeks on end, one day he came in to my office, sat down in a huff and said “I thought people would want to know this stuff”. He didn’t understand that sales is not simple providing features and benefits of what you are trying to sell – eventually you simply have to ask for the sale. He was gone within the week. And after watching many talented, personable, motivated people wash out of the business on a consistent basis I came to realize how un-natural it is for most of us to take that final step and ask for the sale. SImple to say but tough for most to do. And I would have to disagree with Samit – good sales people are naturally that way. You may teach them techniques etc., but they bring the ability to the job, the job doesn’t instill it in them.

  6. Michael Castello 7 years ago says:

    You can teach people sales but it is harder to teach someone to be a closer. That comes down to instincts and the ability to know the conditions on the ground and react accordingly. A great closer can sell an anchor to a drownng man. A great closer is hard to find. I actually think they have a sort of low level hypnotism going on where the buyer is engaged and doesn’t have a counter explation to say no. A potential buyer can agree with what a sales person says but a closer gets the money right there at the moment.

    • bruce 7 years ago says:

      @Michael – You said it PERFECTLY. Lots of people have the personality, etc to get people interested, but the closer is a special person, it is a special ability that people have a hard time separating from the initial pitch.

      Your comment could of been the post, nice:)

  7. Anthony 7 years ago says:

    Can You Train Someone How To Close A Deal?

    Yes, if they possess the right ingredients (i.e. guts).

    Bruce, if a person has charisma, smarts and looks, then, they are 90% of the way there.

    At that point, it is up to a good leader to have patience and to guide this individual.

    I blame poor management,as well. Often I see middle mangement jealous of a new guy (with lots of potential, good looks, charm, etc)… the old middle manager deems this “new guy” a threat and decides to demonize the new guy. The company loses, but the middle manager retains his/her job.

    Also, don’t outsource the hiring of sales people to HR or other sales people – your company will guarantee itself mediocre and incompetent new hires.

  8. Bruce Marler 7 years ago says:

    I think there are people that have a personality that makes it natural for them to close and when training you are actually just honing their skills.

    I do admit personality makes a big difference in presentation, etc but that is part of what I am saying, something things are natural.

    I am not sure someone that just has a natural tendency to shy away from any sort of confrontation would do well trying to close a deal, because even if it is a pleasant transaction asking for something can sometimes be hard for people with that trait.

  9. Samit 7 years ago says:

    You CAN train someone to be a deal closer or a good salesman.

    The difference the personality of the person will only affect the way the sale is pitched and the speed of closure.

    There is no such thing as a born salesman, its all a matter of understanding the right techniques.