The final step is what has been termed an administrative or accounting close. This is included as a reminder so that it is not neglected through oversight and enthusiasm over getting the contract completed. This step is both internal, in that it deals with your company and its procedures, and external, as it involves the clients' accounting personnel and their own procedures.
Unfortunately, as anyone who has ever been involved in the "business of business" will attest, leaving something totally in the hands of accountants or lawyers is tantamount to abandoning all control over the area.
Accountants often only see and think in numbers, and lawyers are sometimes trained to look for and see only problems, possibly even where none previously existed. As such, they both can give you a somewhat altered view of the situation at hand, and you must remain alert to this possibility.
As the sales executive, you have to be constantly vigilant to ensure that the deal you have worked so hard for doesn't just disappear in their hands. Quite obviously, the deal is not done until all the paperwork is fully completed and in the hands of those who will handle it.
It is, once again, the responsibility of the salesperson to ensure that all details are fully concluded and implemented. I offer here a working definition of what I have labeled the administrative close: "The point when all necessary paperwork is fully completed and in the hands of the proper personnel, such that the swift and efficient transfer of funds for product or service can and does take place."
Though perhaps a bit dull and mundane when compared to the emotional high derived from pulling off an important sales close, it is crucial that this step be fully concluded.
Once again, it can't be stated too often that it is the salesperson who drives this process. It is his or her responsibility to make sure this administrative or accounting close takes place, even though others may actually be doing the work. The job cannot be considered complete until this is done. Once it is introduced into the "machinery" of the business and begins to operate without constant further attention, the salesperson can consider this step complete.
The Final Act
In summary, "it ain't over 'til it's over." And that means utterly done. In regard to this, the final act, the salesperson has to function as an executive.
For a working definition of "executive," lets take a look at the word "execute," which means: "To carry out fully, to put completely into effect and to do what is called for." It can easily be seen, then, that an executive is the one who gets something done!
The "salesperson as executive" has to monitor the overall sale with great attention to fine detail so that each step is fully completed before moving to the next. The sales executive must have the sales process, the successful methods and procedures for his particular product or service down cold.
Any weakness in his knowledge of this process will be exposed instantly under the pressure of an actual selling activity. He or she should face and handle any deficiency he knows to exist before it becomes embarrassingly apparent to everyone when revealed in front of the client. But this is just the beginning.
Any professional sales executive also must be ready to take complete responsibility for seeing that the sale is brought to a successful conclusion after that first sales close.and that takes at least three separate closes--the sales close, the legal close and the administrative close.
The salesperson's own personal prosperity and the ultimate success of the business depend on what he or she does regarding these actions above. Fail to do them, and we all have to work harder for less. Do them, and we'll all win.
Copyright © 1998-2002 by Jacob Wright
Jacob Wright is the president of Growth Management Consulting, a sales consulting group; author of The Sales Journal, a manual of common-sense articles on selling; and a book soon to be published on the full dynamics of the complete sales process. Visit his Web site at www.salesdoctor.net.