Rafa Barreto

When I started my career as a pilot, I never thought about the importance of selling. Pilots don’t usually think of selling as part of their job, but I’ve come to realize it’s one of those essential life skills. Whether you’re selling an idea, a product, or a service, you’re always selling something. I didn’t understand this at first, especially when I started my own business. I struggled to communicate and sell what I wanted, and it was frustrating. There were moments when I managed to sell something, but it was never what I truly aimed to sell. This made me curious—why was this happening?

Determined to find an answer, I signed up for several sales courses. I discovered something fascinating: all sales are essentially the same, following a system. This realization was a game-changer for me. Learning this system allowed me to connect better with my clients, understand their needs, and close deals more effectively. One particular method that stood out to me was the C.L.O.S.E. acronym: Connect, Listen, Offer, Secure, Evaluate.

Let’s dive into how C.L.O.S.E. can transform your approach to sales and negotiation.

First, Connect. Establish a genuine connection with your client. Think about how a pilot needs to connect with their crew and passengers. This connection builds trust and opens the door for better communication. When you connect authentically with your clients, they feel valued and understood. They are more likely to listen to what you have to offer. Make the effort to find common ground and show genuine interest in their needs and concerns. This connection is the foundation of a successful sale.

Next, Listen. Active listening is crucial. It’s not just about hearing words; it’s about understanding the underlying needs and emotions. As a pilot, listening to the needs and concerns of your crew is vital for a safe flight. Similarly, in sales, when you listen attentively, you gain insights into what your client truly wants. This helps you tailor your approach and offer solutions that are genuinely beneficial. Practice active listening in your conversations. Nod, ask follow-up questions, and show empathy. This makes your clients feel heard and appreciated.

After listening, it’s time to Offer. Present proposals that align with your client’s expectations. Just like a pilot offers the safest and most efficient flight plan, you need to offer solutions that meet your client’s needs. When your offer is well-aligned with their desires, it’s easier for them to see the value in what you’re selling. Be clear, concise, and focus on how your offer solves their problems or enhances their life. Tailor your pitch to resonate with what they’ve told you during the listening phase.

Then, Secure the deal. Ensure the agreement is compelling and beneficial. Think of this step like landing a plane smoothly. Your client should feel confident and satisfied with the decision to proceed. Address any final concerns they might have and reiterate the benefits of your offer. Be ready to close with a strong and positive conclusion. When you secure the deal effectively, it leaves a lasting positive impression and opens the door for future business.

Finally, Evaluate. After closing the deal, take a moment to reflect on the process. Evaluate what went well and what could be improved. Just as pilots debrief after every flight to improve, you should review each sale. This evaluation helps you learn and grow, making your next sales experience even better. Identify patterns, celebrate your successes, and learn from any mistakes.

Using the C.L.O.S.E. method has transformed my approach to sales and negotiation. It’s a simple yet powerful system that can help you build stronger relationships, understand your clients better, and close more deals successfully. Remember, selling is a life skill that everyone should master. So, apply these steps in your next sales interaction and watch how they can make a difference. Sign up for courses that improve your sales skills, and keep refining your approach. You’ll be amazed at the results.

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