Book reviews - Sales Books

Book Recommendation: The Perfect Close

I don’t like to make predictions, especially about the future, but I predict that James Muir is a name you will be seeing more and more in the conversation about top sales experts. I’m basing that on his new book, The Perfect Close.

But first, let me say that the book’s title is a bait-and-switch, albeit a positive one. That’s because the two closing questions that Muir recommends are only introduced in Chapter 12, almost at the end of the book. The first eleven chapters are all about the approach that you should take before and during the sales call to put yourself into the best position for the close. But I think that’s the best way for presenting the material in this book. Muir tells you right up front that you can skip right to the Chapter 12 if you like, but that would be like going to a five-star restaurant and only ordering dessert. You’ll get instant gratification but miss a tremendous amount of nutrition and flavor.

The “nutrition” you will glean from reading the entire book is a complete course in planning and executing an effective sales conversation. The big picture is that you must think deeply about the what and why of every customer call and communication: what is your purpose, and why should the customer meet with you? It’s an idea that I cover in Lean Communication for Sales, but The Perfect Close goes into far more detail and provides many more examples.

The “flavor” comes from the tons of examples of examples of what you could and should say, and what you should avoid saying. In fact, if I had to point out one improvement opportunity, there are almost too many examples but then you can simply skim over areas where you already get the point.

The “perfect close” itself consists of two simple questions and I like them because they are natural and non-manipulative, which makes them effective and low-risk. The questions are low-risk because they don’t force the buyer into a corner where the default answer is “no”; instead, they let you know what their attitude is and where they are in their decision process. But the crucial point is that the perfect close works only if you’ve done all the things that Muir recommends before you get to that point: having the right mindset, preparing effectively, and planning your sales call.

Overall, The Perfect Close is an excellent book, based on a good blend of research and personal experience, both with successes and failures. I highly recommend it.

There are several points in the books where Muir hints at upcoming work, and that’s why I predict he will become well known, and I look forward to reading even more from this promising first-time author.

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