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Something that I have never done, is to close an interview.

I have watched Mark's Kellog video and see how powerful, closing an interview would be, but have several issues, especially being in the UK. This coming week I have an interview for a Regional Sales position, it is a crossover within my career and if there was one interview to close this would be it.

My feeling is that if my approach is not, 100% then it may come across as being too forward or presumptative, even for a sales role in the UK.

After researching into this I have found some information from The Interview Kit, Richard H Beatty 1995 http://asi-ga.com/closing.html.

In short...

1. Expression of interest
2. The value statement
3. Requesting feedback
4. Establishing the "path forward"
5. The "thank you"
6. The parting impression.

This approach seems to lack the power of Mark's. Has anyone an alternative or a proven script that can be adapted.

Julian

bflynn's picture

I don't know of anything more powerful than what Mark suggests. You are proposing the next step of action in your relationship with the company, namely to hire you. Hiring a person is a process and at this point, there are two choices the hiring manager has to make - to hire you or not. You are offering input to the decision and giving them the reasons to say yes.

One suggestion on closing; make sure that its time to close. If you ask for the job when their next step is another interview, it comes across as you not knowing what is going on. Closing isn't just for the last interview. Your close is to tell them you want to move to the next step. (I'd like to come to a second interview and here's why). If you don't know the next step, ask.

I wouldn't worry about this coming across as too aggressive in a sales role. If you were selling their product, don't you think they'd like you to be aggressive and close your sale with the customer? This is no different, you are selling a product and you're asking them to close the sale.

Brian

erickas's picture

^^ See title. :)

I was scared to death about the idea. One day finally got up enough courage to try it... and it actually worked better than I'd ever imgained. I tried it from the first interview and was shocked that within 3 days I had an offer and no more interviews! *wow* Amazing stuff. Thank you!

:)

joolzb's picture

I tried a variation on Marks approach and felt it went well, I had to get comfortable with my approach and also have some recovery come backs if their replies where not a simple yes...

As my interview was for Sales, I was advised to treat the interview as a sales call.

Strong handshake. Good, consistent eye contact.

If you want you can ask them if it's OK to take notes. Usually a good sign
as long as you don't go crazy.

You should start by qualifying or pre-closing. At the start of the interview ask them what criteria they are looking for you to meet? "Before we start it would be really useful for me to have an idea of your specific requirements, could you just expand a little on the criteria you're expecting me to meet to be successful". You have to be fairly confident to take this approach. Obviously you tailor your answers to this info. Ask them what the decision making process is, what's the next stage.

(Yesterday, the interviewers started by doing this for me, which helped.)

Make sure you understand the questions. If you're not sure, qualify what they mean by asking something like, "Could you just clarify that for me, please? Have I understood this correctly?" etc etc. MUST answer the question asked, not the question you think they've asked or that you want to hear.

Back up your answers with facts: earnings, figures etc etc

Make sure you have more than one answer for the 'stock questions' i.e.
strengths, weaknesses. Make sure that your weaknesses are actually
strengths:

And the key thing is to 'close' at the end.

At the end of the interview, once you've asked all of your questions, you
could ask if they have any reservations. You would then cover them,
displaying your objection-handling skills.

You can then ask them how you've compared to other people they've seen...

(They raised the only objection as not having 'sharp end' or 'cold' sales experience. Which is true, I dont, but filled in lots of detail where I have displayed 'cold' calling i.e. when working as an independant consultant, to generate work, cold calling prospects was a major part of may daily tasks etc.)

Assuming their answers are positive you should then close with a direct closed (yes or no) question: "I'm really interested in the job and I think we've covered enough to show that I meet your requirements so will you be
moving me on to the next stage / giving me the job" etc etc, "I think it's a fantastic opportunity and I'm certain I'd do a great job for you. I'm very keen to demonstrate this further at the next stage, will you be inviting me back" etc etc.

They may well say that they still have other people to see and that they'll get back to you. Depending on the environment you can take it 2 ways:

Just smile and say that's cool, had to be worth a try...

Or

Close them harder: Say you appreciate they have other people to see but if
they were just making a decision on what they've seen today do they think
you could do the job. If they say yes, ask them why they should need to
consider anyone else when you meet their requirements.

(They said to me that they have not seen everyone yet when I asked them if it was decided to go to a second interview, based on what they have seen today, would they be inviting me back? and I said I was worth a try, which was good as we all had a laugh with the interviewer saying if you dont ask, you dont get!).

That's pretty much it. Be confident and make sure you express just how up
for the job you are. Let them know you think it's a great opportunity and
you'll work your very hardest to make a real go of it....

(I stressed to them that I wanted this job, they jumped in and said why. As I have been in the industry from 18 years I want to focus on my knowledge, experience and collaborate with potential clients helping them make the right decisions in matching your products and solutions up to their wants and needs - I dont want to throw this experience away as it makes up 1/2 of my life and is valuable to me. ((I think this went well))

(I am also studying for a certification JDF which is what this specific company base their whole product line around, I mentioned this and said that when I certify, I would be possibly the first in the UK to have this and it would be a huge factor in landing a sit with clients - they would not only be talking to sales but an expert - powerful I think!).

The final thing I did yesterday is send a handwritten letter (it went in the post and will be with them this morning), kept it simple. Thanked them for making time in their busy schedule to see me, said how exiting the prospect of joining an industry leader was for me and how much (if selected) I was looking forward to joining their team.

It couldnt have gone better, I wont make 2nd interview, I am sure. The feeling I had upon leaving was that they would choose me (as being a little different with a more collaborative approach, against hard line sales or 2nd interview several salesmen).

Let you know how it goes...

Mark's picture

Just to be clear, I think there is a LOT of misunderstanding about my recommendations regarding closing based on the comments above.

Some thoughts:

You do not ask a question. That requires an answer, and insofar as interviews usually are not individual decisions (and there is a requirement to consult), an answer is not forthcoming in the form of yes or no.

You are NOT asking about the next step, or even hinting at it, as you don't really know what it is.

An interview is NOT a sales call - many of those techniques are quite specific to product sales. They are ill-advised here.

You are simply stating your interest in wanting an offer, folks. If you can't deliver THAT with excitement, you really ought not be interviewing.

Mark

joolzb's picture

Mark,

I think that I have clouded the water on this thread by including other areas of this specific interview that was a sales interview. My brother-in-law is a European Sales Manager earnining a fortune and have been talking to him about your cast and closing etc. he agrees totally with you and suggested that I added several other techniques earlier in the session (which are probably sales specific).

Things may differ slightly between the US and UK as he did stress that an interview for sales manager/director postion would give him an insight into how you would handle yourself with a prospect etc. Hence to be approached like a sales call (again sales specific).

I am sorry if this thread has confused anyone by focussing on my particular 'sales interview', I thought that this rundown may be of interest to the community/ it worked well for me yesterday as was worth sharing. However I do see that it could bring confusion into the mix for non-sales interviews.

My brother-in-law also advised me that if I was not going to close, in a sales interview - DONT GO. As it is a critical part that he would expect to see and if a candidate didn't do it, his decision would have been made.

Definately with your help Mark and Mike, I gave the best interview I have ever sat in 18 years - thanks.

Julian

(Mark, it may be best closing this thread to avoid any issues)

Mark's picture

Julian-

Well said! At some point, all the subtleties need to come out, so I think this kind of clarification is good. Mike and I can't discuss every nuance... so this is a good thread, worth keeping.

Mark

tron's picture

Could one of you help me find the podcast or post that details the 'closing'. I did a search and found references to the word closing here, but am unable to locate it in a blog post or referenced in one of the podcasts.

Thanks

juliahhavener's picture

Tron,

It's not actually in a podcast yet (I don't think). I saw it in the Kellogg presentation Mark did. If you do a search on google for Mark Horstmann and Kellogg, you can easily find the video to download. Very interesting three-ish hours. Fabulous for anyone thinking of interviewing soon.

I'm sure this will be covered in the interview set some of us are waiting on the edge of our chairs for.

Julia

tron's picture

Thanks - I found the 3-part video and PPT.

I just watched them - and all I can say - is WOW, what a great talk. For those of you looking for it -->[url]http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/student/club/va/resources.html[/url]

aspiringceo's picture

I watched the first part of Mark's video on Sunday and when I went to watch part 2 & 3 tonight I find that they have been removed, could this be connected to the The Decline of Thank You Notes, and The End of An Era blog?

Edmund

arun's picture

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post and have just started regularly listening to the podcasts.

I have looked for the much talked about video on the Kellogg website without joy. Can anyone paste a link for me or advise where I can download it from? I have an upcoming interview on Thursday (8 Feb).

Looking forward to participating on the forums on a regular basis.

Arun

juliahhavener's picture

Arun,

I believe you can still get the powerpoint slideshow (if you can't find it, I think I have it in email), but I believe the videos have been removed. I'm not sure if they've been re-posted elsewhere.

arun's picture

Thanks Julia, I have downloaded the slideshow for review.

Regards, Arun

Mark's picture

Hey folks! Sorry I've been away.

The video is no longer available. FOlks were using it in ways counter to our work on your behalf.

Mark

arun's picture

[quote]The video is no longer available[/quote]

As usual minority spoil for the majority of people who want to use them responsibly sigh! :(

Mike, Mark and other users thanks for all the excellent advice on this forum.

Regards

Arun

neil_richards's picture

My take on closing: it's like the Christmas rule. Stressful because you don't do it very often.

The first time I did it was on the phone. I had all my notes laid out in front of me with a single sheet of paper saying

"CLOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

When I got to the end of the interview, I did (with my three or four 'excitement' points). I don't think I was excited as I needed to be. It was far from perfect.

And the next time? I got better

and better.

You just have to practice. Then you find out how to work it into the conversation naturally.

"Just one last thing..." is a great way to kick it off.