Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

Are You Really Closing the Sales Interview or Just Afraid?


Come on, we all know how to close the hiring medical sales manager for that sales job, right? After coaching sales representatives on how to close when I was a sales manager, and now as a recruiter, I have come to one conclusion: not all people know how to closea medical sales call or a job interview appropriately. What is even worse?

Many sales people, after the right coaching, STILL FAIL TO CLOSE! Now what is that about? I call it the FEAR TO CLOSE PHOBIA (Closenophobia). Do you have it?

To do a self diagnosis as whether you have Closenophobia, you must first understand the definition of phobia as defined by Wikipedia; “The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive and unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject”.

Yes, I firmly believe some people are afraid to close the sales call or an interview. Often I would get this response from a sales person or job candidate, ”I just didn’t want to ask and seem too pushy”. Worse, some candidates will tell me they THOUGHT THEY DID close the hiring manager and are shocked when I tell them the manager passed on them because ”they did not close”the interview!

Closenophobia is hard to self diagnosis. Let’s take Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), I don’t know one person who would have a difficult time knowing if they had THAT phobia! So what is it about Closenophobia that people just won’t admit to having or honestly, don’t understand they suffer from it? Granted, some people don’t have the fear, they just don’t know how to close and that can be resolved with practice. So let me share with you a quick self diagnosis toolfor Closenophobia BEFORE we talk about the best way to close (because I have learned you won’t do it anyway if you have a fear to close, nope, no way!).

There is one STRONG test of whether your closing statement is really a close:

  1. did you ask a question that could only be answered in ONE WAY: evoking the only possible response of either a “Yes” or a “No”.
  2. Remember, each stage of the interview and what happens during each interview, dicatates what is considered an appropriate close, but bottom line your close must evoke only one type of response, a ”yes or no” from your interviewer.

So there is your quick diagnosis tool, are you asking those type of questions and if not why? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Let’s go one more step in this process, because again, many people think they are closing when they are not!

I have many job candidates tell me the following after an interview, do they sound familiar?:

  • ”yes, I closed the hiring manager. I told him I really, really was interested in his job and I hope he was moving me forward”.
  • “yes, I closed him. I told him during the final interview that I really, really wanted this job and when could I expect to hear back from him”.

I will abruptly reply to the above responses with, “that is no closeand he is hiring you to close clients to buy from you, if you can’t ask for the next step or the job and get a commitment with a Yes or No Closing Question….how in the world are you going to do that with your customer because that is much harder than asking for the next step in the interview process?”.

Sometimes these Job Candidates get lucky and are invited back for another interview KNOWING the hiring manager had concerns about their weak closing skills. Sure enough, they go back in after my CLOSE COACHING (some managers ask me to coach them to see if they are coach-able!) and almost always they fail again. They will tell me afterwards “it did not feel right to ask a Yes or No question to close, I felt like I was being rude”! Well, I HATE to be rude, but NO, you are not moving on to the next interview or NO you are not getting the job. What that person has is CLOSENOPHOBIA, yep they are a CLOSENOPHOBIAC (boy do I love making up new words!)!

Why do medical sales managers ask me to coach the close (besides knowing I was a medical sales Division Manager for years)? Hiring medical sales managers know that sales people either will close OR they will not close. After you train someone to close a sales call or interview and they are still not closing, than the manager knows the waters run very deep psychologically and this candidate will probably never change AND never have strong closing skills.Somewhere in their heads they are thinking that selling and then closing with “will you buy now” is rude to do. The Diagnosis? CLOSENOPHOBIA! So what is your self diagnosis?

©Linda Hertz, All Rights Reserved

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Tags: closing the interview, interviewing skills


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Comment by Linda Hertz on October 28, 2010 at 1:18am
To Members of the Linda Hertz Group, I found this old question placed on Cafe Pharma and I could not resist in answering this person's question (especially since I had just written the above article). I just found my more in-depth and detailed answer and thought I would include it with the original articla". Enjoy.

11-20-2009, 01:03 PM
Anonymous Posts: n/a

Re: Closing the Interview??


I like to set it up by using my questions at the end of the interview.

First question - What are some of the traits or adjectives you would use to describe the ideal candidate for this position and/or your most successful sales people?

Second question - What are some of your goals for this and/or next quarter/half/year, etc?

Finally - You told me a little bit about what traits match the ideal candidate. We talked about your goals for next year. Based on our conversation, do you see me as someone who meets those traits and could help your team reach your goals? If so, what do I have to do to move forward in the process?


#12 11-22-2009, 03:21 PM
Recruiter: Linda Hertz Posts: n/a

from former salesmanager now recruiter Re: Closing the Interview??


I wrote an article today about the number one problem during an interview...people not closing the interview or not understanding how to strongly. The second part of the article I may not have completed for you in time, BUT there is a nuance of how to close once you understand this part (above post on the Linda Hertz Group)

Each phase on an interview requires a different level of close question all resulting in a two word or three word reply (sorry, got to read the article for that part). If you are interviewing for a job where the recruiter has told you and it is confirmed that they have a 4 step interview process and your "close" on the first interview is "can you make a decision now and can I have the job?"....well I know you would not do that, but clearly the close question is inappropriate for the first interview.

On the other hand, if are in that first interview and clearly the manager is asking you questions and you are coming up short on the answers (the ones that manager wants to hear), then asking at the end, "I am very interested in this opportunity, can I move to the next step?". Well that is just as inappropriate than "can I have the job now". A precursor to close would be getting his/her possible objections out of the way (sounding like a sales call...right?). ie; "Jim, I am very interested in this position, but I also would like to know if there are any questions you may have about my background or responses that would prevent me from moving forward or that I need to address more fully for you?"

Now you have to listen, it is hard for a coaching manager not to give you feedback, YOU MUST listen and begin to see if you can handle the objections (not defensively) and respond to each of the concerns to hopefully positive outcome. If you feel you have, then ask again, Ie; "Jim, thank you for sharing the additional feedback information with me and hopefully I was able to address those questions to your satisfaction (wait for the visible yes, if he is nodding his head...go in for the kill), good, then can I move forward to the next step in the interview process (yes or no), great...could we set that up now?" You get the idea...the close is a flow from the interview conversation.

What if he shakes his head when you asked if you have addressed all his questions (the second time around) or worse, does nothing? Ugh, you got problems and you can try to circle again a third time, but perhaps Jimbo has decided it is not going to be a fit. Do you close again, well what is it going to hurt? "Well Jim it appears you do have additional questions, can you share with me what those are? (If he says no, no time) Then backdoor it, could I move to the next interview phase and have the opportunity to address them at that time? If no again...well need I say more be polite, state your interest in moving forward. You are not getting a buy signal and if you push, push; it will make it worse showing the hiring manager you have the propensity to be too pushy and drive customers away. After all an interview is a sales call! Good luck and hope that helps. I will be writing my second piece on this later part of the interview close subject. Hope you enjoy my post from today as well by Linda Hertz


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