Sales Book Review: The Perfect Close by James Muir

The very first piece of advice James Muir gives is one you shouldn’t follow.

An excellent sales book -- The Perfect Close

In the introduction to The Perfect Close: The Secret To Closing Sales – The Best Selling Practices & Techniques For Closing The Deal, James Muir invites the reader to skip to Chapter 12. That’s where he reveals the two-question technique that forms the basis of the book.

I skipped to Chapter 12, and the best advice I can give you is: don’t skip.

Read the chapters in order.

For the same reason that you shouldn’t skip to the end of a great mystery novel to find out who did it, skipping to Chapter 12 means you miss everything that comes before. 

The good stuff is what comes before.

A great sales book: The Perfect Close by James Muir

Photo by LoloStock

For Muir, it starts with mindset — asking yourself why, exactly, you want a particular sale to close. If the only answer is that you’re under pressure to hit your April number, you’ve got a problem. 

For your ongoing relationship to work, the transaction needs to benefit your advertiser, and you should be able to articulate what that benefit is.

Otherwise, says Muir, you walk into the client’s office reeking of “commission breath.”

“Intent,” says Muir, “matters more than technique.”

If your intent is in the right place, you need to keep the sale moving forward. Muir advises writing down two objectives before each meeting:

  • A Sales Objective
  • A Call Objective

Muir defines the Sales Objective as “the revenue (or outcome) you anticipate generating by closing this particular opportunity with this particular customer.”

To qualify, says Muir, the objective needs to relate to a specific product or service that you offer. It must be measurable, have a target date by which it will happen, and be realistic for the client to be able to do.

Muir defines a Call Objective as “an advance or commitment that is the desired outcome of this particular sales encounter with this particular person or group.”

In other words — what do you want the client to do as a result of this particular meeting?

Muir lays out the difference between

  • A Close — when the customer firmly commits to buy  
  • An Advance“a significant action that requires energy by the client — either in the call or right after it — that moves the sale toward a decision”
  • A Continuation — “a situation where the sale will continue yet no specific action has been agreed upon by the customer to move the sale forward.”

There’s a huge gap in value between an Advance and a Continuation, and Muir’s book does an excellent job of helping the reader see the difference. The big distinction:

If the client is not taking an action, it is not an advance. If the action the client takes requires little or no energy, it is not an advance.”

If the client schedules a follow-up meeting, checks with Accounting to determine the budget,  and makes sure that all decision-makers will attend, it’s an Advance.

If the client just suggests that you give him a call some time next week, it’s a Continuation. 

Too often we as salespeople accept a series of Continuations. We put out all the effort, the client is passive, and the sale stalls. The Perfect Close is particularly good with advice on how to make sure the sale truly advances.

Which brings us to Chapter 12, when Muir finally gives us his two-question sequence for generating action.

Although he calls it “The Perfect Close”, I’d be more likely to call it The Perfect Advance. The questions can be deployed throughout the process to move the sale forward.

Like a football moving down the field, a series of true advances will move the ball over the goal line.

When I read Chapter 12 early, I was disappointed. When I got to it again after reading the previous chapters, it had much more meaning and value.

The Perfect Close will give you excellent, thought-provoking and actionable advice on how you can keep your sales advancing toward the conclusion you want. 

Just don’t skip to the end. 

Question: What’s the best sales book you’ve read in the past 12 months? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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2 thoughts on “Sales Book Review: The Perfect Close by James Muir

  1. The best sales book is one I read every year, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger, I make a point to re-read this each year and have for the past dozen years.

    • That one’s been on my “I oughta read that” list for years but I’ve never picked it up. I plan to change that this year — thanks for the reminder.