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Does the hard close still work?

Does hard closing still work? Is there a place for hard selling (aggressive selling) in the world of sales today? Is there a difference between B2B or B2C applications of the hard close?

What are your thoughts about the hard close? - by Skip Anderson
Does hard closing still work? Is there a place for hard selling (aggressive selling) in the world of sales today? Is there a difference between B2B or B2C applications of the hard close?

What are your thoughts about the hard close?
What is a hard close? - by Gary A Boye
Aggressive closing which may overlook the needs or feelings of the prospect and puts the closed deal as the top priority. How's that sound? - by Skip Anderson
Aggressive closing which may overlook the needs or feelings of the prospect and puts the closed deal as the top priority. How's that sound?
I've worked on many large sales where the income and profit was certainly a top priority for my company or the company I represented. In the early stages of the process the needs and feelings of the prospect were always crucial. I can't remember any time where they became less important as finalization neared. I can't comment on "aggressive closing" because I'm not sure what you mean. If a salesperson abandons the mode of good faith and clear honest communication leading towards a desired result, he/she would not be very good at sales whether it was today, or in years gone by. But I would have to see an example of a "hard close" in order to fully understand this topic. - by Gary A Boye
Gary, prior to your latest post Skip had submitted a post that fell through moderation. Here is the definition that was found in the link submitted:

Hard Sell Approach -an approach to selling in which the salesperson puts pressure on the buyer to make a commitment to purchase; an approach typical of the period of the "selling era" from the 1930s to 1950s. - Monash University - by Jeff Blackwell
Thanks for that information, Jeff.

Yes--I'm familiar with the term "hard sell". As a matter of fact, in a conversation with my partner just yesterday, a related subject came up. We were talking about the fact that we've both known non-salespeople who believe that salespeople are (or have to be) "pushy". That topic was contained in the overall conversation about why many good and qualified people don't choose selling as a career because of misconceptions.

But actually, the topic on this thread was "hard close", not hard sell. I was merely asking for a real life example of a hard close.

Don't know what "fell through moderation" means. - by Gary A Boye
Don't know what "fell through moderation" means.
Hi Gary, "fell through moderation" means it took the long road to getting posted. - by Jeff Blackwell
I sold cars for 3 years and I've seen all sorts of closes used. I think what's being referred to as the hard close is merely applying more and more pressure until the prospect either signs or tells you to go to hell.

I've thoroughly confused myself lately, as I seem to be really good when I'm too busy to have time to think about what I'm doing, but lose all my confidence when it gets slow. - by Phateless
I sold cars for 3 years and I've seen all sorts of closes used. I think what's being referred to as the hard close is merely applying more and more pressure until the prospect either signs or tells you to go to hell.

I've thoroughly confused myself lately, as I seem to be really good when I'm too busy to have time to think about what I'm doing, but lose all my confidence when it gets slow.
Can you give an example--at least one--for this thread of a "hard close"--one you have seen used? - by Gary A Boye
What are your thoughts about the hard close?
In an age of information and connectivity, the prospect doesn't often need the sales representative like they used too. With this, I don't think there is much of a place for the hard close in a regular B2B or B2C interaction.

With all things considered I still use the hard close when after following a sales structure, handled all objections, given the prospect time to consider the offer and still have an indecisive prospect. If I believe all avenues have been covered and I want to end the discussion and am happy to walk away with all or nothing, then I'll use the hard close. - by MrCharisma
In an age of information and connectivity, the prospect doesn't often need the sales representative like they used too. With this, I don't think there is much of a place for the hard close in a regular B2B or B2C interaction.

With all things considered I still use the hard close when after following a sales structure, handled all objections, given the prospect time to consider the offer and still have an indecisive prospect. If I believe all avenues have been covered and I want to end the discussion and am happy to walk away with all or nothing, then I'll use the hard close.
How about yourself? Can you share an example of a "hard close"? You'll be the first on the thread to do so. It should be easy inasmuch as you said you actually use one. What's it look like? - by Gary A Boye
Skip
Using the definition you described my answer is NO. The clientís feelings, needs, want should always be the focal point. The other day I did a ride along with a water conditioning expert. Each client we visited was forced to listen to the water conditioning pitch. We were not there for a water quality test we were there for different issues. The clientís were asked if they minded us doing a water quality test and informed by this expert that he was not going to sell them anything.

Shortly after the test came questions concerning the chemicals in the water and how those chemicals will affect their body and what could possibly happen to them health wise and then came the sales pitch. This lasted 45 minutes. I am a lucky guy and came away with a few sales items that I rescheduled for another day. When I arrived to do the installation of other products at the clientís home to complete our transaction the first words out of the clientís mouth was, he sure was pushy and I could not wait for him to go. A hard close may end with a sale however I am hard pressed to believe that there will not be repeat business and or a relationship. - by rich34232
I will sometimes get pretty forward with a customer if they've asked a million quetions and I felt that they would buy through the whole process, yet end up waffling in the end.

If I've put that much into it and they still aren't sure, Ican get a bit abrupt, be that good or bad. It's landed me some jobs but it's lost jobs as well. I just feel what do I have to lose you know?

I've also been known to bluff, like "hey, someone else is asking about that paper and I told them it was sold so do you want to put that order in?". Or, "I will be out in one week, better grab it now."

Seems to work much of the time. - by Thufir
Gary, how about if we say that "hard sell" and "hard close" mean the same thing?

Skip - by Skip Anderson
Gary, how about if we say that "hard sell" and "hard close" mean the same thing?

Skip
I don't think they do, but that works for me.

That said, I have to align myself with Rich's thoughts above. - by Gary A Boye
What would you call persistence in a selling situation? Where I know the client needs what I have and he or she is unwilling to move forward at this time. I then do not accept their non movement today and talk discuss the importance to move forward.
An example of this would be this situation that did occur.
A client purchased a product and told by numerous people that it would solve a problem. This client then called us to consult with him and her about their concerns and different opinions they received. I arrived and the comment that they immediately shouted out to me, we are not going to spend any money we only want information.

I then went to the immediate area to see what they wanted to accomplish. I discovered the information they had received was terribly wrong. I then went and looked at another item in their home and discovered the age of the product was very old and not working properly. While checking out this product I noticed several other items that required attention. During the whole process I kept hearing from the client that they were not prepared to spend money and refused to spend money today.

I priced up everything that I noticed that required attention and we sat down to discuss the presentation. The client asked the same questions over and over and made the statement many times that they did not want to spend any money this time they threw out the reason for not spending money due to the economy.
The total time spent with the client was two hours or more. With each question asked by the clients they received an explanation. The final objection was that they did not need a plumber. My final statement was would you agree that it is not that you have not needed a plumber but that you did not want a plumber? While stating this fact I pushed my presentation in front of him and asked for his authorization and we can make this a thing of the past. Then the silence arrived. He smiled and said you are correct and signed the paperwork. This was a hard sell but not a hard close where I did care about the client and their feelings along with taking care of their issues.

The client understood that everything I mentioned required attention and immediately. Two of the items could have caused damage to their property if not taken care of however I did not have to mention that fact they did and that told me they understood. After the jobs were completed the client informed that their regular plumber had been there a week prior and never discovered what I did in a few short minutes and they appreciated that I took care of them. Not only did they give me a tip, they wrote a great reference letter and have given me many referrals. If I accepted the supposed fact of I am not going to spend money I would have lost the sale, the client would have lost a great service and neither of us would have been satisfied.

I am not sure I understand hard sell or hard close .I understood the definition of a hard close being the clientís feelings and thoughts ignored.
- by rich34232
I am not sure I understand hard sell or hard close .I understood the definition of a hard close being the clientís feelings and thoughts ignored.
But if you really look at your post, the difference emerges. Nice entry into this thread, Rich. It shows what real world selling looks like.

We can associate "persistence" with hard selling, and nobody is going to shoot us. Your close, Rich, was "soft", in keeping with the metaphor. But effective as can be. - by Gary A Boye
I don't think they do, but that works for me.
What do you think they mean, Gary? - by Skip Anderson
Here is an example of what I consider a Hard Close:

"This special price is good only for today. If I walk out the door and you call me tomorrow you will have to pay the original higher price."

I can't speak for anyone else but this tactic does not work well on me, and in fact generally has the opposite affect. Once upon a time I realized that too many of my poor buying decisions resulted from 'impulse buys'. I made a rule for myself that I do not make purchasing decisions involving large sums of money or long term commitments without allowing myself a 24hr 'cooling off' period.

Some people can't respect that and they generally leave empty-handed. - by DaveB
What do you think they mean, Gary?
Skip, hard sell is a term that is usually used to describe the process of selling in a pushy, often overbearing, overaggressive, insensitive, and mostly non-empathetic manner.

Hard close is not an often-used term. Therefore I asked several times for an example. DaveB. was able to finally provide one for this thread. Take a look at it and see if you are able to recognize the difference. - by Gary A Boye
Can you give an example--at least one--for this thread of a "hard close"--one you have seen used?
One of my managers used to tell me "keep on em until they buy or die." - by Phateless
There is always a time and place for a hard close. Buyers often rely on the decisiveness of the close. Even in business to business situations, people on the cusp of a difficult decision value the firm opinion of sales people who have earned their respect. Sometimes the respect isn't necessary. It's the right thing to do and the sales person’s affirmation of it is just what a buyer needs.

I guess such closes, spoken at the right time, are taking account of the buyer’s state of mind and feelings.

I can't imagine the need for an aggressive tone. If the seller uses open hostility it is bound to backfire. "A man convinced against his will, remains of the same opinion still" - possibly from Dale Carnegie's book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.


- by Clive Miller
Here is an example, sometimes known as sudden death:

Either this is a good thing to do and we should go ahead and write up your order, or it isn't right for you and we should not spend more time on it. Which is it to be?

Its effectiveness all depends on circumstances, timing, and delivery (tonality etcetera). - by Clive Miller
Here is an example, sometimes known as sudden death:

Either this is a good thing to do and we should go ahead and write up your order, or it isn't right for you and we should not spend more time on it. Which is it to be?

It's effectiveness all depends on circumstances, timing, and delivery (tonality etcetera).
I guess because the solicitation for examples brought nada, that could suffice as a hard close. But frankly, I believe it is to the point, gutsy, and, could be very effective. - by Gary A Boye
Thanks Gary,

This is a little harder:

I'm certain this is the right thing for you to do because . . (three best value propositions). Are you ready to go ahead?

The art of course is holding your tongue after you ask a closing question. - by Clive Miller
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