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When is a sale considered closed? Trouble getting them to sign the dotted line

My company provides music lessons to students. I'm having difficulty closing leads, as expected, as I'm still inexperienced at sales, but one of the most frustrating circumstances is when the customer tells me that they are going to sign up for lessons, gives me their information, even sometimes confirms a first lesson(!!), and then when I send them the agreement (expecting them to return it), something 'comes up' and then there are objections, or they say something absolutely ridiculous. It especially bothers me in the case that they actually DO set up a first lesson because the teachers have to put it in their schedule to come to this student's home, sometimes making adjustments, and then the customer flakes out. Even though I do give them the praise and continue to emphasize that they are making a great decision.

I know that this happens a lot in my industry, and it is accepted practice among most professionals, but most musicians/teachers are not businesspeople, so I am convinced there is a way around it.

I am considering recording my phone conversations for confirming the first lesson (with proper notification of course) and then making it an oral contract (instead of a written contract) for the first lesson. I rarely lose a customer once they have their first lesson, since they usually really enjoy my teaching (or the teaching of those that work for me). - by MontyBloom
Hi Monty! Why do they have to sign an agreement? Is it like a contract? When do you accept the money?

Most of my issues happen when I send the invoice for payment after getting everything organized and ready for the project, which can take quite a bit of time and effort. Sometimes, I never hear from them again! I never get too excited till the money is in the bank.
- by Thufir
Curious. Why do you need an agreement signed for music lessons? How big of a ticket are you attempting to sell?

It seems to me you should be accepting payment over the phone with credit or debit cards before you initiate scheduling. Without doing that you are not really closing sales, you're just getting a informal statement of intent fom the prospect. You can't take "interested" prospects to the bank. - by Gary A Boye
Curious. Why do you need an agreement signed for music lessons? How big of a ticket are you attempting to sell?

It seems to me you should be accepting payment over the phone with credit or debit cards before you initiate scheduling. Without doing that you are not really closing sales, you're just getting a informal statement of intent fom the prospect. You can't take "interested" prospects to the bank.
Yes I am visiting the idea of doing credit/debit card over the phone, but maybe some people want to send checks? I'm not a suburban housewife, but I've heard that they like to write checks (something I hate doing, I personally always use debit card).

grrr it's just so expensive to have the credit card merchant set up. - by MontyBloom
It's not expensive at all. Paypal has all the tools you need. you can even get a card swiper that plugs right into your USB port on your computer.

Your customers don't need a paypal account either.

Check into it.....it's pretty easy. - by Thufir
Is this related you your other 'I have to talk to my husband' post?

If it is, then the agreement is your problem, I think. My Wife will not sign anything that even remotely resembles a legally-binding document until she's asked me to review it. My 80-year-old mother is under strict orders to do the same.

Why not just say,"Lessons are paid for a month at a time in advance. We take check or credit card." - by DaveB
Monty,

There is a solution. It's called Check Writer Pro and can be found at www.CheckWriter.net - It's $129.95 and comes with 50 blank checks.

It's a small program you install on your computer and it allows you to input the data off of a check over the phone or from a fax or scanned image sent through email. Once the information is input you can print an actual check. On the signature line it inserts the following:

This draft authorized by your depositor.
No Signature Required

We've been using it for 3 years and have NEVER had a check returned.

One note, some banks use Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) technology. You should probably check with you bank and see if they require it before printing your first check.

Good luck,
Angela

P.S. Don't let the freaky talking head lady scare you off. The program is great. I just don't know WHO decided to animate a photo and have it talk. It's creepy.



Yes I am visiting the idea of doing credit/debit card over the phone, but maybe some people want to send checks? I'm not a suburban housewife, but I've heard that they like to write checks (something I hate doing, I personally always use debit card).

grrr it's just so expensive to have the credit card merchant set up.
- by Angela Smith
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