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Great Closes

In another thread there was reference to the fact that no one posted examples of closes. And, as I am relatively new in this forum, it may have been done but I cannot find a recent thread on the topic, so if has, let's do it again!

I will provide one I love as a starter, which works for providing sales services, including sales training. It is also very useful for a new business that does not have references yet. This usually comes after a good presentation that leads to a request for references;

"Mr. Prospect, I would be pleased to provide references for you. However, I think I have an easier solution."

"What's that?"

"Well, Mr Prospect, the thing about references are, they take time to verify and, what is more important is, it's too easy to get your friends to give you recommendations, meaning they can be forged.

My proposal could not be simpler; The best way for you to prove whether we can do for you what we say we can is to have us go ahead on the basis that if you are not completely satisfied, you will not be presented an invoice. This way you have a no risk opportunity to guarantee you are going to get serious value from us and that we are people of our word."

The above only works if you KNOW that they are seriously interested. If the request was one that was not a sign of real interest you had a bad sales call and this close will not work. Otherwise it is a very low key way to get started. Especially if one service could lead to more and/or bigger projects and more money.

What is your favorite close or closes? - by Gold Calling
The best close is building a trust relationship, and value in your product; before you ask for the close. Many salespeople are bad closers, simply because they ask to early, or ask wrong (a "Yes or No" question instead of an "Either/Or Question").

I help people own cars for a living; and the two closes I use the most:

(With a reassuring smile...) "Jim, looks like we found the perfect vehicle for you, would you like to title this with your Middle Intial or Your Full Middle name?"

and

"Jim, looks like we found the perfect vehicle for you, the paperwork won't take long; would you like something Hot or Cold to drink while I wrap things up?"

Here's why... most customers don't say "My middle initial." or "Cold, please"; but once in a while they do. When they don't the objection is usually welcomed out, because I ask for the close politely. My best advice: focus on being giving, but be in control of how you give.

If you ask questions that are "yes or no" like "Would you like to take this home today?" You are cutting you closing ratio in half, just by asking a question where both answers aren't "yes" to something small. What's easier to say yes to: spending $20,000 on a vehicle, or deciding if you'd like something hot or cold to drink? The key words..."while I wrap things up." - by FollowUpMaster
The best close is building a trust relationship, and value in your product; before you ask for the close. Many salespeople are bad closers, simply because they ask to early, or ask wrong (a "Yes or No" question instead of an "Either/Or Question").

I help people own cars for a living; and the two closes I use the most:

(With a reassuring smile...) "Jim, looks like we found the perfect vehicle for you, would you like to title this with your Middle Intial or Your Full Middle name?"

and

"Jim, looks like we found the perfect vehicle for you, the paperwork won't take long; would you like something Hot or Cold to drink while I wrap things up?"

Here's why... most customers don't say "My middle initial." or "Cold, please"; but once in a while they do. When they don't the objection is usually welcomed out, because I ask for the close politely. My best advice: focus on being giving, but be in control of how you give.

If you ask questions that are "yes or no" like "Would you like to take this home today?" You are cutting you closing ratio in half, just by asking a question where both answers aren't "yes" to something small. What's easier to say yes to: spending $20,000 on a vehicle, or deciding if you'd like something hot or cold to drink? The key words..."while I wrap things up."
I think what you're pointing out is that you prefer an "assumptive close" versus a "direct question close". Assumptive closes can be very powerful, as you point out. Personally, I sold tons of home improvements back when I was selling them by asking, "If you have a phone I can use, I'll get your installation scheduled." If they handed me the phone, they had purchased.

Direct question closes (the "yes/no" questions that you refer to) can also be very effective depending upon your selling situation. I would add that direct question closes must be closed questions (can be answered with a "yes" or "no", and not open-ended questions).

Skip Anderson - by Skip Anderson
Thanks for the add-on, Skip... I agree, an assumptive close is always the best first close. Another one I use, similar to yours is: "Jim, would you mind grabbing your proof of insurance and registration on your trade-in vehicle; I am going to need it to complete the paperwork." Like you said, if they grab it; it is a commitment to purchase.

I hope this helps others.

Keep in mind, though; follow-up is key. If you turn every contact you meet into a sale today, and if not; a referral source in the future; it is the only way to acheive a 100% closing ratio. - by FollowUpMaster
Te copier sales man might say; "Well, we have not talked about where the new machine would go. Since it is slightly larger then the old one, where would you put it?"

That would put an end to the questions. - by Gold Calling
Gold, the copier close was probably more like, "which delivery day works better for you, Monday or Wednesday?" OR, "... who will be responsible for ordering suppliers, Theresa or Ludmilla?".

The age-old "Parntership Close" (wherein the prospect is defecting the discussion):
>> Prospect: " ... I'll talk this over with my partner and get back to you ...";
>> SR: "Well, it certainly makes sense to include your partner in the dialogue, doesn't it?"
>> Prospect: " ... certainly...";
>> SR: "I'm confident that you're being completely serious on this subject ... when will your partner be able to discuss this with you?".
>> Prospect: " ... he'll be in the office on Monday but he should be calling tonight...";
>> SR: "In order to ensure that none of the dynamics of our discussion change, I'm filling out a paperwork for the system and I'd ask you to simply authorize here ... where you'll note that it's subject to cancellation on Monday when your partner returns ... that should leave you enough time to communicate with him, shouldn't it?"

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Just a quick test to clean-up my signature.

Also an 'FYI', when Xerox copiers got larger, they typically required more power. This frequently implied elevated shipping costs and fees for electricians. Sometimes it required 'X' sq.ft. of dedicated storage for supplies & parts!

These were incremental costs to the customer and were ALWAYS monitored by the Branch Manager (because they hit his P&L at month-end)!

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Interestingly Pat, mid volume copiers have gotten smaller, at least in terms of the footprint. So this close may not be inapplicable any longer, though I have not sold a copier for 13 years ... so I don't really know.

I love some of the closes in the insurance industry, they are terrific. But rather than state one, I would like to add to this thread in a certain way; there is a perception behind the notion of the close is a non event. That if you did your job correctly then it is not really a close at all and, sometimes this is totally true. But, and there is a BIG but, it cannot always be true.

Sales and closing discussions plus this topic of CHANGES in people 'these days' all seem to miss a very simple point. We are not closing PEOPLE, we are closing a person (far more than a board or partners). Each individual is different, some will tell you what is on their mind, others are more taciturn, still others don't really know what is bugging them.

Each situation is different. In some situations it is incorrect to say we did not uncover enough needs and/or establish the relationship right, that is why the close is an event. As that is simply not possible.

Take Pat's example - "I have to talk with my partner." This seems reasonable and it is. The buyer gets caught up in it. The sales person does too and sometimes, when there is competition, the other guy shows up on Monday when they are both there and walks with the order, just because the sales person on Friday did not give the out in the contract, like Pat's close.

This is one simple example only. There are many types of people and they are react slightly differently to us. That is why it is necessary to know 7 to 10 closes, even though you might only use 5 of them infrequently.

The largest sales study ever done sent an observer with the rep on over 30,000 sales calls. And this organization is one that it members beat their breasts about the process not having been conducted properly if the close is an event. After careful questioning, one of the VP's admitted to me that there are indeed examples where the prospect is the type where there is no way to know whether or not they are ready to buy.

I think selling is the greatest profession because we have to be psychologists, customer service geniuses, entrepreneurs and experts in many fields of business to tailor the sale to that business ... in other words, because we wear so many hats. However, no matter how good you are with your psychological hat, you will run into prospects that are not as good as you in business or hard to read. That is when the close is critical, as well as situations like the PARTNER ...

Think on this for a moment, assume the partner Pat was talking to did not know that his other partner, the one he wanted to speak to before buying, was talking with another competitor on Monday morning. Also let's assume they - the partners - did not get caught up on Friday's discussion that Pat had. And assume he waited rather than trying the close with "the out clause".

If Pat did not close, and the decision was one where two competitors were nearly dead heats and the other parters liaison with the competing sales rep ended with that sharp person doing the same close ... is it possible that you would have lost the business? Yes it is. Why? because you did not ask for it!

At POSTMORTEMSI do not know how many times we have come down to asking the rep; "Did you actually ask for the business" and had the reason be "No" as apposed to anything else. In complicated sales situations this is common.

The issue with closing is people do not understand it. It is not a slick thing, it is a professional way of finding out if the buyer is committed when you are not certain AND/OR; it is also a way to lock the competition out of the game AND/OR; a way to stop the buyer from asking another question AND/OR: it is a way of finding out what else is on the prospect's mind that you can not uncover through open probes when closed probes also do not lead you to decipher the remaining issue.

Closing is a skill for professionals. Unfortunately it is also abused by those who did not make the effort to learn it first and do it very well when needed, so the prospect is not put off. In other words; the concept has been given a black eye by amateurs.

If you want to be a pro you must practice. Listen to audios to hear the nuisances, offer to Role Play at sales meetings, have your significant other be the buyer or just practice alone ... and make sure you do this again and again and again till you can almost do it while you sleep. Then, when you need to, you will have that professional approach ready. And the prospect will not be put off, they will buy or tell you why they are not willing to buy. And the later gives you what to go on to get to the close of business, whether that be an order or not.

Lastly, what is terrible is that their are trainers who take advantage of this amateurish image to train people not to learn closing. Big time closers simply role their eyes when they hear this idiotic ideology they share. We also realize that a whole generation of sales people are being mislead. Asa rel pro, the thought of this hurts - you have the right to know better and your very livelihood depends on that right too. - by Gold Calling
For anyone who has gone thru PSS first, then, SPIN, you'd get the feeling that there was NO opportunity to close. In point of fact, during the 'needs pay-off' stage of SPIN, the close is sometimes not required.

For a warhorse like me, that's pretty difficult to envision.

In order for a close to be effective, it needs to be delivered in the context of the discussion at the time. Here are a few illustrations:
1. "I'll Think it Over" close:
>> Prospect: "I'll think it over"
>> SR: "Mr. Rottweiller, I'm certain that you wouldn't want to spend your valuable time thinking over my proposal unless you were genuinely interested and felt it was important, would you?" [Let him off-the-hook ... he thinks you're going to let up] "Now just to clarify for my thinking, what part of my proposla is it you want think over? [DON'T PAUUSE OR EVEN TAKE A BREATH] is it the price? The installation time lines? Is it ... [The key is to go through all of the elements of the proposed sales until he acknowledges what is standing in the way of a decision today. At this point in time, you have the final objection. Close on this being the final objection.] "So if I can have everything running by January 28th, we can proceed with the agreement?"

2. "Final Objection" close [after having provided one objection after another]:
>> Prospect: "Frankly, I don't believe what you've implied in terms of savings."
>> SR: [Re-phrase the objection in the form of a question] "If I understand you correctly, you're concerned that your firm won't enjoy the level of savings which we've touched on during our discussions?"
>> Prospect: "YES, that's it!"
>> SR: "Then, that's the one and only concern which you have. If I can set your mind at rest on this one point, that's the only thing standing between us, is that right? [Provide the proof source, close the order!]

3. "Sharp Angle" close:
>> Prospect: "Could you get it up and running within 3 months?"
>> SR: "If I committed to install by mid-March, would you place the order now?" [The idea, here, is to replace the temptation for the SR to answer 'yes' to such questions with a closing question: if we could ... would you buy it?]

4. "Order Blank" close;
5. "Minor Premise" close;
6. "Alternate Choice" close;
7. "Puppy Dog" close;
8. "Ben Franklin/Balance Sheet" close;
9. "Lost Sale" close (when you've really tried everything else);

I have the detail on all of these, in fact, I have a session which has evolved over numerous sessions with the sales team.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Excellent Pat.

Here you see Pat's practical examples. For instance, the SHARP ANGLE close not only stops the rep from saying yes but if they did say yes the buyer would ask another question - which is my my last post is referred to a reason for closing being; "a way to stop the buyer from asking another question". You can see how the rephrasing in (2), the "i'll think it over" close, does the same thing.

Look at what Pat has shown us, he can easily talk about 9 closes, which is approximately 4 times more than the average sales rep. He also shows us that in practice there is no such thing as having "established the relationship right" and therefore not needing to close because we are not talking about numbers or averages, we are talking about individual buyers, each slightly different in their values and chemical make-up.

Sure, sellers like Pat have as many non issue closing events as those that are an issue. But what separates Pat and other real big time closers from the crowd is when the prospect is not a walk in the park close he knows what to do, which does not mean all of them close even though the right approach is applied professionally. But some do and that increases his income dramatically. Of course, he would never try to sell a product or service the prospect does not need, why bother? There are too many prospects out there to act unprofessionally.

Closing is a great skill. No question. One that everyone needs to practice. And you can see that Pat's practice came, not only in application, but as a leader, a sales manger who taught others. And "to teach is to learn twice".

New Age selling schools try to explain it away. Serious research gives us averages - and they are correct - but they are only averages, they do not represent every selling situation (no all encompassing statements do in selling). Poor SR's have provided almost everyone alive of terrible examples of closing and weight as to why "selling can be unprofessional" but the truth is that selling is a great profession.

Are you good enough? If you are talented, will you work hard enough to master it?

By the way, we owe Pat a debt of gratitude, unlike me where I have a sales training company and could be said to be gaining prospects by working at answering posts in this forum, the fact that he lays it on the line in salespractice.com for no benefit other than to help everyone is truly outstanding. Here-here!

If you ever need a pro as a wing man on a complicated sale Pat, give me a call, I would walk into any office with you. Not that you need the help! - by Gold Calling
For my own curiosity, have either of you done any closing ratio studies regarding a "wing man" or 2 person team on a sales call?

1. Shock to the prospects system or any intimidation factor when 2 people show up for the appointment?

2. Trainees - Best to: A) Role-play in house - then send them off on their own or B) Bring them along for actual live sales presentations?

Thanks,
blue

Edit: Just realized this is a bit off topic... hijacking your thread was not my intention, Steve. - by bluenote
I have done some research into 2 man approach, the latest was with an International Engineering Consultancy firm, one that improves efficiency through process - they have 65 consultants/engineers now and ZERO sales people (this will change if we get our proposal through).

Anyway, my dad was generating new business for them - phone prospecting. He was working with a former V.P. of Sales, a man who was let go eventually. And they sent an engineer (again, they call them consultants) with this so-called sales pro. The two man approach proved NOT to work well.

Previous studies showed that a 2 man approach was far less effective, why send 2 to do the job of one? It is completely obvious.

I could go on and on about this topic. The end result of it is simple, and I am sure every true professional sales representative feels the same; I do not require the assistance of another sales rep nor an engineer nor anything else in order to understand the benefits of my product or service and to uncover needs that my prospect's organization/firm/company may have that we can satisfy/address to their benefit.

Sending anyone with me is a waste of that person's time because they are not going to get even a single opportunity to capture the attention of the prospect.

Complex sales are not different. I did a presentation to a board last Friday, there were 14 people in the room, one was a secretary/recorder, one was a figurehead of an associaiton and one was a supplier. In other words, eleven of them mattered.

Of the 11 more than half addressed questions to me, legal matters, technology related, marketing related and common sense. I did not require anyone's help to answer questions about legalities both sides of the border, about technology (cutting edge stuff), about the latets marketing ideas and even common sense about whther the telephone awas dead as a tool for generating business as those foolish people would try to make you beleive who are selling online markeing (never knock the competition). Complexity of the sale is not relevant - you either know you stuff or you are an amateur, PERIOD.

Now, if you are new in an organizationyou might need help. Not to uncover needs but to understand some of the knowledge ...

I hope this addresses things for you and others. The bottomline is if that sales rep cannot get it done alone fire em. We can't afford to waste the time of two people to do one person's job! - by Gold Calling
Personally, I am concerned that today's buyer is too smart and too well versed to be 'closed' anymore. I don't want to 'close' a sale and I know as a customer I don't want to be 'sold to'. I want to know that a relationship has been formed. That a problem is being solved. But I don't want to do it in any way that I can go back to my cronies and tell them about the technique I used to 'close the sale'

I almost always ask a prospect "This looks like it's what you were looking for. What do you think about us doing business together? Is this the solutions you'd like use?"

From here, I either get a 'yes' or I get a 'No, becasue I - "

I suppose it's the same as what we are talking about all thru this thread...but having names for the closes and techniques for each one jsut strikes me as....I dunno...a little smarmy. Don't get me wrong, I've been in sales for 20 years, so I know it all work (most of the time). But I think buyers are smart enough to see most of these 'techniques' a mile away... - by Defmall
We just closed a $1,700 sale and the process is revealing. A niece introduced my wife to her son-in-law's mom and dad saying they needed to hear about our products. The reason they needed to hear about our products was because of their daughter with a need our product could address.

My wife spoke with them, got the information she needed, and asked if their daughter was truly looking for what we could offer. They assured her she was looking.

The next step was contacting the daughter which she did and finding out if your parents were right. That was established with a couple of questions with the daughter saying, "I want that." and from that point on our system for closing a deal was a step-by-step process of finding out more specifically what was expected of her - her conditions of satisfaction - and what we could deliver.

As this relationship developed she was given more information as were the parents who were going to be an active part of the purchase and in ten days the sales was fully closed.

A couple of things made this a closed deal from the start. One was an assurance from the beginning that these people were already sold on finding a product and all we had to do was show them our product could deliver what they wanted.

So the need and want to was there. All we had to do was validate the products could deliver what they wanted which we told them from he start we could do.

Closing in this situation began with the first meeting with the parents then the daughter and everything else was confirming mutual agreements and understandings.
MitchM - by MitchM
I almost always ask a prospect "This looks like it's what you were looking for. What do you think about us doing business together? Is this the solutions you'd like use?"

From here, I either get a 'yes' or I get a 'No, becasue I - "

I suppose it's the same as what we are talking about all thru this thread...but having names for the closes and techniques for each one jsut strikes me as....I dunno...a little smarmy. Don't get me wrong, I've been in sales for 20 years, so I know it all work (most of the time). But I think buyers are smart enough to see most of these 'techniques' a mile away...
"Is this a solution you'd like to use?" is a direct question close. You can think that terminology is "smarmy" if you like, but that's exactly the close you used.

Did it work? If so, you've used a sales technique, like it or not.

Tennis players use backhands, accounts use accrual accounting, surgeons use skalpels...why are some salespeople so afraid to use sales skills? - by Skip Anderson
"Tennis players use backhands, accounts use accrual accounting, surgeons use skalpels...why are some salespeople so afraid to use sales skills?" -- Skip

I've thought about that same question many times because I know my success is the result of skills I've learned - everyone's the same in that regard. So why not define closes?

What I've learned, Skip, is that often it's a bent of mind or way of thinking and isn't that important to the end result. What do I mean? Some people can learn and memorize closing sales skills each with a different name and approach and still not be successful for many reasons. Others will be successful.

Likewise, many very successful people - I can name a dozen distributors in my company all quarter million to half million dollar yearly income earners - have a different right brain left brain middle brain or whatever brain is the most recent pc on brain functionality and just not want to think in terms of the name and definition of what works for them. They just do it.

So Person A makes millions and has an organized list of names and definitions for sales closing skills and Person B makes millions - change millions to thousands it's the same - and they both make sales and make money.

What we teach and train our network of distributors to do is to learn the skills and whatever they call them we don't care as long as they work.

I'm sure there are other perspectives on Skip's question which don't confute one other just differ in how people see things. Good question for discussion, Skip!

Just make sales.

MitchM - by MitchM
Complexity of the sale is not relevant - you either know you stuff or you are an amateur, PERIOD.
I agree with Gold Calling's post and the summarization above. In most cases of "double-teaming" on calls, the strength of the interview is lessened, deferring to the weaker part of the team. - by Ace Coldiron
Ace;

Really, the only reasons for two people on a call is to teach or to monitor development of a sales rep. We teach by example, meaning the person learning is the fly on the wall - saying nothing. We monitor improvement or bad habits in a managerial role by ourselves being the fly on the wall .

Other than for these two reasons the 2nd rep, the one not talking in any sales situation, could be producing business instead of wasting time.

What I am trying to say is; there really should never be an instance where both reps in an 2-on1 call are talking ...unless we are saying that one cannot do the job. If you can, if you are a pro or a manger that is advising sales people ... why would it be necessary for two to do one person's work?

It is inefficient.

One of the most memorable closes I had was a situation where the prospect indicated a buying signal, then he wanted to pay for the service in two post dated payments, asking me a direct question. As it happened, I had occasion where my father was with me, a rarity in my professional life. All I said was "No!"

Then I shut up. It took the lawyer who was the client to be a full 5 minutes of personal diliberation to agree and go forward.

Of course, there had been a closing question before. The negotiation lasted for one question and my one word response, which was delivered after a moment of looking the lawyer direct in the eye. It was the non verbal communications that got the fear-of-loss close to work in this case.

I am not sure what you call that ... the pregnant pause close? Seriously, silence is, without a doubt, the greatest tool in the sales person's arsenal, there isn't even a close 2nd!

Happy hunting. - by Gold Calling
When I had a patch, we would frequently make 2-man calls in the following situations:
1. when a peer requested help he'd ask another SR to come in on a 2nd call (where he'd hit a brickwall in the first with a competitive situation, tricky financing, etc.);
2. when the #'s were off and we didn't want management to take action, we'd work together to ensure that "WE weren't the problem" ... this also ensured that you were in the patch from 9-to-5 throughout the dip in business;
3. on blitz days, we'd take out exec's from H.O.;

As the sale got more complicated, 2-man calls were frequently used to shorten the cycle:
1. when an SE could do a site visit in advance to deflect or diminish the urgent need later in the cycle;
2. where the president could "massage" the pricing/terms to ensure a quick TAT on both parties;
3. when an alliance partner was involved and their expertise was fundamental to the ultimate offering (eg. engineering firm to introduce computer vision in steel mill environments);

Or, when a long PPT presentation was required to get the minutiae tabled, a 2nd presenter ensured the client's prolonged attention ... my gas BBQ joke isn't always effective on stage!

On the topic of closes: again, I'm seeing that people (in the thread), who are earning commission balking at the concept of using a close. I'm developing a rash!

Asking for the order is what we do for a living and our customers expect it. If you're not sure (I'm repeating from another thread here), ask the customer if they sell a product or service. Then, follow it with, "...so, much like my time here with you, you have SR's in the field talking to your prospects, right?" Then ask, "how would your P&L look if your SR's didn't/couldn't/wouldn't ask for the order?"

If you are waiting for the customer to say 'yes' or 'where do I sign to have this' ... you'd better be selling gold for $40/oz!! There's simply too much "noise out there" for you to assume that the conclusion will come naturally from your prospect. If this is your approach and it works 'X %' of the time, you need to ask yourself if your sales would have been higher if you'd asked a real closing question.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
If you are waiting for the customer to say 'yes' or 'where do I sign to have this' ... you'd better be selling gold for $40/oz!! ==Pat

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

Did a bell go off in your head when you read that line?

There you go again Pat (outsource sales), proving your sales maturity once again. I wish I had hard numbers from a study showing exactly how many extra sales good closers get just by asking ... let alone mastering 7 or 10 different closes, but it is significant. Grey Haired closers like Pat and myself just know the importance of closing skills, therefore there's no need not track it.

The "New Age" idea that you have to worry that you will not get a sale later because you closed or attemtped a close is more indicative of the fact that "you" have not learned how to close properly. In which case, this premise is right, you will piss people off.

But if you can do stuff like what Pat just explained, there is never a need to feel uncomfortable asking for an order and a way to make the prospect calm down when you do and they are offended in some small way. Read it again;

...so, much like my time here with you, you have SR's in the field talking to your prospects, right?" Then ask, "how would your P&L look if your SR's didn't/couldn't/wouldn't ask for the order?"
Replace "would your P&L look" (profit and loss) with "would your profit be affected" if you like, either way a business owner will get this.

great stuff. - by Gold Calling
question for Gold Calling.
The original thread you place in the mind of a client that you could do underhanded things.Such as forging a referal.Why would you place doubt in the mind of a client that you may not be honest and trustworthy?

As soon as I read that I was concerned if your willing to cheat on a referal what else is not straight forward.I understand referals take up valuable time to research and you have more pressing issues. Why not leave it at that?

I know each sales situation is different.That point is a known or given fact to all sales technicians and that each sales opportunity needs an adaptable sales technique that is applicable.
Wouldn't you agree that we as sales technicians can talk to much which throws doubt into the clients mind? - by rich34232
By the way I enjoy and agree with the majority of your messages and know they provide helpful hints to become better as a person and professional - by rich34232
Gold Calling
I tend to advocate the use of direct closes. As its called 'closing' I think you should ask a closed question.
That said I also think that the sales person needs to understand the customer's behaviour in order to assess the best question to ask. A customer that has demonstrated apprehensive / indecisive behaviour will probably find it quite hard to make a big decision on the spot, so lessening the decision by maybe using a minor point / alternative close can often be useful.
What I have been finding for some time out there is that lots of customers (particularly business customers) have become professional buyers and know when they're having tactics used on them. Lots of them become resistant. - by marky
Gold Calling
I tend to advocate the use of direct closes. As its called 'closing' I think you should ask a closed question.
That said I also think that the sales person needs to understand the customer's behaviour in order to assess the best question to ask. A customer that has demonstrated apprehensive / indecisive behaviour will probably find it quite hard to make a big decision on the spot, so lessening the decision by maybe using a minor point / alternative close can often be useful.
What I have been finding for some time out there is that lots of customers (particularly business customers) have become professional buyers and know when they're having tactics used on them. Lots of them become resistant.
I mostly agree with you, marky, I'm an advocate of a direct sales close via closed questions, but also recognize the effectiveness of other closing tactics.

And, I can tell you sales resistance is alive and well in the B2C market as well! What a salesperson does leading up to closing will help determine the degree of sales resistance once the salesperson/prospect arrive at "closing time," imo.

Skip - by Skip Anderson
Closing is a natural conclusion to a sales process which includes a flow of minor and major agreements between the salesperson and the prospect. If a "tactic" has to be used to effect the conclusion, the flow was lacking or inconsistent. A "Great" close is invisible and has less entertainment value for discussion than some of the "tactical" closes. - by Ace Coldiron
"Mr. Client, before you go and I ask you a question? Just to make sure I didn't mis-interpret what you said when we first met, this was the type of vehicle you were looking for right? So if it isn't the car then, I must have done something to upset you, and I am sorry, let me go get another sales consultant to help you" (As long as you have built your raport correctly, then the should stop you at this point and tell you it's not you) "Well Mr. Client, if its not the car, and its not me, then what is it?" It should flush out the objection and you can then use the conditional close


Conditional Close
"Mr. Client, besides fitting this into your monthly budget, is there any other reason we can not get this deal done today?" This close does one of two things. First it ensures that there is only one objection to worry about, and second shows if the objection is resolved that you can proceed with the sale.
- by jrboyd
I am sorry, this is an 1870 words essay, my apology.

question for Gold Calling.
The original thread you place in the mind of a client that you could do underhanded things.
Did I? Interesting!!!

I said "references can be forged", how is that an indication that I forge them? Look at my site, I have a slew of top notch references (including from this website). Are you sayign that I forged Jeff Blackwell's letter or Skip Anderson's? Go and have a look for yourself.

I assure you, when I am on a sales call (or involved in sales training) the buyer (or students) can HEAR what we call RING OF TRUTH in my voice, the problem with scripts in a forum is you can't hear the intonation or sincerity nor see the look on a face ... something they do hear and see.

You know, perhaps the best way to deal with your post, Rich, is to take a whole different approach. Assume I am your coach for a moment and we are on the phone … I say; “Practice this statement; ‘After all, it is possible for references to be forged.’

Then I suggest you try saying it as a slimy underhanded sales person. After that, I suggest you try saying it with complete honesty and sincerity (as I hope you talk to all your prospects) … if you sit here while reading this thread and do just that, speaking out loud ... did the second way not just sound like a statement of fact as apposed to something that would only come out of the mouth of an underhanded, slimy unprofessional excuse for a sales rep?

To really emphasis this, let’s say I was still a sales coach on the phone and I went on; “Now say it with this in front of that last statement ... ‘Mr./MS. Buyer, I am sure you do your due diligence well, that you buy very carefully. That much I can see clearly. And I want to help you make the best decision for your company, knowing that you would not ask for references if you were not truly interested.’"

Now ... as I started this thread and did not really put as serious an effort into the script as I am in this post ... as I usually do ... that I did not do as good a job in setting up the script as I would wish to if I always had the time ... let me say; my main goal was to be a catalyst for a thread.

Anyway, now we could add to that SET UP STATEMENT ... I will repeat in burgundy that part, add another lead in between in blue, then (in green) tack on the closing question ... here goes;

"Mr./MS. Buyer, I am sure you do your due diligence as well as anyone, that you buy very carefully for your company. That much I can see clearly. And I want to help you make the best decision for your company, knowing that you would not ask for references if you were not truly interested ... <don't pause>

To that end, we can further guarantee that your company will get the value promised, not by providing references, because after all, it is possible for references to be forged ... <don't pause> but by another method that would ensure in your mind beyond any doubt that we are able to deliver the promised values, would you allow me to explain how?

They always will ... go on;

What I propose is we begin. That we start providing the service I have described, then you will see exactly how we fulfill all that is promised and then some and, if you like this approach, you have the benefit of trying us out without
signing a contract that locks you in receiving nor even an invoice until you are 100% satisfied with what we provided! Would that no risk offer be enough for you to begin reaping the benefits of our partnership right away?"

I have been doing this stuff for a long time ... so long in fact that if I am not doing it live I don't get the juice. And if I don't FEEL IT ... well, the delivery is better when the heat is on. And, clearly, questioning my integrity turned up the heat, as the above and below surely prove.

Anyway, the above is a superior example of what I was intending to share.

Gold Calling
I tend to advocate the use of direct closes. As its called 'closing' I think you should ask a closed question.
As for closing, the definition of closing is any question the answer to which confirms that you have the order.

By that definition, it cannot be an open ended question. I am not sure how I created that confusion in this thread and don't intend to spend more time reading and reading to see where the misunderstanding began.

... I also think that the sales person needs to understand the customer's behavior in order to assess the best question to ask. A customer that has demonstrated apprehensive / indecisive behavior will probably find it quite hard to make a big decision on the spot ...
Yes, you would not try my CLOSE on someone who was not at the stage in the sale that they were in agreement/acceptance (I like the latter word better) of the benefits of your product or service. In a case where someone is unsure, you would not close at all, you would try and find out what they are unsure of or uncover additional needs/pain that the benefits of your product or service apply to until they saw the great value you offer!

If you are dealing with a straight up nervous person, that is different. A person who has a tendency to be a nervous wreck … well, it does not matter how you word the close really. All you can do is try. But this only after you have exhausted the effort of uncovering what they need and showing them how you provide for those needs (or eliminate PAIN if you like).

What I have been finding for some time out there is that lots of customers (particularly business customers) have become professional buyers and know when they're having tactics used on them. Lots of them become resistant.
This premise, which you bring up about a BUYER knows too much or knows what you are doing is the worst assumption in salesmanship. It is the single worst drawback of the Internet without exception (at least as far as sales is concerned) - the widespread of useless information that can pass for common sense until thoroughly examined.

In the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s a great trainer used to ask; “Are you good enough to do this one?” The older and more experienced I became, the more I respected/respect this position. And the point is this;

If the buyer feels you are using a technique it means you are not practiced/skilled enough in the proper use of that technique.

Take this thread. The first example that I used of closing based on the GUARANTEE of no charge without satisfaction, it was poorly typed out. And anyone using it exactly the way it was written ought to expect the buyer to look at ‘em kinda funny.

Yet this close it alive and very well, actively being used daily in the consulting industry and at the highest levels. British Airways Baggage Handling at Heathrow (the world’s largest Baggage Handling facility) is an example of a company that had this presented and found it to be a perfect solution.

As a result of that close millions of pounds (dollars) were saved!

If the BUYER can for instance be aware of closes, like THE DOOR KNOB CLOSE or the GUARANTEE CLOSE (the one I shared), this means that they are spending way to much time studying salesmanship, which is not what they do. In fact, what we are saying is people are intuitive, they don’t know more today about salesmanship, they sense what does not sound natural and always have.

Now, clearly, this is enough of a subject that it can be done in a thread all by itself. But … I can’t leave this issue without a wake up call of sorts for all of us that dare to call ourselves professionals (never mind MASTERS of our profession).

If they sense you are not natural, this means you are not good enough at the use of a technique. It is not the buyer that is at issue, it is YOU.

Suck this into your brain … J. Douglas Edwards is rolling in his grave (right now), because you are not good enough. In reality, the question he asked first some 60 years ago is even more pertinent today (now that free and mostly useless information is being circulated online).

People use other methods of putting us off today, granted. And that means we have had to adapt to the request to send information by email or the request for viewing a website. And we could argue that they “know more” about our company because of the website, granted once again. But do they know more about selling and even if they did would it matter?

In recent times I have not bothered to study buyers to see what it is they know because I have never found one that what I did put them off. Maybe I had bad breath and they said nothing … but this is not what I mean and I know you know it.

We need to get real … really fast. Our generation is so full of its own self importance that they think the human race has progressed within the last couple of decades more than they did in several thousand years of recorded history. Baloney!

Astute business people have always sensed the way you delivered a close or a probe as being unnatural, some will ignore it, because they are only truly interested in what is in it for them, TRUST ME!

You might even find a buyer who will tell you that they are put off by sales techniques. What this really means is they are put off by you not being good enough.

Damn.

I wrote a very long post about this … about human values … about how our core values of our belief systems are not even our own thoughts … how they get established. In part bad salesmanship is to blame for this theory, that buyers know what we are doing. But in a larger part our own self importance and core values are to blame. It is a n all too coming thought – like COMMON SENSE.

The issue with common sense is it is common. Is it common to find top producing sales people, in other words; are we in the majority? No. And those of us who are top producers, are we sensing anything different about buyers today than we did 30 years ago (other than technology and the use of it)…. umm, sorry, we aren’t.

Are we less capable? Are you saying that this hip guy who rocked out major music festivals has lost part of his senses and can’t tell that buyers are different or can we just draw the conclusions that are in line with this post in this very interesting thread?

Buyers know more. Okay.

Buyers sense what we are doing … GOOD! That makes it easier for us to do it.

If you don’t fully comprehend that last statement then you are misinterpreting my meaning, it is not that we think so very differently, it is that you have gotten way off track. Buyers need us to communicate at an elevated level. They need us to help them understand how it is we can provide a better product or service than the competition or how we can solve problems in their company. And just because we ask OPEN and CLOSED PROBES – in other words use communication techniques – it does not mean that this is offensive, we are after all only helping them.

I am offended by the suggestion that sales techniques are anything other than what is required at that moment in time to help a qualified prospect understand what is in it for him or her to go with our recommendation. - by Gold Calling
One of my closings:

"Mr Smith, we will be in your area installing cable, next Monday and Tuesday. What is a good time from for you, the afternoon or morning?"

This is the assumed close. This is my quick version of it. Quick and right to the point. This has worked for me for years, especially in cold calling, specifically door-to-door sales. You will need your confidence in order to master what I just wrote. - by Jumpman
Personally, I am concerned that today's buyer is too smart and too well versed to be 'closed' anymore. I don't want to 'close' a sale and I know as a customer I don't want to be 'sold to'. I want to know that a relationship has been formed. That a problem is being solved. But I don't want to do it in any way that I can go back to my cronies and tell them about the technique I used to 'close the sale'

I almost always ask a prospect "This looks like it's what you were looking for. What do you think about us doing business together? Is this the solutions you'd like use?"

From here, I either get a 'yes' or I get a 'No, becasue I - "

I suppose it's the same as what we are talking about all thru this thread...but having names for the closes and techniques for each one jsut strikes me as....I dunno...a little smarmy. Don't get me wrong, I've been in sales for 20 years, so I know it all work (most of the time). But I think buyers are smart enough to see most of these 'techniques' a mile away...


People too smart to be closed? Hmm, I KNOW thats not true.

If people were too smart then why do people do stupid things STILL? - by cs80918
"Tennis players use backhands, accounts use accrual accounting, surgeons use skalpels...why are some salespeople so afraid to use sales skills?" -- Skip

I've thought about that same question many times because I know my success is the result of skills I've learned - everyone's the same in that regard. So why not define closes?

What I've learned, Skip, is that often it's a bent of mind or way of thinking and isn't that important to the end result. What do I mean? Some people can learn and memorize closing sales skills each with a different name and approach and still not be successful for many reasons. Others will be successful.

Likewise, many very successful people - I can name a dozen distributors in my company all quarter million to half million dollar yearly income earners - have a different right brain left brain middle brain or whatever brain is the most recent pc on brain functionality and just not want to think in terms of the name and definition of what works for them. They just do it.

So Person A makes millions and has an organized list of names and definitions for sales closing skills and Person B makes millions - change millions to thousands it's the same - and they both make sales and make money.

What we teach and train our network of distributors to do is to learn the skills and whatever they call them we don't care as long as they work.

I'm sure there are other perspectives on Skip's question which don't confute one other just differ in how people see things. Good question for discussion, Skip!

Just make sales.

MitchM

I understand what you are saying, I have observed very successful sales people who couldn't articulate what they are doing, because they just do it. However; being a student of sales I observe them implementing various sales techniques and they don't even know their doing it. How do I know? Because I ask them and they don't have a clue about sales techniques.

Those people for whatever reason can just "do it", I am not one of those people. If I try to just "do it", I make all kinds of mistakes.

I must have clear objectives and I must constantly remind myself to do certain things, otherwise I will just keep on talking and many times talk myself out of a sale. - by cs80918
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