While technique is only a small percentage of the overall success triangle, there are a few tactics that I’ve learned through Sandler Sales Training over the last few years that really stand out. The best ones are logical, simple to implement and show staggering results as soon as you make a change.
For me, one of those techniques is something called “Closing the File.”
Closing the file involves doing exactly what it sounds like – coming to a final conclusion and moving on.
Here’s a perfect example of where this technique works:
I’ve been talking with a prospect for several months now. (We’ll call her Sandra.) We met through a referral, had a great initial conversation and first meeting. My confirmation of the decision-making process could have gone better; but overall, things seemed positive. At the end of the last conversation we had, we scheduled a follow up conversation for one week later; but then that call got pushed off because something came up. Ever since then, I’ve been in chase mode – which I swore I’d never do again!
Enter “Closing the File.”
I pick up the phone to call and get sent into voicemail again; then I leave a message that goes something like this:
“Good afternoon, Sandra. Sorry we’ve missed each other over the last few weeks. Listen, I’m getting the feeling that one of two things is happening here…either you’ve decided to go in a different direction or this project has just taken a back seat for now. Since I haven’t heard back in a while, I’m going to go ahead and ‘close the file’ for now. If you’ve gone in a different direction, that’s okay. Or, if you decide to resurrect it another time down the road, we can bring it back up then. Have a great rest of the day, and I’m sure I’ll see you around.”
BOOM! File closed.
I don’t have to worry about following up with Sandra any more; and she knows exactly where I stand. And it was all done very respectfully. I can keep her on my email list or other means of ongoing “drip” campaign, but I don’t have to stress out about calling or emailing or whatever else I might do to try to keep that thing alive!
Now, if she was just too busy to get back to me, this little phone call will kick her back into gear. She’ll call or email and apologize, explain how her mother got sick and she’s just been going crazy, etc. And, if I don’t hear back, I’ve saved myself all the heartache of wondering what’s going on.
While Sandler is not all about “sales techniques,” there are certainly a few that can have a huge impact on your success. If you’re stuck with a few prospects who are in hiding mode, go ahead a try “closing the file,” and see what happens. I promise you’ll feel better – and, at least from my experience, 75 percent of the time, you’ll get a call back.