It was now 4:30 on Friday afternoon, and it was the last day of the month. Tim had been trying to close the sale for the past two hours. If he closed, he’d not only meet his monthly quota, but earn a bonus. Tim was under a lot of pressure.
“So,” said Tim, “I probably shouldn’t tell you this . . . but I will.”
“Tell me what?” asked the prospect.
“Monday starts a new month, and I’ve been told that a 10% price increase goes into effect. If you sign now, I can ensure that you’ll get the price we’ve discussed.”
The prospect started laughing, and when he saw the look on Tim’s face, explained.
“Tim, I was in sales once. The ‘impending event’ close isn’t going to work on me. Let me ask you, if I show you the door, tell you to come back Monday, and then when you do come back, have a check written for today’s price, you’re going to refuse it?”
“Well . . .” began Tim.
“Please, Tim, don’t try to pressure me because it won’t work. Every insurance salesperson in the country has beaten that close to death.”
“Well, if you add up the pluses and minuses . . . ” stammered Tim.
“That’s the Ben Franklin. And it’s as old as Ben Franklin. Tell you what Tim, give me a call next week sometime.”
Not every prospect knows the name of the closing techniques salespeople use, but almost every prospect has been unmercifully subjected to the same techniques over and over and over.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, familiarity breeds contempt. That’s what you are facing when you try the tried-and-true closing techniques. Prospect contempt.
When you get to the point where you want to ask the prospect if he is going to buy or not, ask the following question without changing a single word: “What would you like me to do now?”
Then wait until you get a response. Wait no matter how long it takes. What you hear will amaze you.
Prospects may not know the name of the closing line, but they are aware that the closing lines are used by hundreds, if not thousands, of salespeople. But these well-worn closings still work. Why change?
First, prospects become either consciously or unconsciously suspicious when they hear the standard closing lines. Using the standard closing lines reminds the prospects that you are a salesperson who is trying to take their money. This reminder causes prospects to raise objections to the sale. Of course, you can answer the objections and try the close again. But wouldn’t it be better to do something that keeps prospects from coming up with objections?
Second, if your closing strategy is different from all the other salespeople the prospect has dealt with over the years, the prospect’s ability to automatically reject you and your product/service is greatly reduced. The likelihood of making the sale will increase.
List every closing line that you currently use. Once you have that list, imagine yourself in the last sales situation where one of those closing lines did not work. Now imagine yourself instead saying, “What would you like me to do now?”
Think about this. The answer is not “yes” or “no.” The prospect will be forced to come up with a statement. Unless the statement is some variation of “wrap it up,” take the statement and turn it into a question. For example, “I really like it, but the price is too high,” reflected back to the prospect becomes, “By ‘really like’ and ‘too high,’ you mean…?”
This approach keeps you in control of the sales situation by allowing you to end the meeting if you find the prospect is just “kicking tires.”
The goal of every salesperson should be to place the responsibility of closing the sale on the prospect.
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