There are a wide variey of closing techniques. Some of these are endlessly repeated in books on sales – it seems each author copies the previoius closes and perhaps adds one or two originals. I have collected as many as I could possibly find and then added a bunch of my own.
I am most defintiely NOT suggesting any specific closing technique. Some of are more effective than others. Some outrageously coercive. Some illegal. The purpose here is to make the serious student aware of the existing state of the art and perhaps to inspire to crate new methods for field testing.
They can be grouped in categories as follows:
1. Will you buy? What can possibly be simpler, just ask (and then shut up!)
2. Ask Again. Answer objection, ask if there are any other concerns, then ask for order again (repeat steps as needed).
3. What will it take? To earn your business? Get an order today? Get you to switch to us?
4. Silent. “Is this what you wanted?” “Are we all set?” Then say nothing.
5. Sold Yourself? Simply ask “have you sold yourself yet?”
6. Invitational. Invite prospect to buy. “Why not give us a try. Why don’t you take it? When would you like it delivered?”
7. Delivery in your Area. Call all customers in a given area and say ‘we have a truck in your area tomorrow, is there anything we can put on it for you?
8. Probability. “On a 1 to 10 scale with 10 meaning you are ready to order, where are we now?” Then “what would it take to get a 10?”
9. Alternate Vendor. Ask to try you out as an alternate or backup vendor.
10. Trial Offer. Ask to try you out on one order, or for limited time.
11. Sell Twice. After order, ask if they would also like (a specific item) as well.
12. Jimmy Kimmel Close. Ask enough prospects to buy and one is bound to say yes.
Assume the Sale
1. Classic Assumption. “I’ll ring it up for you.” This is actually a relief to most prospects since they are not forced to explicitly decide.
2. Order Signing. Simply hand order form to prospect and ask for okay at the bottom.
3. Order Form. Fill out as you go along, then show prospect and ask if correct, then ask for OK. Works great for reorders.
4. Calendar. Take out calendar and give options for delivery, install, training, etc. dates asking which would be most convenient.
5. Ignore No Answer. Pretend you didn’t hear a no and proceed with order write up (ask any six year old how this one works).
6. Prescription. Based on what you have told me, you need . . . Write it up and sign.
7. Action. Start calling people to schedule things, go to stockroom and get product, ask where prospect is parked, walk with prospect to inspect where you will install, etc.
8. Sick of Shopping. “I’ll bet you’re happy now that you don’t have to waste your valuable time shopping anymore.” Write it up.
9. Congratulations! “Congratulations! You just found the best deal anywhere.” Shake prospect’s hand vigorously and smile a lot. Write it up.
10. Lucky. “Boy are you lucky! You now have the best _________ anywhere.”
1. This Or That? “Would you like the brown suit or the blue?” “Cash or charge?”
2. Choice of Three. People tend to get confused and procrastinate when faced with too many options. Select three and ask which they prefer. Note that with choices in order of increasing price, the middle option is considered safest is most likely to be selected.
1. If I, Will You? “If I can reduce the price by $X, will you buy today?” “If I can get it to you by next week, can you order now?” “If I throw in (an option) for free?”
2. Wedding Cake. Instead of asking for all of prospect’s business, ask for just a slice, drawing a picture of a cake on note pad.
3. Compromise. Let’s compromise, instead of 10, start with 5.
4. Sales Contest. Say you will give special deal since you almost qualify for prize.
5. What will it Take? Ask “what it will take,” or “Is it the price?”
1. Benjamin Franklin. Explain history, tell prospect you will list all reasons to buy, then he can list why not. The longest list decides the question.
2. Criteria For Ordering. List of all considerations for order like price, service, delivery, reliability, warranty, etc. Get prospect to agree which are important. Show how you meet each point and ask for order.
3. Options Lost. List benefits they will lose by waiting like monthly specials, delay in delivery, gain for month not using product, etc.
4. Objectives Checklist. During demo, list prospect’s objectives. At end, hand to him and ask to rank order of importance. Review how all were (hopefully) met and ask for order.
5. Order Form. Say “you have decided to get . . .” while going over each item, point by point. At end instruct prospect to authorize at X.
6. Summary. List all major features and benefits discussed during presentation, get point by point agreements, and then ask for order.
7. Balance Sheet. Calculate financial advantages of buying versus not buying. Also can compare prices or advantages to competition.
1. Happy Customer Story. “So & So Company wanted to wait too, then they decided to buy and are now happy because…”
2. Endorsement. So & So wanted to wait, then they were glad they bought, let’s call him so you can ask him yourself, or show testimonial letter.
1. Fear. Better buy (insurance) now before something bad happens.
2. Scarcity. “This is the last one in stock, maybe you should get it now?”
3. Price Increase. “You can wait if you want, but price will increase next week.”
4. X Marks The Spot. Hand order form to prospect with X clearly marked, say you will be back in a few minutes, and leave room for awhile. When you return, if not signed, give pen, wait, and shut up.
5. Long Walk. Say that you are going to leave for 10 minutes so prospect can consider offer. This obligates him to consider now and give an answer.
6. Say Yes & Wait. If a prospect says no because your price is higher, say “yes it is” and shut up. Wait for prospect to suggest reason, like “I suppose you will tell me your quality is higher.” Then say “yes it is” and shut up.
7. Phone the Boss. For a verified final objection, ask to use phone to call your boss, if boss agrees ask if prospect will order now if you meet his terms.
8. Coffee Pot. Serve coffee that’s too hot to drink, prospect has to hang around, feels obligated to buy.
9. You’ve got to be Kidding. If prospect stalls, act like you are going to leave, ask who you might call on who could use product, write down referrals, then say “you’ve got to be kidding, you consider my product good enough for your friends but you won’t buy?” Then review why he should buy now.
10. Indecision. If prospect stalls, quote Colin Powell “Indecision costs us billions, much more than wrong decisions.” Review benefits and ask for decision.
11. Big Gun. Bring your boss in to impress prospect and help close.
12. Sharp Angle. Regardless of objection, ask if you can meet demand, will he buy?
13. Sales Book. Show part of a sales book which says that wanting to wait means not saying what real objection or concern is, then ask what it is.
14. Provocative Statement. Make bold statement like”‘I’m not sure you can afford our product,” or “I need a serious offer to take to my boss.” Goal is to get them to prove they are serious, can afford it, aren’t playing games, and so on.
15. Negative. Act like you don’t need the business, let them sell you.
16. Loaded Yes. Phrase question so prospect must say yes, “you do want faster performance don’t you?” Repeat and assume order with affirmative response.
17. Sign and Take. Acknowledge he won’t buy, ask him to sign order form but keep and take with him to remind later how he passed up great opportunity.
18. Little Mistake vs. Big Mistake. Buying smoke detector is a little mistake if you never need it, but not buying can be a big mistake!
19. I Need Your Business. Just say it, and ask for order again!
20. Can you Qualify? They have to sell you, like when you have other bids for a house, medical history for health insurance, or whether they can get in to your school, club, etc. Classic reverse psychology, people want what they can’t have.
21. Five Yeses. Ask 4 questions that rely on information already obtained (needs or preferences, always will elicit a yes) followed by a 5th assumptive closing question such as “will delivery tomorrow afternoon around 3 pm work for you?”
22. Peer Pressure. “Everyone else has one, you don’t want to be left out do you?”
23. Sudden Death. Hand customer order form and tell him either it’s a good idea and he ought to go ahead and buy, or it’s not a good idea and he ought to forget it!
24. Higher Authority. “You may not know it, but your boss (or other managers) really likes our product.”
25. If Free? Ask “what if it were free?” to try and force prospect to reveal real objection.
26. Vanity. “Your friends will be so jealous when they see you in your new car!”
27. You’re Not One of Those, Are You? During presentation state how you like dealing with professionals who are decisive and don’t procrastinate.
28. Guilt. “You had me drive all the way here and spend all this time showing you the product and now you aren’t going to buy, (or make a decision)? Also, “don’t you owe it to your family to have enough life insurance?”
29. Beg. Plead again and again while you weep miserably. Pictures of the kids and a dog (preferably thin and scraggly, kids too) helps a lot here.
30. Pity. Say you will be fired if you don’t get order, and then ask directions to a bridge or high building.
31. Fraud. Ship unordered product with an invoice. Who knows, maybe they won’t notice and will pay you. On second thought, just mail the invoice.
32. Forgery. Just steal one of prospect’s checks and forge his signature.
33. Tantrum. “Jump up and down and threaten to hold your breath unless he buys!”
34. Threat. “If you don’t sign I will shoot you” (then show a gun)! Tell em Don Corleone sent you. Smile is optional ;).
99. Satirical. I hope you realize I’m being satirical. Or am I?
1. Taking Responsibility. If prospect says no, say ‘I blew it, I sincerely believe this offer is good for you, I must not have done a good job, where did I go wrong?’ When he tells you objection, ask if you can correct your mistake.
2. Power of Suggestion. Plant suggestions that he will like product and buy during demo. At end, remind of suggested benefit and ask for order.
3. Demonstration. Before demo, ask if you can do (benefit), will he buy? Then prove it during demo.
4. Change Places. Tell prospect you don’t know what to do, what would he do if he was you right now?
5. Real Reason. If no, say that you know he is not going to buy, just before you leave ask ‘what is the real reason?’ Then apologize for not explaining and close.
6. Minor Point. Get approval on minor points, like color or size preferences, state that you can deliver it, and assume order.
7. Bigger Order. Assume prospect wants much more expensive item or larger quantity than you know he wants. When, or maybe if, he objects, suggest smaller more reasonable amount or quantity.
8. Obligation. “You sure are lucky to have such a great husband who will buy this for you . . .” obligates the husband big time.
9. Second Problem. When I got here you had one problem, now you have two, how to get rid of me. If I leave now you still have your original need. Let’s figure out how to solve it right now.
10. Follow the Leader. If prospect is status conscious, drop names of impressive customers.
11. No Callbacks. State, with conviction “I’m sorry, but I never make callbacks, I’m much too busy. While I’m still here, what haven’t I explained sufficiently for you to decide?”
12. Bandwagon. Tell prospect how busy you are and how you can’t keep up with demand from people wanting to see you! Everybody loves a winner.
13. Add-On. Proposing an inexpensive option or accessory. If prospect agrees to add-on, he agrees to buy main item. “Would you like a green tie to go with your new suit?”
14. Factual Question. Ask a question that when answered implies permission to complete order, such as “what’s todays date?,” or “what is the exact spelling of your last name?”
15. Puppy Dog. “Why not take it home and try it for a few days?”
16. Preference. Similar to classic assumption close, except using prefer, as in “would you prefer delivery Tuesday or Wednesday.
17. Reverse Psychology. As in “you don’t really want this car, do you?”
18. Ascending. Series of questions, from general (do you have a car now?) to specific (you said you like green, right?) each requiring a yes answer. Prospect gets so used to saying yes that it is hard to say no when you ask him to buy.
19. Columbo. Named after the famous disheveled TV detective. Pretend your going to leave, and just as you are stepping out the door, turn around and ask what’s the real reason he is not buying today. When you get an answer, say “I didn’t explain that? I’m sorry. Let me do it now . . .”
20. Gotta Go. I a hurry, would love to chat but I’ve gotta go do X. By the way, did you want to buy?
Some of the above closes are ingenious, some ridiculous, and some can be considered unethical. Any of them may work some of time, for some prospects, in certain situations. They can also backfire by coming across as manipulative, rude, and unprofessional.
Which closing technique will help you if, after two hours demonstrating your product, you find out the following from the prospect?
1. Prospect wants product but has recent bankruptcy and insufficient funds.
2. Prospect is not really the owner, but only the manager pretending to be the owner.
3. Prospect doesn’t understand what you have been talking about but was too meek, or polite, to interrupt.
4. Prospect doesn’t see what all this has to do with him?
5. Prospect says your product costs way too much?
Would you use the alternative close “do you prefer delivery Tuesday or Wednesday?” Will that make him buy? How about the Benjamin Franklin close “ I’ll list all the reasons you should buy . . . “ I don’t think so. Closing techniques will not make up for not finding out the customers situation, problems, desires, and goals. They will not make up for doing a disorganized, incomplete, disinterested, or boring demonstration.
The ideal situation is a fast yes at the end of your presentation. But sometimes you get a stall. Consider this scenario. You have just spent two hours establishing rapport, asking intelligent questions, and performing an outstanding exciting demonstration. You know the customer needs, can afford, and wants your product. He is authorized to make the decision himself right now. He says “You have done an excellent job explaining your product but I want to think it over. Why not give me a call next week?”
Which closing technique would you use now? I can see lots of possibilities. Many of the above closes could work. The point is that the proper use of closing techniques is to overcome a prospect’s stalling and indecision.
Use closing techniques to overcome stalling and indecision, not lack of selling skill and effort.
Many people find it difficult, almost painful, to make a decision. They expect and appreciate your making it easy for them.
For a sale to occur, the prospect must act. Before he will act, the prospect must feel a sense of urgency about changing and improving his situation. He will only do that when he feels pain associated with the present situation and sees a compelling solution in your product. The pain and solution are brought about by asking questions. And questions will only be answered fully and honestly if the prospect feels that you are going to act in his best interest. A certain rapport has to be established.
To make a sale, you have to ask for the order. Many don’t. Here are 10 reasons why sales reps don’t try to close:
1. Fear of failure
2. Rejection too emotionally painful
3. Too timid, not assertive, lack of self confidence
4. Lack of knowledge, training on closing techniques
5. Never occurred to them that they should overtly ask for the order
6. Don’t want to make waves, impose on ‘friends’, or pressure anybody
7. Not in a hurry to get order, can always come back
8. Don’t need sale, or commissions
9. Want to get fired to collect unemployment
10. Slide right past the close, customer already signed order, and is writing the check!!!
I like number 10, how about you? Let’s continue so we can learn how to make it happen!
Note: 94 closes are listed above – so far!