The Art Of Closing The Sales: Winning Closing Techniques II

02/03/2023by dang tin0


“The operative assumption is that someone, somewhere, has a better idea; and the operative compulsion is to find out who has that better idea, learn it, and put it into action fast.”  By Jack Welch

In selling, you must prospect, identify needs, present solutions, and answer objections. This is the “drive” part of selling. But it is only when you can step up to the plate, ask for the order, and close the sale that you actually make the “dough.”

Throughout sales history, merchants have used a variety of ways to help a customer make a buy ing decision. The closing techniques that we have discussed up to now, and those to come, are some of the simplest, most popular, and most powerful closing techniques ever developed. It is up to you to think them through and determine how you can use each one to sell more of your products or services.

Just as a great cook has mastered a large variety of recipes for different dishes, it is essential that you master a variety of closing techniques. You should be able to ask for the order at least ten different ways, depending upon the type of person you are selling to and the kind of objections you receive.

The Secondary Close

The secondary close, which is both easy to use and well-liked, involves your closing on a minor point in the sales presentation. If the prospect agrees to the minor point, he has, byextension, decided to buy the entire offer.
For example, if a person is considering buy ing a car, a refrigerator, a stove, or some other consumer durable, use a secondary close by asking, “Would you prefer this in blue or green?”
The color is a secondary issue. The purchase is the major issue. If the prospect says that he would prefer it in blue, he has decided to buy the entire product.


Another way to use the secondary close is to ask, “Would you like this delivered, or would you rather take it with you today ?” How the prospect takes delivery is the secondary issue. But bysay ing that he wants to take it with him today, he has made the decision to buy.

The secondary close is not a form of manipulation. Professional salespeople do not use tricks, games, or manipulation in the sales process. The secondary close merely helps the customer through the moment of indecision and stress that always accompanies a buy ing decision. By getting the prospect focused on a secondary issue, you make it easier for the prospect to make a buy ing decision. This is beneficial to both of you.


If the prospect is thinking of buy ing a car and cannot make up his mind, you could ask, “By the way, would you want this with the factory tires, or would you prefer Michelin radials?”
If the prospect says, “I would want the radial tires,” she has come to a decision.
You then say, “Well then, let’s get this written up and get the tires installed so that you can drive it away.”
Once the pressure of the buy ing decision has passed, which is achieved by focusing the prospect on the secondary issue, you simply go on to write up the details.

The Alternative Close

The alternative close is also helpful in overcoming the stress of making a buy ing decision. You can use it in a variety of ways. It involves giving a customer a choice between something and something else, rather than a choice between something and nothing.

Customers today are highly individualistic. They prefer to have choices rather than ultimatums. Instead of offering one product and asking, “Would you like to buy this?” offer an alternative way of buy ing the same product.

“Would you prefer the red one or the blue one?” “Would you rather take the large or the medium size?” “Would you like the deluxe or the regular?” Whichever the prospect chooses, he has made a buy ing decision.


If your product only offers a single choice, present an alternative method of pay ment or delivery. If you are selling a refrigerator, and the refrigerator only comes in white, say, “Do you need this delivered this week, or could we deliver it to you next week?” That way the customer is still being offered a choice.

If you are selling an intangible, such as a life insurance policy, you could ask, “Would you want this correspondence sent to your home address or to your office?” Whichever the customer chooses, the sale is closed.

The Assumption Close

The assumption close is a powerful way to maintain control of the sales process. Begin by asking a confirming question, such as, “Does this make sense to you so far?”
If the prospect says, “Yes, that sounds pretty good,” you then assume that the prospect has said yes to the sale. This is very important. You must act as if he has just said, “I’ll take it. What is the next step?”

“Well then, the next step is this . . .” Go on to describe the plan of action, what happens now. Take out your purchase order, contract, or agreement, and begin filling it out. “I will need your OK on this form. We will need a check for $1,250, and we will have this out to you by next Wednesday. How does that sound?” The prospect will almost always agree with you as you write up the paperwork. Wrap up the transaction quickly.


The power of the assumption close is that it enables you to keep control of the transaction. Once you’ve said, “Then the next step is this,” and have described the plan of action, the prospect has to either go along with you or give you another objection, which you are quite prepared to answer.

This is often called selling past the sale. Instead of discussing the purchase any further, you begin talking about ownership and enjoy ment. You direct the prospect’s attention toward taking possession of the product and what will happen at that time. The prospect’s focus is taken away from say ing yes or no and is focused on pay ment and delivery.


One way to sell past the sale is by asking, “Would you like this gift wrapped?” Or ask, “Would you like to pay for this with cash or a credit card?” Either question gives the prospect a chance to say yes to one of your proposed choices and allows you to close the sale smoothly.


A simple way to use the assumption close at the end of a presentation is by pulling out your pen, glancing briefly at the prospect, and asking, “What is your correct mailing address?” Then pose over the sales contract, prepared to write it down.

You will notice in a movie or a stage play that the conclusion is very carefully planned. It is not left to chance. It does not simply “happen” toward the end of the show. It is deliberately designed for maximum impact at exactly the right moment. By the same token, you must plan your method of closing the same way. When you come to the close, you must know exactly what you are going to do and then just switch into the close exactly as you would shift gears in your car as you drove
down the street.

The Take-Away Close

The take-away close is a powerful way of getting the vacillating prospect to make a decision. It is a variation of the “selling past the sale close,” or the “assumption close.”

When the prospect has heard your presentation and obviously likes your offer, but cannot seem to make a decision, you preemptively halt the presentation and say, “Oh, just a minute. Before we go any further, let me check and make sure that we still have this product available in our warehouse.”

In retail settings, the clerk will often say, “Let me check and make sure that we have this in your size [or in that color].”
When you come to the close, you must know exactly what you are going to do and then just switch into the close exactly as you would shift gears in your car as you drove down the street.

If the prospect allows you to phone the warehouse or go back into the stockroom to see if the item is still in stock or if they have the right size or color, she has unconsciously decided to buy. Once you confirm that the item is available, immediately assume the sale and begin filling out the order form.


A variation of the take-away close is when you stop at the end of the presentation and say, “Let me check with my manager and see if we can arrange immediate delivery. Can you wait here for a second?” If the prospect says, “Sure, go ahead,” the decision is already made.

You can make this even more impactful bysay ing, “Why don’t you come with me to see my manager, and let’s see if we can’t . . .” If the prospect gets up and follows you, he plans to buy.


The take-away close is used on people all the time, especially when they are shopping for clothes. The person is looking at an article of clothing, but can’t seem to make up his or her mind one way or the other. The salesperson then says, “Just a minute. Before we go any further, let me check and make sure we have it in your size.”

In selling hard goods, especially cars, the salesperson will often say, “We are almost sold out of this model; it is so popular. Let me check and make sure we can get this model in the color you want. Can you wait here for a second?”
If the prospect says, “Yes, by all means,” she has made up her mind to buy the car if you have it or can get it.


Sometime ago, I was selling my house. The economy was soft, and the number of buyers able to purchase a house in that price range was limited. I was asking $275,000.
I got an offer for $240,000. The prospective purchaser thought he could get my house at a lower price because of the softness of the market.

Just before I had to make a decision on whether or not to accept his price, another prospective buyer appeared. Before he had even seen my house, the new client said that if he liked it, he would make an offer immediately.
We went back to the first purchaser and made a counteroffer of $255,000. We told him that we had a second buyer coming to see the house, and if this first buyer did not agree to the counteroffer, we would sell it immediately to the other buyer at the higher offer that we expected to get.

The night before the second buyer saw the house, the first prospective buyer phoned up and closed the deal at $255,000. It turned out later that the second buyer wasn’t willing to pay that much, but the thought of losing the sale, having it taken away, triggered the first buyer into raising his offer and closing the deal. This sort of sale takes place all the time.

Sometimes people do not know how much they want a product or service until you suggest that they may not be able to get it. At times, it is only when you threaten to take it away that theystep up and make a buying decision. Sometimes people do not know how much they want a product or service until you suggest that they may not be able to get it. At times, it is only when you threaten to take it away that theystep up and make a buy ing decision.

The Summary Close

When there are several features and benefits included in your offering, you can try the summary close. Here’s how. When you get to the end of your sales presentation, say, “Well, we’ve covered a lot of information. Let me just summarize some of these things for you, and then you can make a decision one way or the other. OK?”

Remember, features arouse interest, but benefits arouse buying desire. Each time you repeat a benefit that is meaningful to the prospect, his buy ing desire heightens. If you describe enough benefits, all in a row, the individual’s buy ing desire shoots up, often to the point where he will spontaneouslysay, “I’ll take it. How soon can I get it?”
To use the summary close, go through each feature and benefit, one at a time, and repeat what the customer gets with each one. Each time you itemize a feature and point out the benefit that the customer will enjoy, his desire to own your product or service grows.

If you are planning to use the summary close, make up a list, in advance, of the most attractive features of your product, and rank them in order of importance. Plan your presentation to introduce them in order. Watch the prospect for the one or two benefits that seem to be of greatest interest to him, and then emphasize them repeatedly throughout the presentation.

At the end of the summary close, the prospect’s buy ing desire will be at its peak. You then ask, “Have I covered every thing?”
If the prospect says yes, simply assume the sale by asking, “How soon would you need this?”

The Puppy -Dog Close

This is one of the most popular of all closing techniques. It is used to sell billions of dollars’ worth of products each year. It is based on letting the prospect touch, taste, feel, hold, or tr yout the product or service.
The name puppy-dog close comes from the strategy developed by pet shop owners to sell puppies to the children of reluctant parents. For a variety of reasons, especially previous experience with dog ownership, many parents do not want to get their child a dog. They are afraid that the dog will poop, pee, shed, gnaw, bark, whine, and a variety of other things. But parents love their children. At a certain point, the child often becomes fixated on the idea of getting a dog.

The youngster then asks about getting a puppy, over and over, until the parents finally agree to go with the child to a pet store, just to “take a look.”

The pet shop owner is aware of this dy namic. He shows a variety of puppies to the child. When the child falls in love with a particular puppy, and the parents are still hesitant, the pet shop owner says, “Why don’t you take the puppy home for the weekend? If you don’t like the puppy, you can bring him back on Monday for a full refund.”

The parents, secretly hoping that the child will lose interest in the puppy by the end of the weekend, agree to take the puppy home. In many cases, they turn out to be right. The child loses interest in the puppy —but the parents fall in love with it. Bysunday night, they want the puppy more than the child does. The sale is made.


In the same way, manysuccessful companies encourage the prospect to take the product and try it out before making a decision. Some companies today are offering a thirty day trial ownership for a new car. They promise that if the buyer does not like the car at the end of thirty days, he can bring it back for a full refund.

When Canon photocopiers invaded the U.S. market, after the exclusive Xerox patents had expired, Canon had a simple marketing strategy. Their salespeople would visit businesses and offer to install one of their copiers for a one-month free trial. At the end of the month, if the business owner was not happy with the copier, she could simply call them and have it removed. On the other hand, if she liked the copier, they would set her up on a long-term lease, with great prices, a tremendous service contract, and all kinds of features and benefits that she was not currently receiving from the rival copier.

One company I worked with had literally hundreds of copiers out “on loan.” In no time at all, they dominated the copier business in the city. Their copiers were so enjoy able to use that, once people had tried them for a month, the staff would be fighting to keep them and to get rid of whatever else they had been using.


Prospects are skeptical about any new product or service. But at the same time, they are creatures of habit. If they trysomething and they like it, they quickly become comfortable with it. Once they have become comfortable with it, it is easier for them mentally to continue using it than it is for them to discontinue it.
When you are offering an excellent product or service, one that brings about high levels of customer satisfaction, let them try it out. When you allow prospects to sample it for any period of time, you can often make the sale easier than you might have thought.


We have a self-storage business with several hundred units for rent. Many people have crowded closets and cluttered garages, but they have never thought of putting their excess furniture and possessions into a self-storage unit. To counter this, we offer them one free month. They can move all their excess possessions out of their home and into their own private self-storage unit a few blocks away for thirty days. After that, if they are not satisfied, they can came and get all of their possessions and move them back home. What do you think happens?
When you are offering an excellent product or service, one that brings about high levels of customer satisfaction, let them try it out.

The answer is obvious. Once people experience the convenience of cleaning out their closets, clearing out their garages, and moving all their seldom-used materials to a self-storage, they veryseldom want to go through the time and trouble of moving all those things back home again. They quickly begin to see the self-storage unit as an extension of their own homes or apartments. It becomes like an additional room in their homes where they can store things that they hardlyever use. This is the primary reason why the self-storage business is booming every where. It is a perfect example of the puppy – dog close.

The Ben Franklin Close

This is one of the oldest closing techniques of all. It was first developed by the American statesman, inventor, and diplomat Ben Franklin in Philadelphia in 1765. The reason it is popular is because it is a close that exactly corresponds with the way your mind makes a major decision of any kind.

Unless you are acting emotionally and impulsively, before you make a serious decision, you think it through point by point. You consider the pros and cons of the decision, the positives and negatives. You analy ze the reasons for buy ing and compare them against the reasons for not buy ing. At the end of your analysis, you weigh and balance the evidence and make your decision, yes or no.

The Ben Franklin close does exactly this. At the end of the sales conversation, you can saysomething like, “Mr. Prospect, you want to make the very best decision with regard to this product, don’t you?”
“Yes, of course I do.”


You say, “Well, let’s use the method that Ben Franklin used to use when he had to make an important decision. As you know, he was one of the best decision makers of his time, the first self-made millionaire in America, and one of the most famous inventors, politicians, and scholars of the American Revolution.

“What Ben Franklin would do to make a decision is he would take a piece of paper [ you do this as you are talking] and he would draw a line down the center. On one side, he would write all the reasons in favor of the decision, and on the other side, he would write all the reasons opposed to the decision.”
You then take the piece of paper and write “Reasons For” at the top of one column and “Reasons Against” at the top of the other column.

Now say, “Let’s look at some of the reasons this product might be a good choice for you.” Then you write down the most attractive feature of your product or service and remind the prospect of the benefit that he would enjoy from that feature. “Do you agree?”

You then write the number 2, the second feature, and again remind the prospect of the benefit that this feature provides. Once you get his acknowledgment, go on to the third feature and benefit, and so on, until you have written down as many as ten different reasons why the prospect should buy this product or service.
“Have we covered every thing?” you say.

When the prospect answers, “Yes, it looks like you’ve covered every thing,” you then give the page over to him and say, “Now, you write down any reasons that might argue against your going ahead with this idea.”

The prospect maysay, “Well, let me think. There is the price.” He will then write down the price. Meanwhile, you wait patiently, say ing nothing. Let the prospect figure out all the reasons against the offering by himself.
Most prospects can only think of two or three reasons not to buy a product. You then compare these reasons with the ten reasons you have given for going ahead immediately. When the prospect can no longer think of any more reasons opposed to the decision, you can say, “Well, it looks like you’ve made your decision.”

The prospect will often look at the two lists and say, “Yes, I guess I have.” Finish with, “Why don’t we get started on this right away ?”


Not long ago, I ran into one of my graduates on an airplane. He is a verysuccessful, high-earning commercial real estate agent. He told me that he had been working for six months on a complex deal involving a trade for cash, land, and commercial buildings with a large financial institution and a real estate conglomerate. He had been going back and forth on this transaction with the vice president for several weeks, but was unable to get him to come to a conclusion.

Finally, he got back together with his client and said, “Why don’t we use the Ben Franklin decision-making method on this?” He said he was surprised that the vice president agreed immediately. He pulled

out a sheet of paper, drew the line down the center, and then went through the features and benefits in favor of this offering, one by one, for about half an hour. He then asked the vice president, the decision maker, to write down his opposing reasons. As expected, the vice president could only think of two or three reasons why theyshouldn’t go ahead with the transaction. At the end of this process, the vice president compared the two lists, looked back up at the real estate agent, and said, “Let’s do it!” And the deal was sealed.

The agent told me, “Brian, I had heard about that Ben Franklin close for years, but I thought it was a bit corny, so I never tried it. But when I used it the first time, my commissions on that sale were more than I had earned in the entire previous year. It was quite amazing.”

The Order-Sheet Close

This is a fast and effective way to close any transaction where an order sheet is involved. There are different variations of this close that you should memorize, especially if it is relevant to the product or service you sell.
The first variation occurs when you have spoken to the prospect, presented your product, and he fully understands what he gets and why it is of value to him. You then take out an order sheet or sales contract and start filling it in, without asking the prospect whether or not he wants to buy. “By the way, what is today ’s date?” you might ask as you glance at the buyer, or “What is your correct mailing address?”
If the prospect gives you today ’s date or his mailing address, the sale is in the bag.


But sometimes the prospect will stop you bysay ing, “Wait a minute; I haven’t decided to buy this yet.”
You respond, “Oh, don’t worry. I just have a terrible memory for details, and I like to write every thing down as we go along. If you decide not to go ahead today, it will be all right. I’ll just throw the order form away. OK?” You then continue writing.

Each time the prospect gives you another detail, write it on the order sheet, just as if you are try ing to keep track of the sales conversation. The prospect will soon become accustomed to seeing you write down the details. Every additional detail written makes the order sheet more personalized for that customer. Eventually, he starts to identify with the order sheet, seeing it as an expression of his tastes and preferences.

The power of the order-sheet close is simple. The more information the prospect gives you and allows you to put in writing, the more committed he becomes to buying the product or service.
Once the order sheet is complete, look up at the prospect and say, “Now, what is the correct spelling of your last name?”

If the prospect gives you the exact spelling of his last name, “J-O-N-E-S,” his decision to buy is certain. You can then ask for his first name and middle initial, his correct mailing address, his zip code, and his telephone number. The sale is made.

The power of the order-sheet close is simple. The more information the prospect gives you and allows you to put in writing, the more committed he becomes to buy ing the product or service at the end of the conversation.
Top salespeople use this closing technique to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of their products every year. Personally, I’ve always been astonished at how easy it is to use. Try it for yourself and see. You will be as amazed as well.

The Negative-Answer Close

Another variation of the order-sheet close is the negative-answer close. First, you ask all of the pertinent questions so that you fully understand what the customer wants or needs. Then you present your product or service as the perfect solution. Finally, you ask your confirming question: “Do you have any other questions or concerns that I haven’t covered?”
When the prospect says, “No, you seem to have covered every thing,” take out your order sheet, write today ’s date on the top, and begin filling out the details, without referring to the customer or asking for permission. Act exactly as if the no to your confirming question is a yes to your offering.

The Relevant-Story Close

Nobel Prize-winning research has been done into the subject of “dual-brain laterality.” This is an academic way of say ing that human beings have both a left and a right “brain,” each having completely different functions.

The left brain, for example, is used to process details in a linear fashion, one after the other. The right brain, on the other hand, integrates information and is activated by pictures, music, and stories. All buy ing decisions are made by the right brain, so this is what you must appeal to.

With the relevant-story close, you activate the decision-making side of the customer’s brain by telling a story of a customer who bought your product or service and was happy with the purchase. Whenever a prospect hears a story about a happy customer, she is motivated to want to be in the same situation as that happy customer, using your product and getting similar results. And this is exactly what you had in mind. All buying decisions are made by the right brain, so this is what you must appeal to.

Prospects will forget all the data, features, and fine points of your product or service within twenty -four hours, but they will remember the stories you tell about happy customers for weeks, months, and even years. Tell as many of them as possible.


One of the best techniques that I have found is what I call a “by the way ” story. “By the way,” you say, “this reminds me of Susan Smith, one of our customers from XYZ Company. Just last week, she told me that she had been concerned about our high price before she bought this item, but afterward, she found that the additional benefits she got from a slightly higher price were greatly in excess of the difference in cost.”

Whenever you use a relevant-story close, talk about how satisfied people are now that they are using what you are selling. Since the deepest human motivation is the desire to be happy, when you tell about other happy customers, you trigger an unconscious desire on the part of your prospect to become a happy customer as well.


A friend of mine, one of the top insurance agents in the country, uses this relevant-story close veryeffectively. When the prospect seems to be resistant to purchasing life insurance, he takes out the copy of a document describing what happened to a successful businessman who died with a net worth of $1.5 million.

Unfortunately, this businessman was underinsured. By the time taxes were paid on his estate and all debts were settled, his company had to be sold at a bargain- basement price. Within two years, the small amount of money left over was gone, and his widow was destitute. She was forced to move in with her grown children as a permanent houseguest. She didn’t even have social security.

Once a prospect had heard that story, he became very interested in finding out what he could do to make sure the same thing did not happen to him and his wife. From then on, the sale was easy.


There is one other kind of relevant story that you can use. This is the story of someone who decided not to buy your product, or even worse, bought a similar product from a competitor at a lower price. You tell what happened to that buyer and how unhappy he was with the results of his purchase. Make sure to add that this customer, whom you spoke to just recently, really regrets not buy ing from you. This kind of a negative story can often trigger a positive buy ing decision.


Relevant stories should be part of your sales repertoire. Just as a comedian memorizes a series of humorous stories and anecdotes, you as a professional salesperson should memorize a series of relevant stories that you can drop into your sales conversation and use to counter objections and sales resistance at the end of your presentation. One relevant story can turn a neutral or indifferent prospect into an enthusiastic buyer of your product or service.

The Walk-Away Close

One of the most common responses you will hear in selling any thing is, “Let me think about it” or any variation thereof.

You can often save the sale by using a walk-away close. Like this:
Let’s say the prospect says, “Well, I’d like to shop around and see what else is available before I make a decision.” You respond bysay ing, “Mr. Prospect, that’s a good idea. But here’s the fact: We have been doing business here for many years. Most of our customers are repeat customers who come from referrals from other repeat customers. Every one of them has shopped all over town before they finally came back here and bought from us. You can go out and check other prices, but why put yourself through all that trouble? You’re probably going to end up back here any way. Why don’t you make the decision right now? We can wrap it up for you and load it in your car, or we can have it out to you tomorrow morning.”


What we have found is that a buy ing decision unmade remains a problem unsolved in a customer’s mind. It is a source of tension, and often distraction. When you help a customer make a buy ing decision now, you solve his problem, relieve his tension, and free him to get on with other things.

In follow-up interviews with customers, researchers have found that once they decide to buysomething, it drops off their mental radar screens and they begin thinking about other parts of their life and work. The decision loses its importance as soon as it is made.

When you use this walk-away close, byencouraging them to make the buy ing decision now rather than walking away, you are offering to save the prospect all the time and energy that he would have to expend to talk with other suppliers and get additional prices. Remember, logic does make sales. If you give him a logical reason for buy ing from you immediately, you can often stop him from walking away.


If the prospect insists and says, “Well, I still really think I should go and check, because I want to be sure that I’m getting the best deal,” you can use a variation of the walk-away close called the today-only close.
You say, “Mrs. Prospect, I’ll tell you what. This is the end of our fiscal period, and if you will just take it today, I will be able to give you a special, extra discount on this item.”

There is a rule in selling: no urgency, no sale.
To get the prospect to buy immediately, you often have to give her a reason, an incentive, for going ahead now. You can say that this is your last item or that you are going to have a price increase starting tomorrow, or that this is the last day of a sales contest, and if she buys it today, you will get a special bonus. This is why you can give her an additional incentive for buy ing now.

This ty pe of close carries one caveat: an added incentive, or a “kicker,” is only an inducement to buy if you present it at the veryend of the sales conversation. If you offer a special bonus of any kind before that, it will have little or no impact on the prospect’s buy ing decision. He will include your incentive as part of the offering, and you will have to offer even more to get the sale. Save it until the last moment.


The third variation of the walk-away close is what you use when the prospect is absolutely determined to go and check other products and prices before he makes a decision. In this case you very graciously concede, and instead of arguing, you actuallyencourage him to go.

“Mr. Prospect, I understand exactly how you feel. It’s a good idea that you go and check prices at other places. But I want you to promise me one thing. Before you make a final decision, come back and talk to me, and I’ll give you the best deal in town.”

Bysay ing this, you are planting a seed of doubt in the prospect’s mind. By promising to give him the best deal in town, at the end of his shopping trip, you are almost forcing him to come back and see you before he makes an absolute decision.


Sometimes he will say, “Well, what is the very best deal that you can give me?”
You answer, “Mr. Prospect, I know that you are going to go and look around. By all means, please do so. But when you have checked out our competitors, and only then, come back to me. I’ll give you the best deal in town.”
The prospect must now go and trudge from place to place, demanding to know the very best price that he can get from each seller, and finally, bring them all back to you to find out the “best deal in town.”


When the prospect finally comes back and shows you the best deals that he can get any where else, this is how you close the sale. First, if you can beat the others on price, then simply offer a price that is a few dollars less than the best price he has been able to find. Once you have given it, take out your order sheet, ask for the correct spelling of his last name, and begin filling it out. If it happens that you cannot beat a competitor on the basis of price, deflect the customer’s attention away from price and onto the quality, service, delivery, warranties, and follow-up support that your company can offer. Say, “Mr. Prospect, the best deal for you is not simply the lowest price. It is a combination of several factors. Here is what we include in our price, which, all things considered, makes this a better deal for you than any one else can give you.”


You then use a summary close or a Ben Franklin close to repeat the benefits that the prospect gets and why these are more important to him than simply a lower price. You point out, “This price might be a little higher than one of our competitors’, but it is a much better deal for you, all things considered.”

By this time, the prospect is tired of going around and looking for the best price. He has a problem unsolved, and you are offering a solution. If you give him a logical reason for buy ing now, he will more than likely go ahead. All that is required from you is a closing question: “Why don’t you take it?”

The Lost-Sale Close

Every now and then, when a prospect asks you to leave your sales material with him so he can think about it, there is nothing you can do to get him to budge. He has a hidden objection, and he won’t tell you what it is. In this case, instead of arguing or insisting, you gracefully concede and prepare to leave. Say, “Mr. Prospect, thank you very much for your time. I know how busy you are. I’ll get back to you a little bit later, and perhaps we can talk about this some more.”


When you say this, the prospect will always agree. The pressure is off. He is happy that the sales discussion is over and that you are leaving. He is already beginning to think about what he is going to do when you are out of sight.
As he contemplates your departure and his getting back to work, his sales resistance drops, and he relaxes. Like a boxer when the bell rings at the end of the round, he drops his hands and his guard.

Close your briefcase, stand up, shake hands with the prospect, thank him again for his time, and turn to go. But as you reach the door and put your hand on the knob, turn around and say these words: “Mr. Prospect, just before I go, may I ask you one question?”

When he agrees, say, ”Mr. Prospect, I’ve tried to present my product information the very best way I know how, and I feel like I’ve somehow done something wrong. I’d really appreciate it if you’d just tell me this: What was the real reason you didn’t buy today ?”

The prospect, who is now relaxed and happy, contemplating what he will do when you leave, may then say, “Well, now that you ask, the real reason I didn’t buy was this . . .”


Whatever reason he gives you, this is the final objection, or key reason, that is holding him back from buy ing. Once you know it, you have an opportunity to answer that objection to his satisfaction and make the sale.
You say, “Mr. Prospect, thank you. That’s my fault. I obviously didn’t explain that to you properly. Let me show you what we can do to handle that for you.”
You take your hand off the doorknob, walk right back, sit down, and say, “This will take just one more second,” and you start closing on that final objection.
For example, if he says, “Well, the reason I didn’t buy today was because I’m not really convinced that your machine will produce the number of copies I require,” you say, “Mr. Prospect, you mean I didn’t explain that properly ? Well, we have a warranty that covers exactly that issue. If we could give you a written guarantee of satisfaction, would you be prepared to go ahead right now?”
Once you have the final objection, answer it and ask for the order once more.

Only now, there is no more sales resistance. The customer is completely relaxed and will often buy if you give him one more reason.


At mysales seminar in Charlotte recently, a young man came up to me and said, “Mr. Tracy, I just closed the biggest sale of my career. I made a $2,000 commission from a sale that I knew I had lost before I used your lost-sale close.”
He went on to tell me, “I had made my presentation, and the prospect would not give me an answer. As I got up to go and I put my hand on the doorknob, I remembered the words from your program. I turned to him and asked him, ‘Mr. Prospect, please help me out. What was the real reason you decided not to buy today ?’And he told me! I turned around, sat back down, opened my briefcase, and answered his last objection. And he decided to buy. I earned two grand from a sale that I had lost just two minutes before by using that closing technique.”

Closing on Referrals

One of the fastest ways to increase your income, with less time and effort, is to develop a series of ways to get referrals from both prospects and satisfied customers. A referral is worth ten to fifteen times a cold call. This means that it takes one-tenth to one-fifteenth the time and energy to close a sale with a referral than it takes to start cold-calling and finding brand-new prospects.
A referral is worth ten to fifteen times a cold call.

The key issue in selling is credibility. When you get a referral, you piggy back on the credibility of the person referring you. Instead of having to build your credibility from the ground up, you walk in with the credibility of the person who recommended you.


The key to getting referrals is being referable. The major objection to giving referrals is that the customer is not convinced that you will take good care of his friend or colleague. When you treat your customers well and give them excellent quality and service, they will feel more comfortable recommending you to other people that they know. When you are polite, punctual, professional, and prepared every time, people will want to share you with others.


Get referrals by asking for them on every occasion, after everysales call and after everysale.
You can even ask for referrals in advance of selling. You can say, “Ms. Prospect, I am going to show you something that I think you will really like. But whether or not this is the right thing for you at this time, if you like what I show you, would you give me the names of two or three other people who may like it as well?”

When you ask for referrals in this way, in advance of selling, you set the stage. If your product or service is attractive and well presented, the prospect will feel obligated to give you the names of two or three other people at the end of your presentation, whether she buys or not. The key is for you to ask.


When you get a referral, follow up on it immediately. After you have spoken to the referral, report back to the source of the referral. Call the person who gave you the name and tell her what happened. Always speak in a complimentary way about the referral, whether she bought or not.

When you report back to the source of a referral, always wrap up your conversation bysay ing, “By the way, would you happen to know two or three other nice people like this person I could also talk to?”


If the referral turns into a sale, think about sending a gift to the source of the referral. If you earn a substantial commission on a referral sale, send a high- quality fruit basket with a personal note thanking her for that referral.
Call back a couple of days later to ensure that the basket was delivered. The person you call will always be delighted at having received the fruit basket. She will thank you profusely. Take this opportunity to ask if she knows any other “nice people” on whom you could call.


Finally, send thank- you notes to each person who gives you a referral. Then send thank- you notes to the people to whom they refer you. Send thank- yous on every occasion, and always include your business card. The more thank- you notes you send out, the better the reputation you build in the market and the more referable you become.

Manysales professionals I know find that within a few months of implementing a referral strategy, they no longer have time to prospect. They have so many referrals to call on that they are busy all day long following up on them.
When you begin taking these referral-building steps, you will find yourself developing a steadystream of referrals from all directions.


A good friend of mine, one of the highest-paid people in his industry, has an interesting strategy for getting referrals. In December of each year, he phones and then visits all his clients from the past year, and often from years before. He makes it clear that the purpose of his call is to be sure that they are perfectly happy with the services his company has provided to them.

He meets with customers, asks a lot of questions, takes notes, and promises to follow up on any difficulties that they are having. He then asks them for referrals for the months ahead. With this strategy, he starts every year with more than one hundred prospects to call on.


Use the right words when you ask for feedback. If you ask a customer, “How is every thing going?” he will always say, “Fine.” But here’s the rule: if a customer is not complaining, it usually means that he is not happy for some reason. The reason he says, “Fine,” is because he doesn’t want to get into an argument with you.

If a customer is not complaining, it usually means that he is not happy for some reason. The reason he says, “Fine,” is because he doesn’t want to get into an argument with you.

When you make a service call on a customer, instead of asking, “How’s it going?” you ask, “Is there any thing that we can do to improve our services to you in the future?” Whenever you refer a customer to the future, to an ideal future state, he will almost invariably tell you the specific things you can do to make his experience with you and his companyeven better next time. This is what you want to hear, more than any thing else. Then, when you get these ideas, promise to follow up on them right away.


The last thing you do, after any customer service visit, is to ask the “other nice people like you” question that we’ve already covered: “By the way, I really like working with people like you. Would you happen to know any other nice people like you that I could talk to about myservices?” After you have asked for his input and promised to take care of his problems, he will be open to giving you the names of other people he knows who may be interested in what you have to offer. Write down the names and phone numbers. Ask him if he would help you out by giving these people a call and telling them that you will be contacting them. By and large, your customers will be pleased to help.


Here is a simple process you can use to implement these recommendations. Ask the prospect, “Bill, would you happen to know the names of two or three other nice people like yourself that I could speak to?” (the alternative close).

The prospect will almost invariably choose two rather than three. Take out your pen and poise it over your pad, ready to write (the suggestive close). He will shuffle through his Rolodex, Palm Pilot, or BlackBerry and give you two names and phone numbers. Once you have recorded these on your pad, you then ask, “Bill, which of these two should I phone first?” Bill will tell you which one.

Now say, “Bill, you know this person better than I do. Would you call him up and tell him that I will be calling for an appointment, say, next Thursday afternoon?”


Bill knows exactly what you are asking and will usually help you out. He will call the person and probably get straight through. He will then tell that person that he is speaking to you and that you will be calling him. While he is on the phone, take this opportunity to mouth a suggestion to him: “Three o’clock next Thursday ?” and Bill will almost always ask the person on the phone if that time will work for him or her.

By the time Bill gets off the phone, he will have set up an appointment for you with a qualified referral.
Now that Bill has called one person, calling one more person is no problem for him. Ask him to, and he will call the second person and set up that appointment for you as well. You will often leave his office with two locked-in referrals, built on the credibility of the person you just spoke to.


The highest-paid salespeople work on the basis of referrals only. They make it a regular part of their sales work to ask for referrals from every one, every where they go. They have developed so many different contacts and sources of referrals that they no longer have time to prospect for new business.

When you visit a referral from a happy customer, the sale is 90 percent made before you even open your mouth. This is the fastest and most predictable way for you to move into the top ranks of the highest moneyearners in your field. And the key ? Just ask.

Action Exercises:

1. Select one closing technique each week and read it over and over until you memorize the words; practice it aloud repeatedly.

2. Identify the most common price objections you hear and develop ways to overcome them.

3. Make a decision today to work by referral only ; ask each customer and noncustomer for the names of prospects you can talk to.

4. Plan and rehearse several different ways to close the sale in the course of your presentation; the more you ask for the order, the likelier you will get it.

5. Develop and rehearse a series of glad as well as sad stories that you can use in your sales conversation to reduce resistance and close the sale; stories are powerful.

6. Be referable; do every thing you can to be such a professional salesperson that every one you talk to will want to recommend you to their friends and colleagues.

7. Ask for the order; as soon as you answer the remaining objection, take the initiative and immediately move into closing the sale; this is where you “putt for dough.”

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