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Most of the time, a good salesperson doesn’t need tricky closing strategies at all. But when you do need one, you REALLY need one. Some prospects hate being sold so much that they simply won’t listen to your presentation with an open mind. They’re just waiting for the chance to say no and get rid of you.
Well, sometimes there’s nothing you can do but check that prospect off your list and move on. Other times, a sophisticated closing technique might be enough to take the blinders off that prospect and at least get him to listen to you. Here are a couple of complex or unusual closing techniques that you can use in difficult selling situations.
The Role Model Close
One of the intermediate closes uses peer pressure to nudge the prospect into buying. The role model close takes this approach to the next level by bringing in someone whose opinion the prospect values to validate you in his eyes. The close works like this: before you meet with the prospect, you flip through your customer files and identify someone who is prominent in the business world and also (hopefully) a satisfied customer of yours. It’s best if the customer is in the prospect’s industry or a related one, but that won’t always be possible. Give this customer a call and confirm that all is well with regards to their product… and assuming that she is still happy with their purchase, ask her if she would be willing to tell your prospect how pleased she was with the product. If she’s willing, tell her the time and date of your appointment and let her know you will call her one way or another.
Once you are at the appointment itself, if you are having trouble getting the sale done, say something like this:
“I can see you’re still a bit concerned that this product might not be right for you. As it happens, I have a customer, Mary Smith — you may have heard of her, she’s the CEO of Impressive Company — and her setup is quite similar to yours. Would you be willing to speak with her now and let her share her opinion of the product?”
If he says yes, pick up the phone and call your customer, make a brief introduction, and hand the phone to the prospect. If you’re right about how the prospect views your impressive customer, you probably just closed the sale.
The Walkout Close
When you have a sale that’s clearly going nowhere, with a prospect who has all kinds of hostile body language but won’t tell you what’s bothering him, then pressing for a close in the normal way will just lose you the prospect. So if you’re sure normal means won’t work, you can try this emergency measure. Simply say to the prospect:
“I’m afraid I’ve made a mistake coming here today; this product is clearly not right for you. I apologize for wasting your time.”
Then gather your things, shake the prospect’s hand, and walk out the door. If you succeed in shocking the prospect out of his mental blockade, he may just stop you and ask you to continue with your presentation. If not, well, the sale was almost certainly lost anyway. While not for the faint of heart, the walkout close can pull out some amazing last-minute saves. At the very least, it may cause the prospect to tell you what is stopping him from buying from you — which might be just what you need to help you out on the next sale.
About the author
My first sales position was a summer job selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. I continued through a variety of sales jobs ranging from retail sales for a storage company to selling bank products for a Fortune 500 financial institution.
As a small business owner, I now focuses on selling for my own company, Tailored Content, a website content provider. I write on a wide range of topics but my primary focus is sales and how to sell effectively.