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Once you’ve had some experience as a salesperson and have mastered the basic closing techniques, you might want to try your hand at some intermediate-level strategies. These techniques are more complex than the basic ones, but they give you a better chance of prying certain prospects out of their ruts and getting them moving.
Remember, you should never use a closing technique — or any other sales approach — to trick or mislead a prospect. The idea behind these closing strategies is to help the prospect overcome something that is holding him back from buying a product that will benefit him. It’s not to manipulate a prospect into buying something that’s not right for him.
The Bandwagon Close
This close is similar to the “limited-time offer” basic close, in that the goal is to motivate a prospect who is having a hard time overcoming his inertia. Most often what’s holding him back in that situation is fear of making a bad decision. If you can show that many other people have bought and enjoyed the same product, it will help to ease that fear. The bandwagon close will sound something like this:
“I can see that you want to be absolutely sure before you buy. I’d like to point out now that this is an extremely popular product, and during the [x] years I’ve been selling it, many of my customers agreed that it was the best choice they could have made. In fact, the ones who spent a lot of time thinking it over and shopping around really regretted the time they’d wasted. It’s your decision, of course, but I’d encourage you to place your order today so that you can start enjoying your purchase immediately.”
The Mutual Pact Close
Many people detest being sold and will tend to block out or immediately refute everything you say during your presentation. Such prospects are best handled with a mutual pact close. This particular close is unusual because you’ll use it to open your appointment instead of saving it for the end. After you introduce yourself to the prospect, say something like this:
“I want to make it clear that I’m not hear to sell you anything today. Rather, my job is to introduce you to our product and show you why our customers love it so much. All I ask is that you keep an open mind and consider whether or not the product I describe would be a good choice for you. Then after we’ve talked, you can tell me what you’ve decided to do. Does that sound fair to you?”
Once the prospect has agreed to this, he’s essentially bought in to your proposed agreement. So at the end of the presentation all you have to do is ask the prospect if it sounds like a good fit for him. If he says yes, all you have left to do is take the order.
The Apology Close
Sometimes your prospect just won’t budge on his objections or he’ll flat-out refuse to buy and won’t tell you why. In that case, you may still be able to resuscitate the sale by saying something like this:
“I want to apologize to you because I haven’t done a very good job today. I truly believe that this product is the best solution for [prospect hot issue] but I can see that I haven’t been able to show you that. Can you tell me where I let you down today, so that I can do better the next time I present this product?”
This close not only gives you a chance to uncover the hidden objection that’s blocking the sale, it also allows you to get some feedback on weaknesses in your presentation.
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.