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Practice Management > Building Your Business > Young Professionals

This is the ultimate closing technique

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When I was a very young sales associate, one of my trainers tried to teach me his self-proclaimed “ultimate closing technique.”

The set-up is that the prospects are somewhere between a yes and a no. My trainer had a foolproof technique for getting someone to give you the answer you need.

It goes like this: “Mr./Ms. Decision Maker, we’ve been talking about this for a little while now and I feel like we’re making progress, but I want to be sure I’m not missing the signals. My question is, is this a slow yes or a slow no?

If it’s a slow no, I’m guessing you’re not going to do it and just don’t want to hurt my feelings. I appreciate that, but I make my living on two words: “yes” or “no.” “Maybe so” doesn’t help me, or you, because I’ll keep coming back until I hear one of those answers and it becomes awkward for both of us. So if this is a slow no, let’s end this right now.

See also: 100 best sales and marketing tips

If it’s a slow yes, though, you’ve seen value in what we’ve discussed but there’s some question I haven’t answered that’s keeping you from moving forward today. Do you mind me asking what that is?”

[Prospect answers] “I understand. If we can resolve that, is there any reason you wouldn’t want to move forward today?”

Slow yes or slow no … I never figured out if it was madness or genius or mad genius, but it actually worked for me. That one time I got punched in the face, but 85-year-old payroll ladies are feisty like that.

I’m passing this along because it highlights a couple of things. While you wouldn’t use this “technique” on your first visit, you might be amazed at how positively people respond to this kind of openness after you’ve established some rapport. How would it change your sales calls if you were this open with all your prospects?

It also gets your head straight. I’ve noticed something about “maybe so.” Maybe so is a bit of a Snuggie. It wraps you up and keeps you warm. As great as warm is, though, it doesn’t get you paid.

We hear “no” so often that we find ourselves craving the warmth of that Snuggie and we don’t want to give it up.

But here’s the $64,000 question: How much is that Snuggie costing you? How many hours have you spent tracking down a prospect who just won’t get off the dime? Imagine how much progress you could be making with an eventual yes if you got one of those maybe so’s to say no.