Closing means asking for act of commitment

This is the sixth article in my series of seven analyzing the seven steps of the Track Selling System.

In previous articles, I have analyzed the approach, qualification, agreement on need, sell the company, and fill the need steps.

Now I will analyze step 6: act of commitment. Although this step is typically called the "close," I view it as an "opening" because it's an opportunity for a new cycle of business.

Astonishingly, studies show that 62 percent of all salespeople never ask for the order. Imagine how effective they would be if they asked for the order even once, let alone twice or more.

The first close is: "If we can (summary of action to take place), can you think of any reason why we shouldn't (summary of desired act of commitment)?"

Lets see how Gerri, the salesperson at Happiness is Hawaii Tours, uses the first close with her prospect, Dick.

Gerri (first close): "If we can book the flights from Los Angeles and Boston on Dec. 18, can you think of any reason why we shouldn't send the Jacobson family on a two-week Hawaiian vacation?"

Dick: "No."

Gerri: "Great! How do you want to pay?"

Dick: "American Express."

    In this example, Gerri makes the sale with the first close. But in the real world, things don't always happen so logically or quickly. If the prospect objects, it's crucial that you act, not react, and move into your second close.

    Gerri, second close: "If we can book the flights from Los Angeles and Boston on Dec. 18, can you think of any reason why we shouldn't send the Jacobson family on the two-week Hawaiian vacation?

    Dick: "Thirty-five hundred dollars? I'm surprised it's under my budget. If this is your price, I want to do some checking around. Call me next week when I know how competitive your prices are."

    Gerri: "I can appreciate that (acknowledgment). Dick, we agreed you liked that you'd be able to choose three islands, with all transportation and transfers included. You also liked that we include individual activities for one price (agreement on features). In addition, we've put together a variety of dining choices for different age groups (new feature). Wouldn't it be nice for your daughters to meet other young people while you and your wife are having a quiet dinner? (reaction)."

    Dick: "Yes."

    Gerri: "Well, Dick, if we can book the flights from Los Angeles and Boston on Dec. 18, can you think of any reason why we shouldn't send your family on a two-week Hawaii vacation?"

    Dick: "I'm tempted but feel I should talk with my family. Call me next week."

      Acknowledge the objection with one of the following statements: "I see," "I understand," "I can appreciate that." That should be the extent of the response. Never react by arguing or trying to justify the point. Let them know you empathize with their concerns and then get back to selling, giving the prospect additional reasons to buy your product.

      Keys to the second close:

      • Acknowledge the objection;
      • Re-establish your areas of agreement;
      • Add a new feature/benefit/reaction sequence;
      • Ask for the order again.

      What happens when the prospect objects again? Many times they don't reveal the real reason for holding back. Your goal is to uncover the real objection.

      Gerri (third close): "I understand (acknowledgment). We talked about a lot of things you liked: the specialized tours, the transfers being handled, the fact that you can have a various, special dining experiences -- a lot of things you liked (agreement on features). There must be something you don't like. Would you mind telling me what it is? (Asking for the objection)."

      Dick: "Well, you've spent a lot of time with me and I feel you've really listened. However, I had a friend who went on a similar tour and his family felt like cattle, having to be at specific places at specific times."

      Gerri: "I see (acknowledgment). That's not the type of vacation you described as wanting. Rest assured that we wouldn't have grown as large as we have, and developed our reputation, if we didn't honor our bargain of individualized, personalized choices, allowing you to choose your activities (meeting the objection)."

      Dick: "You sound convincing but I still want to talk with my family. Call me next week."

        Keys to the third close:

        • Acknowledge the objection;
        • Re-establish your areas of agreement;
        • Uncover the real objection;
        • Handle the real objection;
        • Optionally, add a new feature/benefit/reaction sequence;
        • Ask for the order again.

        To uncover the real objection, ask the prospect: "(Prospect's name), there must be something you don't like. Would you mind telling me what it is?"

        This statement demonstrates your sensitivity and understanding, that you are seeing the situation through the prospect's eyes. It should also uncover the real objection.

        Gerri (fourth close): "I understand (acknowledgment). Dick, it sounds like Hawaii is the place you're going to take your family. The only thing that is going to happen between this week and next is that you're going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out comparative activities and prices. I'd like to be a part of making this happen for you, and giving your kids and your wife the kind of vacation you've wanted to plan for a long time (feature/benefit/reaction). Let's go ahead and set it up (asking for the order)."

        Dick: "Gerri, I think you know me better than I imagined, but I feel like I'm not supposed to buy from the first person who calls me."

          Keys to the fourth close:

          • Acknowledge the objection;
          • Cite the penalty for not buying or acting now;
          • Optionally, add a new feature/benefit/ reaction sequence;
          • Ask for the order again.

           


           

          Roy Chitwood is an author, trainer and consultant in sales and sales management and is president of Max Sacks International, Seattle.