CCA 10.4 Lesson 4: The Closing Clock

Several opportunities to close the sale are found during every presentation. 

The Basic Close

Other names for this close are the “order blank” and the “assumptive close.” This technique is very simple. You simply use a direct approach and ask for the order. The word ask is the most important word in closing sales. You must ask for the order in most cases to receive an order. You simply ask the potential buyer a question, the answer to which you fill out on an order form or application. You don’t ask the customer, “Do you want to buy?” You assume the buyer wants to buy and say something like, “What is your correct full name, sir?” or “Where do you want the product delivered?”

Do you realize that as long as the customer doesn’t stop you, he/she has purchased the product? You assume that the customer has bought, and you merely fill out the application until the customer stops you–if the customer stops you. After you have filled out the entire order form, you hand the customer a pen and ask him to please “O.K. it.” Refrain from using the phrase “Will you sign it?” Most of us have been warned to always look at anything in detail before signing it.

One item you need to understand is the closing question. A closing question is any question you ask in which the answer confirms the fact that your customer has bought. Only two things will happen at the point in which you ask a closing question using the basic close: (1) The customer goes along with you, or (2) The customer gives you a reason for not going along. As a sales professional, you will learn to capitalize on either one.

Ben Franklin Close

This closing technique is one of my favorites. It is especially effective for the customer who is very logical or rational. This technique simply allows you to summarize the advantages and the disadvantages that are set up on a type of T-Account. This simple close is used best with a customer that has a hard time making up his/her mind until he/she has had a chance to think it over and weigh the benefits.

Let me explain why this close is called the Ben Franklin close. As you know, Americans have long considered Benjamin Franklin as one of our wisest men. Whenever Ben Franklin found himself in a situation of buying a product or making an important decision, he would want to make sure he was doing the right thing. If the decision was a wrong one, he wanted to make sure he avoided it. He would take a sheet of plain white paper and draw a line down the middle and on the left side he would write “yes” and on the right side he would write “no.”  He would then put all the reasons favoring the decision and all the reasons against it. When you do this with a prospect, give him/her all the help in the world to find reasons favoring the decision to buy. Even go to the extent to suggest a few. If you do it right, you should come up with at least 10 reasons favoring the decision to buy the product. When you get to the “no” side of the paper, shut up. It will be hard to achieve more than three reasons against the decision. You now can simply point out that if the paper represented a set of scales, the reasons favoring the decision clearly outweigh the reasons against the decision. At this time you proceed to write up the order.

The Lost Sale Close

One concept that every sales professional must learn is that you won’t sell 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time. Some people are just not ready to buy at the time you are selling. The Lost Sale Close is used when you have lost the sale–when everything else you have tried has failed. This means you don’t practice this technique every day because this technique, if not handled right, will really hurt you. This closing technique requires tact, sincerity, and a lot of sensitivity.

When you have lost the sale, you can end the presentation by saying something like this, “Pardon me, sir; but before I leave, what didn’t the product have that you were looking for?”  This is a simple question that can be used for an evaluation. If the customer brings up something you forgot to mention, you are back into the ball game. If the customer mentions something that you can’t provide, then you may want to look into it for future presentations.  Whatever the response of the customer, the lost sale close provides you with an excellent opportunity to gain helpful information that can be used in future sales.

I’ll Think It Over Close

If you have never heard of this objection, “I want to think it over!” then you haven’t spent much time as a buyer. This excuse is one of the most common reasons for putting off the buying decision. You can learn as a sales professional to capitalize on this expression and turn it into one of the most effective closes used today.

When a customer tells you, “I’ll think it over,” you say to him, “That’s fine, sir. Obviously, you wouldn’t take time to think it over unless you were really interested. I’m sure you are not telling me this just to get rid of me. So, I may assume that you are going to give this very careful consideration. You are very serious about purchasing this product. For this reason, I can see why you would want more time to think about it.” Your customer will say something like this, “Yes, I’m going to give this more time.” You then say, “Just to clarify my thinking, what specific thing do you want to think over?” If the prospect doesn’t give you anything, then start suggesting items. “Is it …? Is it …?” Eventually he/she will probably say, “Yeah, that’s it.” You can then attempt to start clarifying or providing more information that may encourage the customer to buy.

The Turnover CloseA technique that is very successful for inexperienced sales professionals and those sales professionals who may have a personality conflict with the buyer is the turnover close. This is used when you turn over the sales presentation to another sales professional who has a better chance of making the sale. The junior or new sales professional may say something like this; “Mr. Taylor is a bit more familiar with this line of goods than I am.” You then smoothly turn the sale over to the other sales professional. It is important that you do this before the customer begins to walk out the door. If you don’t do it until the end of the sale, the situation could turn out to be very awkward. It may be wise after the other sales professional has committed the buyer to buy to turn the sale back over to the original sales professional.