CCA 10.5 Lesson 5 The Continued Affirmation Close

This close is also called the “stimulus-response” or “yes-building” close. This closing technique involves using a series of leading questions that make it easier for the customer to say yes when asked for the order. Be sure that your approach in using this technique is rapid, enthusiastic, logical, and includes some major issues from the buyer’s point-of-view. Many successful sales professionals will agree that psychology plays an important role in this technique. A series of “yes” answers leads to a final easy “yes” answer that brings the sale to a close.

You will notice from the following examples that each “yes” answer paves the way for further commitment. Below is a manufacturer’s representative attempting to sell a buyer on a line of products.

The ads will appear in some well-known magazines beginning the first of February. They are attractive and informative ads, aren’t they?

These ads should help create additional store traffic for you and tie in beautifully with your local advertising, shouldn’t they?

You will notice that the percentage of markup is higher than our competitors.  You can use the extra markup, can’t you?

These products, with the help of some point-of-purchase displays that we will provide for you, will make an attractive display, won’t they?

Some important factors for you are high turnover and a fair profit, isn’t that true?

If I can show you how these products will bring in a large profit from a small investment, you would be interested, wouldn’t you?

Here is a second example of what a typical car sales professional may say in applying the continued affirmation close.

That is a pretty color of blue, isn’t it?

Sit behind the wheel. Isn’t there a lot of room behind there?

Our financing rate of 5 percent is lower than other car dealers in the area, isn’t that true?

Our six year, 70,000 mile warranty is one of the best in the marketplace, isn’t it?

Let’s go take care of the financing so that you can drive away in this beautiful car tonight.

Special Deal Close

This closing technique is very effective when you have failed to close the sale after several closing attempts. The reason why this closing technique is called a special deal is because you offer the customer something extra for buying the product now. For example, some inducements that are commonly used are premiums, discounts, trade-in allowances, promotional tools, extended pay periods for credit, free accessories and free delivery. You are giving the customer a “special offer” if the product is bought now.

This technique should not be used on the first closing attempt, only after the customer is reluctant to make the buying decision today. We suggest that you avoid getting into the habit of using this close everyday as some sales professionals have. The reason is that a danger exists in using this technique because you create the impression that the first or second offer is not the best offer, and some customers may feel that if they put off the purchase a little longer, they may then be able to get a better bargain. The most common inducement used in this closing technique is to encourage people to buy by cutting the original price. Below are some examples of the special deal close.

  • If you buy ten of these items, I’ll throw in another single item free.
  • We’ll give you a free car wash with every purchase of 10 gallons or more.
  • Buy today, and I’ll save you an extra 10 percent.
  • If you order new carpeting within the next three days, you will receive a higher grade of padding at no extra charge.

The Standing-Room Only Close

As we discussed above, one of the biggest barriers to buying is the customer’s option to put off the decision until later. The standing-room only close not only gives strong reason for buying now, but also supports the prospect’s decision by indicating that if everybody else is buying it, it must be a good product. It makes the decision to buy a little less risky. This close is especially good for products that are unique, one-of-a-kind, or in high demand. Some examples of this close are as follows:

  • We only have one product left, and it will take us months to order another one. If you like it, you might as well buy it.
  • Another couple was in earlier looking at this beautiful home, and they said that they were coming back this afternoon to let me know what they have decided. I told them I couldn’t hold it unless I had earnest money. It is an excellent buy, so I’d advise you to take it now. It may not be here tomorrow.
  • You’d better buy this set of tires today while they are on sale, because prices will be going up 20 percent tomorrow.

Like the special deal close, this close should also be held in reserve until late in the sales presentation because it can also weaken your presentation. This close is tailor-made for those customers who become a challenge when asked to make a commitment. If this technique is not used in an ethical manner, it could really hurt the credibility of the sales professional.

The Success Story or Testimonial Close

You can often restate closing points most convincingly in the form of a story about a prospect who was in a similar situation. We all like to profit or learn from the mistakes or successes of others. The technique capitalizes on using experiences of other people and in many cases is more effective than your personal experiences or opinions. You want to get across the point that your prospect would be unwise to delay his/her decision to purchase. By pointing out the benefits received or the loss suffered by another person who was in a similar situation, your prospects may realize that they should buy today. It is very effective if you can use names, dates, and other specific details so the situation will be as realistic to the buyer as possible.  Some professional sales professionals have gone to the extent of having previous customers write up their story in their own words and use this as a helpful tool in the presentation. We call these testimonial letters. Testimonials may encourage the customer to follow the example and buy. An example of this method would be as follows:

“Tony Anderson thought the same as you do about small cars but bought one because of the gas mileage. Because his car was more maneuverable, he was able to avoid a head-on collision last month. He says that he will always buy small cars from now on.”

The Alternative of Choice Close

This technique gives customers a limited choice and will lead them into making the final decision to buy. One way of getting the buyer to make the major decision is by having him make minor decisions like color, style, features, financing, or a choice between two products you offer–we covered this in describing the trial close. People generally have found that it is easier to make a minor decision than a major one. Also, the minor decisions will literally carry the big and final decision. Risk is always involved in making a major purchase decision so a sales professional should avoid creating a situation for the buyer to say “yes” or “no.” Instead of asking the buyer if he wants to buy a suit, you ask “Which color of suit do you prefer, the blue suit or the brown one?” By getting a decision between two alternatives, you help the prospect make a choice between two or three products that your company offers. Always give the customer a choice between your products, not a choice between buying and not buying. This technique has been called the Yes, Yes technique because the buyer is asked to respond with a “yes” answer to two alternatives that you provide. Instead of asking the buyer, “Do you want to buy the car?” which the buyer will respond by saying yes or no, you ask the buyer “Which car do you prefer, the Toyota Camry or the Avalon?” Some additional examples of this closing are as follows:

  • Would you prefer to have the chair delivered today or the first part of next week?
  • Would you rather finance the stereo system or pay for it in cash?
  • Do you prefer the wingtips or the slip-on shoes?

The “BIQ” Close

This technique is very effective because it summarizes key points of the presentation, provides a powerful suggestion, and ends up in a closing question. It is traditional used toward the end of the presentation as you prepare to summarize your key points. The technique uses the following format:

Based on (one or more of the following):

-Successes of others.

-Benefits other customers have achieved.

-Concerns you (the prospect) have expressed.

I’d like to suggest (the action you want to take):

Question, (such as one of the following):

-Would that be okay?

-Would that be fair?

-Would that be all right with you?

An example of this technique would be as follows. “Based on your concern for buying a car with low maintenance and repair costs, I’d suggest you buy a Toyota Camry, one of the top ten rated cares each year by J.D. Powers and Associates. Would that be okay?

The Trap Close

This closing technique I have saved until the last because it is one of the hardest to master and the most persuasive to use. However, when it is used by a masterful sales professional, it is a beautiful tool to use. Only experienced sales professionals who really know their product should make this technique a habit. The reason why is that it can backfire and make you look like a pressuring fool. The trap close is when you close a sale on a final objection by making your sale contingent on a specific point–a point that you know you can satisfy and provide. 

The trap close is used by making your sale completely dependent on one point. This is used when you know you can satisfy or prove the claim you are about to state to the buyer. This technique is very useful with objections that you know are false. For example, your buyer may be very concerned about delivery, you can simply say, “If I can promise you delivery in two days, then do we have a deal?” The buyer may think, “Now how can he do that, delivery in two days!” If the buyer thinks this, and if you can deliver in two days, you have the setting of using the trap close.

Trap closes are used frequently in handling price objections. You can take advantage of this objection by saying something like, “If I can get you these units for the price you indicated, then may I have your order?” Be sure you can back up what you are saying; if so, the trap close is an effective tool to use.

Puppy Dog Close

This last technique encourages the buyer to borrow the product for a designated time period and keep the product for a while before a commitment is made. Most parents can recall the experience of going to the supermarket and seeing a person out front with a box of puppies to give away or sell.  The seller of the puppies knows that if the puppy gets into the home, even for one day, the odds of making it a permanent placement dramatically increases. The child pleads with the parent to have a puppy and after an emotional appeal the child wins. The child becomes instantly attached to the puppy and promises the parent that he/she will do whatever it takes to take care of the puppy. As most parents know, this lasts only a few weeks at best. However, the emotional attachment and possession of the product are great selling strategies and sales professionals use this technique in very much the same way. Allowing the customer to use the product with no money down and with no initial commitment reduces the perceived risk. This was the closing technique used in the opening story of the piano sales professional found after the chapter objectives. The sales professional knows that if he can get the piano benches in the home, the customer would feel more comfortable with the piano purchase possibility. This technique has also been called on approval.” You allow the buyer to have the product “on approval” and let the buyer use the product for a short time period.   Having the physical possession of the product creates the feeling of ownership and creates a strong emotional attachment. This closing technique is successful with products like water purifiers, art, mail-order products, exercise equipment, and high technology products.  

The Puppy Dog Close

An on-approval close that encourages the buyer to borrow the product before a final decision is made–or a “Try it out free to see if you like it!” approach.

The closing of a sale can be compared to the final act of a dramatic production. Just as a play or show builds up to a climax, so does a good sales presentation. An appropriate background has been developed, characters introduced, information presented, questions answered, and now the play reaches the conclusion. If all has gone well in the dramatic production, the curtain will fall and the audience will leave with a satisfied feeling. If all has gone well in the sales presentation, the buyer will be satisfied and will leave with your product. A sales professional must expect the buyer to buy–always assume the positive. Assume as you are giving the presentation that the buyer is going to buy until he/she indicates otherwise. Look forward to and identify buying signals given off by the buyer that will let you know that now may be the time to ask for the order. Remember, closing is simply asking for the order as pointed out in this last illustration.