If this is how you close, think again..

Thursday 4 April, 2019

As a professional salesperson, we know you would avoid using manipulative and unethical closing techniques but some of these methods are still taught by many companies – so sellers, beware!

The assumptive close
What is it?
This is where you ask a question which suggests that the customer has already decided to buy. For example: “Which one are you having, red or blue?” The assumptive close is clumsy but does seem to persist in poorly executed sales.
Why avoid it?
Buyers (both business and consumer) are very aware of leading questions. Even if they work for a few customers, many will be dissatisfied. Expect the item to be returned or your customer never to return.

The special offer or time limit
What is it?
Offer ends this Friday! We have all seen the adverts, but savvy consumers know that these “amazing” reductions are often the normal prices. Telling a business buyer that if they buy before the end of the month, they can get an x% discount makes you look desperate, unprofessional, and calls into questions your company’s stability.
Why avoid it?
Professional buyers will play for even more concessions if you send this signal. Many consumers might take the offer and then use their fourteen-day cooling off period to cancel the deal, which is more hassle than not having one in the first place. From a legal standpoint, the time-limited close is regarded as a pressure technique. If you end up in court, you will lose.

Try before you buy
What is it?
Reducing the customer’s risk with the opportunity to test or use a product before buying.
Why avoid it?
As a sales professional, letting consumers ‘buy now, pay later’ can be dangerous ethical territory. Attempts to get consumers hooked with a free trial are regarded with suspicion. Have you ever signed up to such an offer on an online service and forgotten to cancel before the end of the free period? How did you feel about that company? Try before you buy involves a lot of management to ensure the relationship isn’t damaged by the process and can be fraught with problems. For example, who pays if the equipment gets damaged in a trial? What would that do to the relationship?

The reverse close
What is it?
Question such as: “Is there any reason not to buy?”
Why avoid it?
Asking a buyer to think of reasons not to buy might be a problem. Are you being manipulative or asking for information and feedback? If they reply with a list of things all at once, you may find yourself overloaded, and they will be waiting a long time for response to all of their objections.

The leading close
What is it?
This technique involves asking a lot of questions which elicit a yes” answer and then asking for the sale. These are sometimes referred to as ‘Yes Sets’.
Why avoid it?
Put plainly, these would be insulting to professional buyers and it would be seen as manipulative by a consumer.

The pressure or fear close
What is it?
Over emphasising the spectre of what the customer would be missing if they did not buy, or what risks might ensue if they do not buy.
Why avoid it?
Doing this while waiving an order form and a pen at them could be perceived as manipulation. If they make a decision based on pressure or fear,  they will not be concentrating on the important issues, such as making sure that they have covered all of the needs with you.

In other words…

“In using closing techniques, the sellers put pressure on customers to make a decision. Most people are less satisfied with decisions that they feel they have been pressurised to make them with those which they believe they’ve made entirely of their own freewill.”
Neil Rackham
APS Patron and author of  
SPIN Selling, 1988

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If this is how you close, think again..
by APS Sales & Marketing Specialist, RJ Cerasoli
Tuesday 2 April, 2019