Previously, we reviewed a few of the classic sales closes and how they don’t work in our current sales environment. There are two other classic closes that we should review to understand how they fit into our new global sales environment.
The Opportunity Sales Close
Here’s a sales close that many organizations still use today. It goes by many names, such as the Impending Doom close, the Now or Never close, or the Opportunity Close. Or as I like to call it, the K-Mart shopper close: "Hey, K-Mart shoppers. Charmin toilet paper is on sale in aisle seven for the next forty-five minutes. You can pick up a four pack for just forty-nine cents a roll."
Often, organizations will try to pressure the prospect by giving them a tight time frame, or telling them if they act now, they will get a discount. Infomercials and timeshares are notorious for this kind of close. Our suggestion here is never to lead with this one, because it's the most manipulative close that can you can use.
An Example of the Opportunity Close Gone Wrong
I once had somebody from a local Chamber of Commerce call me and try this close. We belonged to another chamber at the time, and she asked why we belonged to one chamber versus any of the other local chambers.
She had a great pitch. But I came back, and said, "Listen, doing business with you guys would be a little better with all the incentives you have. Essentially, though, if you can show me that I can get my health insurance like I do now through my current chamber, we'd definitely consider it."
So, she comes back to me a couple days later, said it wasn’t a problem and asked, "Can we do this?"
It was around June at that time. I said, "Listen, we're in. Our membership with this other chamber ends in December. We're just not going to belong to two chambers at once, but I'll send a letter, give my commitment, blah-blah-blah."
She was cool about it. She came back in July. "Hey, I want to let you know that our chamber membership here starts August first."
Then, she came back again in August. "Our chamber starts September first. I just had to let you know our membership fees are going up, and I really think you should take advantage of this."
"That's very thoughtful," I said. "I really appreciate you thinking of me. We're absolutely in. We're just not going to belong to two chambers at once. It's not responsible. We're a small organization."
She pushed back. "Lance, I really think this is a good deal."
I said, "I do appreciate you thinking of me. I'm going to politely decline. We're in the other chamber."
What Went Wrong with this Opportunity Close
She came back a third time, but this time hard. I said, "Hey, are you open for some coaching?"
"Well, number one, I never gave you the price objection. The only thing I said was we shouldn't belong to two chambers at once. I told you we're in. You said we could do it. We're going to do it. I just don't want two memberships at once."
She hits me again with, "I just think this is a great deal."
"Whoa." I said. "Stop. Now I'm kind of pissed off. What makes you think I won't get this discount later."
"Well, you won't," she said.
"Now that you're challenging me, oh, trust me, I will get the discount when I sign up. Whether or not you get the deal will be completely up to how hard you push me one more time. But I’ll get the rates in December that you're pitching me now."
"I don't think you will."
"Well, I probably won't be going through you, but I will call the chamber directly."
The end of the story? I ended up getting the rates that I wanted. But the point is she just came in too hard with that Opportunity Close. Because the fact is, every objection isn't over money. My objection wasn't about money. It was about logistics.
This is why you need to listen to your prospect’s objections and focus less on trying to force the sale with fancy sales closes.
The Balancing Close
The last close I’ll point out involves weighing competing points. It’s what we call a Balancing Close. It’s also known as the Ben Franklin close because it’s right out of Ben Franklin's playbook. In fact. I can't overstate that, next to <Selling=">Selling" is="is" an="an" Away="Away" Game="Game</a>">, the best sales book you'll ever read is Ben Franklin's autobiography. He's the only American philosopher we had. And he's one of our only inventors and philosophers.
How did Ben Franklin make decisions? Ultimately, he weighed things. He basically made decisions after considering all the pros and the cons. So, on any major decisions he needed to make, business or otherwise, he would make a T-chart and list the pros on one side and the cons on the other.
If the cons outweighed the pros, he wouldn't do it. If the pros outweighed the cons, he would go forward.
Well, there's something to be said about that in sales, because in sales, most decisions are made by weighing and balancing out the value of the outcomes against each other. Remember, people can’t establish value on what they can’t compare and contrast. When I , I compared the value of having them as opposed to not having them.
As salespeople, that's one of our tools that gives us the high ground. It allows us to help our prospects go through the sales process and weigh options against one another. This works when selling to buying groups and it works when selling to individuals. Because that's exactly how they're going to make a decision.
Classic Sales Closes are Based on Decision-Making Tools
As pointed out earlier, these sales closes don’t work in today’s sales environment. Your prospects and clients have too many options, they have too much information, and unfortunately for us, they’ve already decided by the time they’ve contacted us. So, trying to manipulate the prospect into buying at the end of the process will only insult them.
Consider this: The pros and cons list is a standard decision-making tool taught in management and sales leadership courses. Why not use this tool in the dialogue stage of the sales process or to resolve a sales objection where it can do some good? Why wait until the very end of the process to bring one of your most potent tools to bear?
These classic sales closes are based on standard management and leadership decision-making tools, packaged in a cutesy name and compiled into a big sales cookbook. These sales closes aren’t there to make the prospect’s life easier. They are there to make the salesperson’s life easier. I submit to you that if you’re executing your sales process, and you can see things from the prospect’s point of view, you can use these tools to build momentum throughout the sales process all the way to its natural conclusion.
Remember, closing is based on the momentum you’ve built up until that point. And just like with the plane, it's going to land. How smoothly it lands is all a matter of how well you did in guiding it toward the runway.