In the ‘Artisan Close’, the sales person emphasizes the art, skill and ability that has gone into the creation of the product or service that is being sold.
This Kitchen Mixer has been designed by skilled engineers and designers who have literally thousands of hours of study behind them.
It may seem like a simple adjustment, but it took three years of training to know how to make the right adjustment.
How it works
When we are going to buy something, we evaluate it in terms of the work that went into it. If we think it was easy to make, then we value it less. Often we do not realize the effort and skill required to produce something and hence think it is worth very little.
Selling with the Artisan Close adds perceived value simply by describing the skill of those who made the item and the time spent in producing it.
There is a similar and slightly different effect in service, where the perceived value can be enhanced by explaining the training and skill of those who will be delivering the service.
One of the nice things about selling promotional products is that many of your customers may be small businesses; that could mean that you end up selling to a “couple” or business partners on a number of occasions. This presents a great closing opportunity: The Companion close. By creating an ally on the other side of the table you double your chances of getting to “Yes” and closing the deal.
Rather than sell directly to the person you are targeting, sell to a person they are with.
This can be a husband, wife, child, friend, grandparent, etc.
Start by being friendly with them (the target person won’t mind this) then gradually increase the selling to them.
Cast them as an authority (particularly as they buy into your idea).
When they are making approving noises or say they would like one, start selling to the real target of the sale.
Rope in the companion as a sales assistant.
If you are lucky, you might make two sales!
Hello young man, that’s a nice hat! Do you like shoes too?…Do you like these?
Good day sir, madam…You seem to like this too, madam…Which shade is best?…
How it works
The Companion Close works because the companion to whom you are selling the idea does not have to make a financial or other commitment and so will be more ready to agree with you.
When the real target of the sale sees that the other person has agreed, they are more likely to also agree, in order to maintain consistency with their thoughts of their companion being intelligent and to maintain harmony in their relationship with them.
Use a happy customer to convince the other person.
Show them letters from happy customers. Have the letters on the wall.
If you are using the name of the happy customer, make sure they agree to you doing this. Otherwise you will have to use an anonymous reference, such as ‘satisfied customer from Birmingham’ or ‘major airline’.
Persuade happy customers act as references, that the other person can either call up or they can visit. Reward the happy customer with appropriate thanks, which may range from a simple letter to a small present to a discount. Be very careful here to ensure the customer feels valued and does not feel they are being bribed.
I regularly receive letters from happy customers. Here are a few.
XYZ Corporation are regular customers.
We have several customers who are happy to act as reference sites for us. Would you like me to arrange a visit for you?
How it works
The Testimonial Close works by providing evidence from a credible source. If they do not trust you, they are much more likely to trust someone who is similar to them.
From time to time in the course of making a sale, you come across an objection that the product you’re offering is not what the client is looking for. When this happens you need to change course quickly and adapt to what they want to buy, from what you want to sell.
The alternative close works by offering more than one clearly defined alternative to the customer.
The number of alternative should be very few – two or three is often quite adequate. If you offer too many alternatives, the customer will then be faced with a more complex problem of how they choose between the many alternatives offered.
Note that this technique works well in many different situations where you are seeking agreement, and not just selling products.
An extra technique that can be effective is to add a slight nod when offering the preferred choice. This can be accompanied by subtle verbal emphasis on the words.
Would you prefer the red one or the yellow one?
Would you like one packet or two?
Which of these three instruments seems best for you?
Shall we meet next week or the week after?
How it works
The Alternative Close is a variant on the broader-based Assumptive Close and works primarily through the assumption principle, where you act as if the customer has already decided to buy, and the only question left is which of a limited number of options they should choose.
Wanted an attention grabbing promotion that directly tied into the experience of the new tobasco sauce. They wanted to create a buzz and experience people will not forget even after they leave the fair.
Cinnamint breath spray.
People loved the “hotness” of the spicy spray and thought it was pretty cool instead of just sampling tobasco sauce, even though that was important as well. It created a buzz the client wanted.
As part of our ongoing series of sales case studies; today we present:
Goal of the event/promotion:
Promote Safety and Wellness
Type of event/promotion:
On-going promotion within organization
Wanted a practical product that directly tied into safety & wellness program. The product must be used and seen as an important part of Chevron’s initiative to protect their employees on a regular basis.
Lip balm with SPF, hand sanitizer, sunscreen lotions
and travel kits.
Chevron’s safety groups especially like the sanitizer – they have reported that regular use has lowered sickness and employee sick days.
That is good for several reasons: it keeps their production lines running
smoothly, reduces accidents and errors and improves moral/productivity.
Finding the right closing technique can be difficult; sizing up your opponent (read client) in the war of words that is sales can give you an advantage over getting past objections and getting to Yes. Lead them down the path the you want and eventually it will become their path.
The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain. – Sun Tzu
If you want a person to take a particular option, do not mention it directly, but show how all other options are not feasible or undesirable.
Then let them choose the option themselves.
Sorry, we’re out of that one…Oh that one is really expensive…And that one has got really bad reviews and I wouldn’t recommend it…
How it works
Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese General who wrote the classic text about winning wars without fighting, said ‘Build your enemies a golden bridge’. By this he meant that you corner them, and then rather than fighting (whence they, having nothing to lose, would fight to the death), you back off a little and let them leave with dignity – just in the direction that you want them to go.
The Golden Bridge Close thus works by closing off all options except the one you want.
One of the most important stages of selling is closing the deal, which is the actions taken by the sales person to gain agreement to the sale. There are many closing techniques in sales, which are prescribed actions that sales people take to persuade the customer to make the necessary commitment.
Offer them something attractive, then retract the offer, taking it away.
Then make them work to get it back. You might find they’re desperate enough to pay full price.
Here’s what you were looking for. Oh, hang on, it’s already been reserved for someone else. … Well, if you want to pay cash now, maybe I could order a replacement in time for the other customer.
Ladies and gentlemen, would you pay 20 for this potato peeler? Of course you would and many have, but I’m not going to let you have it. Not yet. Now I’m going to add this utility knife and this apple corer, both worth 15 each and only ask 25 for the whole lot. Now I’ve only a few left, who’s going to take them? Thank you madam! Yes sir, one’s for you…
How it works
When a person sees something desirable, they start to psychologically close on it. Even paying attention creates a weak sense of ownership. When you take the product away, you affect the person’s need for a sense of control with the result that they will likely fight back, figuratively trying to take back what is ‘theirs’.
The scarcity principle says that people want what is scarce, and the more scarce it is, the more they want it.
If you find yourself in a long winded pitch, it may be necessary to summarize your bullet points to your client. Try the 1-2-3 close to remind them in nice short terms why they should buy from you now.
Summarize in sets of three items. We will give you this, that and the other.
This may be features of the product, benefits or add-on sweetener items.
There are two ways to do this: they may either be closely related (to reinforce a single point) or may be quite separate (to gain greater coverage).
Most customers want products that are free, perfect and available now. This is the classic business measurement trilogy of cost, quality and time.
This product is cheaper, faster and more reliable than the competition.
The houses here are better-looking, better-built and better-equipped than those on the other development.
If you buy today, we will give you insurance, tax and a full tank of fuel.
How it works
The 1-2-3 Close works through the principle of triples, a curious pattern where three things given together act as a coherent set of three hammer-blows that give a compelling message.
In case you haven’t heard (and I hadn’t until just this morning), ‘Sex and the City’s‘ Carrie Bradshaw is no longer a loyal Mac user. That’s right, she made one of the toughest switches known to man, she changed operating systems!
From 1998 to 2004, 94 episodes in all, Ms. Bradshaw, arguably the most famous single women in the history of history was fiercely loyal to her MacBook.
As evidenced by her new commercial for HP she is not only no longer a Mac user, but she is already ecstatic with her new Windows machine. It’s almost like watching her break-up with a long-time boyfriend; not only will she get a new man quickly, but he will be so over-the-top wonderful that she will shout it to the rooftops. All in the effort to show how ‘happy’ she is now (making sure the ex hears it, of course).
How can you retain loyalty among your followers?
Now that you are the proud owner of this useless knowledge, the question is ‘what can you do with it?’
Well, you can start by taking an inventory of your customer base and examining who your best customers are. The tendency will be to look at those big ticket clients; what we want to examine is the “Longtail” of your customer list. Which customers have been quietly faithful to you? The customer that consistently places their orders is your tortoise in this race. That unassuming client is the one I want you to focus on.
Let’s go back to the boyfriend/girlfriend scenario – make a surprise call to at least three of your smaller, but loyal, customers today. Just a simple “Hello, thank you for your business.” No selling! Resist the temptation to engage them in your most recent promotion. Just be thoughtful and appreciative, keep it simple and let your gratitude be the only reason for your call. There is a very good chance that your competition is not taking the time after orders or between orders to say kind things.
Why am I focusing on my smaller clients?
The chances are good that you already show a great amount of ‘love’ to your big customers, if you aren’t then you better start. The reason we need to take an inventory of those customers that are below the fold is that you may not realize when they shift their loyalty to your competition. If you ignore enough of them and fail to notice their departure, eventually they’ll all be gone.
Your customers and your bottom-line will thank you. The last thing you want to see is your customer out one night with your competitor.
Take these steps to be a better supplier/distributor:
Take an inventory of your customers, look at loyalty over dollar amount
Call at least three of them today, repeat tomorrow with three more
Have you ever wondered how you could create that need and be ready to fill it for your customers? The “empty-offer” close takes care of that, make the need apparent by illustrating that without your product they are unable to respond to a completely different need.
Make them a very kind offer that they cannot take up.
Offer to do something using a thing you have for sale, and which they might feasibly have but probably do not have.
Then sell them that thing. If they do have one, of course you must complete your offer with good grace – it will still help build social capital for you.
Shall I fit your spare wipers? … Oh, you have none. Well fortunately, we have some in stock…
Would you like to come to the race day … Oh of course, you’re busy.
Will you need help setting up the computer? … Oh yes, of course, your IT people will do that.
How it works
Although the Empty-offer Close does not require that you to giving them something, the rules of exchange means that they still feel that they owe you something in return for your generous offer.
Getting to “Yes” can’t always be about dropping your price. From time to time, you need to remind your customers that they “get what they pay for….” Take the price objection as an opportunity to remind your clients that your quality makes the lowest price difficult to achieve, but the value built into your price far exceeds the competition.
Emphasize quality over other factors, particularly price.
Talk about how other people will be impressed by the quality of the product.
Talk about how quality products last longer, wear less, require less maintenance, etc.
‘Sell on Quality, not on Price’
For a one-off payment you get non-stop quality.
The quality of this shows really who you are.
This will last for ever.
Once you try this, you will never want another brand.
This product is far more reliable.
How it works
The Quality Close works by appealing either to the other person’s vanity or to their sense of longer-term value. For vanity, you are associating their identity with ‘quality’. For value, you are reframing price across time.
Leesh’a•bul(s) blog is now “The Daily Lip”. After months of market research, demographics testing and tens of dollars spent, we decided that “The Daily Lip” was both relevant to our industry and products, as well as our daily commitment to bringing you information about promotional products sales and marketing….Okay, actually one of our salespeople came up with it. Enjoy!
Sometimes all it takes to get to “yes” are options. By carefully crafting your pitch, you can present different options to your client with your target sale in the middle, being the most attractive one. When the sale is presented as a matter of “which of these three is best for you?” you’ve already placed your customer in a “Yes” posture.
Make the other person three offers.
First offer them something sumptuous and expensive that is beyond their budget. Not so far beyond them that they would not consider it. Ideally, it is something they would look at wistfully but just couldn’t justify (if they do, it is your lucky day!).
Secondly, offer them a solid good deal that is within their price bracket. It may not have all that they wanted, but it is clearly good value for them.
Finally, offer a severely cut-down deal in which very little of what they want is included.
They should, of course, go for the middle option.
Well I can do you a full kitchen system with Neff units, brass tops and hand-cut ebony edging. It’s a bit pricey but is amazing quality.
A really good option is with Bosch units, hardwood tops and matching edging. This is remarkably good value.
If you are on a very tight budget, we do have some basic units, a nice laminate finish and matching surrounds.
How it works
The Bracket Close works by contrasting the preferred option both upwards and downwards.
Rejecting the higher option lets the other person feel good about not spending too much. By comparison, the option they choose seems quite prudent and they may even feel they have saved some money.
Rejecting the lower option lets them feel they are not a cheapskate and can afford something of value.
We’re adding a new series to our blog posts: Case Studies for Sales. Personal care promotional products can be a tough pitch, we want to make it easy. Follow our series on real case studies, pitches that work, and new ideas to get your sales team revved up.
Sales can be fun if you know actual closes when the customer doesn’t come to you with their wallet already open. There is a real art to sales, select your brush wisely!
Ask them several questions where the answer is easy to answer and is ‘yes’. Then tag on the question at the end for which you really want the answer ‘yes’.
The minimum set is usually three questions. You also do not want to over-do this, so either space out the questions or limit the number (although one research showed that eight yeses were needed overall before closure).
Encourage them to say yes by nodding your head gently as you talk with them.
If you need to hide the question, you can bury it amongst other questions.
Do you like coming to shop here?
Is it easy to find us?
Did this product catch your eye?
Are you ready to buy it now?
Will you want to take delivery next week?
How it works
The Yes-set Close works by setting up a repetitive pattern of ‘yes’ answers that gets the other person into a habitual response. When the pattern is established and they are automatically answering ‘yes’, then the question that you really want ‘yes’ to is slipped in.
Many people also do not particularly like to answer ‘no’ as they believe that it is impolite.
We are so glad you found our blog, and we are really excited to get it going……
Since we are all in the business of business, we thought it would be fun and informative to do a series of posts on “the close”. As salespeople (and we all are, even if that’s not our title) we craft our conversations around the desired end result. One of the most important stages to get to that result is closing the deal, which are our actions taken to gain agreement.