Ah, news radio. I typically only listen in the car when my wife isn’t with me, but I enjoy keeping up with world events, political bickering, even a smattering of celebrity gossip. It’s one of my guilty pleasures.
There is, though, a price I pay. Yep, I endure a significant number of paid advertisements for buying gold, investing in bonds, dumping timeshares and of course, the inevitable ads for improving sales performance.
I just heard one of my favorites.
The ad begins with a tried and true set of metrics. “20% of your sales people produce 80% of your sales. 80% of your sales people never ask for the order. 90% of sales people have never read a book on selling. The average sale happens on the 5th call.”
I won’t argue with these statistics. I’ve heard them before and they are all probably closer to the truth than not. I did, though, get a little chuckle from the offer.
“Let me send you a free book on how to close.”
A whole book? Not a pamphlet or a single sheet? The reality is he could have given listeners all they needed in his 60-second ad.
You see, when I first started in sales I learned very quickly how important closing was. It seemed like every conversation we had about sales had that word close in it. I’d hear things like “What are you going to close this month?” Or I’d hear the top producers in our office described as ‘heavy closers.’ When the veterans got together they were always talking about how they ‘closed’ their last big deal.
With all this emphasis on that word ‘close’ I decided that if I was going to become a true sales professional, I’d better master closing. So I got all the sales books I could find and began studying closing techniques. I was amazed at how many ‘closes’ there were. There was the alternative choice close: ‘Would you like that in ash or black?’ There was the assumptive close: ‘So we’ll plan to install it next Tuesday?’ Then there was the puppy dog close: ‘Well why don’t we just hook it up and if you don’t like it, we’ll come back and take it out.’ And of course there was the ever popular Ben Franklin close (I didn’t even know that Ben was IN sales), where you draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and on one side of the page you list all the pros and on the other side all the cons.
Though I had made myself aware of all these closing techniques, I had a problem. First, it was real tough to figure out which one to use at what time. Was it the right time for the alternative choice here or Ben Franklin? Figuring out which close to use became more difficult than doing it. I also noticed that it didn’t seem to make much difference which close I used, no particular technique seemed any more convincing than any other.
What I finally decided I needed was a single, all-purpose close, the granddaddy of all closes, a close I could use at any time with any buyer. So I sat down and I pondered, then I wrote and pondered some more. I’d role-play, write, rewrite, ponder and role-play again. Finally, after trial and error, minor success and major failure, I struck the mother lode, the use whenever with whomever close.
Watch for my blog next week where I will reveal the MOTHER OF ALL CLOSES!!!