The Loop: Filling Your Calendar
With Work, Part 5

It’s the winning score, the bottom line, the name of the game, and the point of it all. Over the past several weeks, we’ve looked at building a prospect list, qualifying, presenting, overcoming objections, and they’re all important.

But, unless you can close, you’re like a football team that never gets the ball across the goal line.

So, welcome to the wonderful world of closing – our last stop on The Loop. (If you’ve missed previous issues, you can access them here.)

Today, I’m going to share with you a couple of ways to successfully conclude the sale. Master these simple techniques, and you’ll always have a paycheck to deposit.

If you’ve been keeping up with current events, you’ll notice that I’m still sitting here with my resume prospect, Bob.

I’ve put him on my list … I’ve qualified him … I’ve presented my services to him … and I’ve overcome his objections.

Now it’s time to close the deal.

Step #5: The Close

Make no mistake, closing is the bottom line. If you don’t love it now, start falling in love, because The Close is where the money is.

To understand what closing is, it’s a good idea to understand what closing isn’t.

Closing is not a series of cunning techniques some slick salesperson uses to manipulate people into buying something they don’t want, don’t need, won’t use, or can’t afford.

Closing is a skill that a professional salesperson uses to lead a client to a decision that benefits him, the client.

I’m going to share with you a couple of closing techniques I’ve found most useful in building my part-time business. But before diving in, here are some valuable tips.

Memorize a Few Techniques: Less Is More

My Uncle Mike was a homicide cop with the New York City Police Department back in the days when cops were only men … big men … what best-selling author Joseph Wambaugh likes to call “monster cops.”

Even in a room full of giants, Uncle Mike stood out. He was easily a head taller than anybody on the force. To this day, I swear his shoulders were at least a yard wide.

When I graduated from college, Uncle Mike was at our house for the little graduation party my parents threw for me.

I remember talking to my dad and Uncle Mike, telling them about all the wonderful things I was going to do with my life.

Uncle Mike put a hand on my shoulder big enough for me to sit in. He leaned down, looked me in the eye, and said, “Tom, watch out for the guy with just one gun – because you can bet your life he knows how to use it.”

That was “police-speak” telling me to master one thing at a time.

There are dozens of closing techniques. Just like there are dozens of ways to counter objections.

I’m going to teach you just one or two. I suggest you practice them until they become second nature.

I’d rather you have one or two techniques that will help you close 90% of your prospects, than give you 90 techniques that so confuse you, you end up closing only 10% of your prospects.

Ask … and You Will Receive

I’m always amazed at how hesitant people are to ask for the sale.

I remember one seminar I taught where I asked if anyone could lend me the keys to a Cadillac for demonstration purposes. One gentleman tossed me his keys.

Then I asked if anyone could let me borrow a $20 bill for a little demo. Another guy handed me a twenty.

Next, I asked a couple seated in front if they were married. They said they were. I asked them if it was okay for the wife to join me onstage for a minute. Up she came.

I then asked the audience what had just happened. They just sat there, looking at each other.

Pointing to each gentleman in succession, I said, “I’ve got this guy’s car keys, this guy’s twenty and this guy’s wife – and all I had to do was ASK!”

They got the point.

Asking for the order is the fundamental quality of the top sales professional. So, the foremost closing instruction is to ask for the sale.

The Final Instruction … Silence

When it comes to the close, silence is truly golden. As sales trainer extraordinaire Brian Tracy puts it:

“The only pressure you are allowed to use in a sales presentation is the pressure of silence after you have asked the closing question.”

After you ask a closing question, it is absolutely critical that you remain silent and wait for an answer. It’s like whoever speaks first, loses.

If you say anything prior to receiving a response, you take the pressure off the prospect to answer your question.

By remaining silent, there are only two possible outcomes:

  1. The prospect answers the closing question and commits to the sale.
  2. The prospect answers the closing question, giving you the reason he will not buy.

If he commits, it’s simply a matter of filling out the paperwork. If he does not commit, you find his true objection or concern. This allows you to overcome the objection and move forward with the closing process until you conclude the sale.

Which brings us back to Bob. Remember Bob?

The “No” Close

Pay strict attention! Bob and I are going to give you the easiest, most powerful close there is. Ironically, it actually elicits the response a salesperson fears most, which is “No.”

First, I’m going to gently nudge Bob into saying no:

“Is there anything else?”

Remembering that silence is golden, I shut up and wait for Bob to answer.

“No,” he says. “I guess that’s pretty much it.”

“Great,” I say, as I slide the sales agreement across the table to him. “Just sign here, and I’ll get started right away!”

See how easy that is?

The “Alternatives” Close

I could just as easily have concluded the sale by offering Bob two (or more) alternatives.

With this technique, you offer a choice between something and something, rather than a choice between something and nothing.

I would never ask Bob, “Do you want this or not?” That’s a question that would allow him to say no.

Instead I could offer him a choice: “Bob, will you be paying cash, or would you prefer to put it on your credit card?”

Whatever his answer, my response is the same – “Great. Just sign here, and I’ll get started right away!”

In my resume business, these are about the only two closes I use.

That’s the power of The Loop – you’ve made a list … you’ve qualified your prospects … you’ve set the stage for success by delivering a knock-‘em-dead presentation … you’ve overcome any objections … and you’ve closed the sale.

Done correctly – in this precise order – these techniques will not only improve your results, but they’ll also build your self-confidence and income.

Speaking of which – if you think a resume business would be a perfect fit for you, get your hands on AWAI’s Pro Resume Writer Program ASAP. Resume guru Julien A. Sharp will teach you to write powerhouse resumes and other job search materials. On top of that, she’ll tell you how to build a huge resume business from the ground up.

One thing I’m certain of – the largest, most profitable resume business in the world has yet to be built. Maybe that resume business will be yours.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: July 7, 2009

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