Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Close and How to Use It

The sales close is a tool to gain a decision when seeking a desired outcome. It is not manipulation as some might suggest but rather an effective communication skill and, whether you are the interviewer or the interviewee, it is a key methodology to gain necessary decision-making information. After all, a primary difference between a marketer and a sales person is the ability to extract a decision. At its root and applying deductive logic, in sales, a “yes” means yes, “no” means no and “maybe” means no.
The close is something we use and experience every day although we rarely notice it in our day-to-day lives. Here are some examples you should learn to recognize and incorporate for your own usage during the interview process:
Assumptive Close
        “Yes, I’d like to meet with you again - Monday is good for me, how does your schedule look?”
        “So how about a soup or a salad to go with your meal?”
(with this close, you are showing decisiveness and a proactive character. It also demonstrates interest.) 
Alternative Close (one or the other)
        “Yes, I look forward to meeting you. Are you available on Wednesday or Friday?”
        “Would you like the red one, or the blue one?”
(this positions you to win, regardless of the choice.)
Columbo (“Oh, by the way”) Close
        “Oh, by the way, did I mention I saved the company money by improving production and fewer faulty widgets?”
        “Oh, by the way, did I mention that today we offer buy 1 and get the 2nd at half-price?”
(this is a good way to make one more impactful point to leave them wanting more, or a conversation extender)
Puppy Dog Close (no obligation / money-back close)
        “I am interested in this job and, if given the opportunity, I will work hard for you. If, after 6 months you’re not satisfied with my work, I will leave no questions asked.”
        “Sure, take the puppy home and if, after a few weeks you’re not happy with him, you can bring him back for a refund.”
(human nature suggests that most people will keep something they’ve purchased even if they have a few doubts, rather than to go through the steps to return it. With the puppy example, people will become attached to it even if it is not perfect)
Take-away Close (last resort close)
        “We’ve been taking now for 3 months and this is my 6th interview – OR – It’s been 2 months since our last communication. It doesn’t appear you are interested - so maybe we shouldn’t continue...”
        “We’ve been dating now for 6 years and I don’t see a wedding proposal anytime soon, I don’t think I want to invest any more time…”
(this method helps to resolve long processes to press for a decision. There could be a very good reason for the delay, but you deserve to know the reason in order to apply it to your decision-making process going forward. If their decision is to end the process, you’re saving time and energy in order to move on, in another direction. CAUTION: never use this close unless you mean it)
No Means Yes (the “Is It..” close)
·        “it’s obvious that you’re not ready to move forward. What is it that is holding you back?”
·        “I can see this is not the right shirt / blouse for you. Is it the color that you don’t like?”
(this is another form of the take-away close. It is utilized to learn more specifically the reason(s) for resistance in order to either clarify and present a remedy, or simply gain clarification.) 
Direct Close (go for the throat)
        “I want this job, what’s the next step?”
        “How can we put you in this car today?”
(when it is obvious, just ask)
There are some who think utilizing closes like those listed here are passé, out of style or rude. Nothing could be further from the truth. As with everything it is not what you say, but rather how you say it. Indeed, if you sound like a huckster you’ll be treated like one, DUH! But, in a friendly or business conversational context these are not just helpful, but in my view, essential if you are doing your part as an interactive participant in a process that directly impacts you and your family. Pardon my sarcasm but, don’t you have an obligation to yourself to negotiate in your own self-interest or perhaps you can find an App to do it for you.

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