A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to Closing a Sale

A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to Closing a Sale

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Someone sent me a list of “sales closes” the other day. It seems they all have names. “The trail close,” “The order blank close,” “The Ben Franklin close,” “The sharp angle close,” and so on into the night (close, or is that clothes). Anyway, it struck me that cute name closes rarely work. In fact, they usually have the reverse effect.

Salespeople still living in the 19th century think that high pressure sales tactics will work. They don’t. Sounding like a salesperson puts the prospect on the defensive.

When all else fails in sales, I have created an entirely new set of outrageous cute name closes. These will not work on the prospect, but they are guaranteed to make you laugh at the process:

The “I’ll buy you lunch” close… You say, “Hey, you buy my product, throw in an extra 20 bucks, and I’ll buy you lunch.”

The “impatient” close… You say, “Hey, I haven’t got all day, are you buying or not?” (this is a variation of the New York close…”Hey, I haven’t got all day, are you buying or not, you idiot.”)

The physical action” close… The prospect decides he doesn’t want to buy, you beat him to a pulp until he says “uncle,” which is actually a Latin derivative word meaning “OK, I’ll order.”

The “how could you be so stupid not to buy from me” close… Since you’re already thinking this while walking out the door of a lost sale, you may as well try it a few times in front of the prospect.

The “fear of loss” close… You tell the prospect his hair will fall out if he doesn’t buy. This is a very real close. Someone tried it on me once. I didn’t buy, and, well, the rest is history (so is my hair).

The “insurance” close… Buy from me and nobody gets hurt. This close has worked in gangster movies for decades. I’m surprised no right-thinking Fortune 500 company has adapted it to their sales practices, since they’re already using it in customer service.

The “number on the bathroom wall” close… Start writing the prospect’s phone number on the walls of prominent area bathrooms with the slogan “for an indecisive time call…”

The “car salesman” close… You act like you know everything and the customer is dumb. Then you insult the customer by using high pressure tactics because you’re afraid that if they “walk” without buying, then some other car salesman will pressure them higher than you. This is called LoseLose selling because both the sales techniques and the people who employ them are losers.

The “filibuster” close… You talk nonstop for three days, until the guy gets so frustrated that he agrees to double his original order if you’ll just shut up and leave. (This close works better in the south where they invented the filibuster. In the north, you’re likely to be beaten or shot after the first day.)

The “begging” close… You get on your knees, begin crying about your bad luck, and how much you need the money because your rent is past due. You know, the truth.

The “camp out” close… You bring food and a sleeping bag to the prospect’s office. This is very effective for follow-up, since you’re already there. If the person is very indecisive, you might want to take some socks and underwear.

The “Pleeeaase, I’ll be your best friend” close… It worked in grade school.

The “lying” close…You tell the customer anything you want. You tell him anything he wants to hear, so you can make your sale. Hey, wait a minute, you’re already doing that.

and finally…

The “just be honest” close… Nah, that would never work.

Closing is only frustrating if you haven’t identified customer needs, shown the right attitude, made a memorable presentation, and were perceived as genuine help. These closes are far fetched, indeed. But not as far fetched as trying to use the timeworn closes of yesteryear on today’s prospect.

And of course, funny is not just limited to closing the sale. Here’s one for building rapport,“You know, Mr. Johnson, I know I hardly know you, and we should build some rapport before the sale begins, so can I come over for dinner tonight?

Next week we’ll get serious. Kind of.


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