Commitment and Closing on the Phone

Yes Tags

How many of us have had the local lads round on a Sunday morning, phrasing their question along the lines of:-

  • “I don’t suppose you want your car washed?”

Our answer will usually be “No, thanks”

Rephrased to say:-

  • “You’d like a nice clean car, wouldn’t you?”

Would stand a lot better chance of success because of the positive attitude mode it puts the customer in.

These questions are known as “Yes Tags” and include:

  • Didn’t it
  • Isn’t it
  • Haven’t they
  • Hasn’t it
  • Shouldn’t it

There are hundreds of other examples that I am sure you’ll be able to think of yourself, won’t you?  A word of caution, whilst “Yes Tag” questions are very useful they can be seen as being a technique if used too frequently throughout a conversation. Use them sparingly and you will get results

Question the Close

Here’s an alternative way to close the sale when selling on the telephone.

Its all to do with asking questions which, of course, is the best way to keep control and casually guide the customer along the process.

Use questions to ask the customer what he or she wants to do next.  Here are some examples:

  • “We’re in agreement then aren’t we? What’s the next step?”

And my favourite…

  • “Any more questions or are you ready to go ahead”
  • “How can we make this happen?”
  • “We could start this in August…what would you like me to do?”

So get used to asking questions to close the sale, they work particularly well on the phone.

Pose as the Expert

A simple and effective close is to just recommend that we go ahead.

Put on your expert hat and say something like:

  • “I recommend we crack on with this…shall we?”

Sometimes customers like to be directed and led to the close.  They have learnt to trust you and regard you as the professional so let’s use this trust to move things along.

It’s like eating soup…

As soon as the New Year starts, my wife will always make her home made turkey soup.  The turkey carcass boils on the stove all day.  Her turkey soup is legendary because it feeds my whole family for days on end and is absolutely delicious.

We eat it for lunch, for tea and even in flasks when we enjoy our New Year walks.  It’s kind of a ritual to bring in the New Year.

Eating the soup is like closing sales.  There’s no way I’d ever dive into the soup, take an enormous spoonful and gulp it down.  I’d scoop up a little, blow on it, feel the steam with my top lip, take a sip and only then would I take a decent mouthful.

Closing the sale is the same concept.  You wouldn’t go charging in would you?

If you test the soup first to see how hot it is, you’ll not burn your tongue.  Likewise if you test the customer first, you’ll not spoil the call.  So how do you do this?

It’s like dating in your early teens.  Before you asked the person out for the date of their dreams you checked with their friends to see if they were seeing anyone else and you might even have spoken to their best friends to assess your chances.  Only then did you pluck up enough courage to ask them out.

People that didn’t follow this rule were either really successful in the dating stakes or had red cheeks from all those slaps!

Test, trial, close

The three types of questions you will want to ask leading up to the close are testing questions to feel the temperature of the soup, trial questions to taste a little of the soup and then closing questions to drink the soup.

Testing questions

Throughout the sales call you’ll want to see how the customer is feeling about your product or service.  Are they warming to you and the product or not?

You can tell all is going well verbally and non-verbally.  Verbally the customer is replying to your questions positively.

  • “How do you feel about those benefits?”
  • “Does it all make sense so far?”
  • “Have I missed anything you’d like to know about?”

Trial Questions

Back to my dating analogy, I remember when I met my wife at a party for the first time.  Obviously she wasn’t my wife then!  “Claire” I said getting terribly tongue tied, “hypothetically speaking, if I was to take you out one evening, would you have any objections?”

She accused me of being a lawyer at that moment and I nearly blew it completely.  15 years later we now laugh about my ridiculous trial close.  Although not very elegant, it worked.  It made her laugh and she said she would say yes.  So I did and here I am today happily married and with three children too.

The same process needs to be followed in sales.  You’ve tested the water and now need to be sure the customer is ready to say yes.

Questions are needed here which serve as trial closes.  A few questions need asking such as:

  • “Is this what you had in mind?”
  • “Does this fit your panel?”
  • “If I can arrange that for you, would you be interested?”
  • “Are you OK with the product offering?”

In many cases your questions will throw up “no’s” or “I’m not sure” or “I’ll let you know“.  Dealing with customer concerns deserves more time spent which I’ll give you later.  But the best learning point here is that concerns or issues that are thrown out will tell you how close you are to the final close.  If you have too many concerns from your customer, they’re not ready to buy so you’ll want to go back to more benefits or re-analysing their real needs.  Get yourself into reverse gear

  • “If we got this going for you, would you be interested in supporting us throughout this year?”

Closing Questions

When I’ve tested the temperature of my wife’s soup, taken a sip, I then have no hesitation in taking a really big spoonful and popping this straight into my mouth.  Mmm…this tastes really good.  I just know it’s going to be delicious.

In the same way when selling, if you’ve tested the customer for a buying signal, trialled some questions with them, then you just know they’re going to say yes.  You just expect or assume they’ll buy.

So phrase your closing questions assuming they’ll say yes.

  • “Let’s go ahead then?”
  • “Shall we get the prop sorted then?”
  • “Shall we get the ball rolling then?”

Remember to go silent just after you’ve asked the final close question.  Silence can be very loud in these situations but you need to keep quiet.

Remember to follow the three stage process which is very customer friendly and fits the rapport selling model:

  • Test
  • Trial
  • Close by asking to go ahead