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8 Quirky Closes That Save Sales

We all have been driven crazy by prospects who start playing games when it comes time to close a deal.
Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a pocketful of techniques to draw from that will save the sale?  Some of these tactics might seem bizarre and unique, but they get people to stop playing around.

Here are my favorite creative language tips:

[1] Kiss Off Tough Prospects and Bring ’Em Back
You know that tough prospect? You ran the numbers and everything looked good. Now they refuse to answer your calls and emails.

Get in front of them. Tell them you just want to say one sentence: “It seems like there’s no circumstance under which you would ever do business with me.”

Resistant prospects disagree with everything. So they will disagree with your comment. Almost everyone to whom I’ve taught this reported their prospects said the same thing: “That’s not necessarily true.”

Your response: “Really? So under what circumstance would we work together?” And they are back in the game! Because they will describe a scenario under which you would do business. It might be a long shot. But you have found a phrase that can revive a sale.

[2] Identify Whether Prospects Are Motivated by Pain or Gain
Do we offer benefits and good things, or do we discuss pain and problems we can solve? Guess what? Both gain and pain work. You just need to have the right conversation with the right prospect.

Here’s the question to help you discover which prospect is motivated by which approach: “What’s important to you about X?” For example: “What’s important to you about managing your money?”

Here are two responses you might hear:

“I want a solid return so my wife and I can take a cruise (good things/benefits).”

“I lost 25 percent of my portfolio and need someone to give me better advice (there’s a load of pain).”
If you don’t get a clear answer, dig deeper with “Tell me more about that.” You’ll soon find out whether you are working with a gain-based or pain-based decision-maker.

[3] Slap Your Prospect Into a Reality Check
You’re with a prospect whose beliefs seem to make no sense. You’ve shown them how they can do significantly better with their buying decision. Yet their thinking is just off.

Say this: “Can we pretend – for just a few minutes – that we’re absolutely the best friends in the world? Because I want to say some things that I wouldn’t dare say unless we were friends.”

What would you say if someone asked you that question? You’d be intrigued! Your prospect will respond with something like “Yeah, go ahead.” Now you can go off on them.  After all, friends tell it like it is.
So you’ll fire off all the reasons they should buy from you, but you’ll lead with, “Are you out of your mind? This is a really bad decision. As your friend, I’d like to point out…” Then list your key selling points: higher return on investment, safety, recovery, eliminating bad products used in the past. Just unload. Get into the role. Be incredulous, gesture, show surprise. Then when you’re done, pause, smile and say, “Hey, thanks for letting me be your best friend for a few moments there.” Then shut up. Let them respond to reality.

[4] Save a Sale With Sarcasm
One objection prospects use to avoid talking about certain insurance products involves saying something like, “We’re too old to buy an annuity.”
Now, they knew how old they were when they ate that nice meal you bought them, when they accepted the numbers you ran for them, when they enjoyed cookies and coffee in your office. So that’s not a legitimate objection.

Look at your prospects, smile and say, “We have sea turtles older than you as our clients.”
Essentially what you’re saying is, “OK, quit playing games. We’re putting time into figuring this out, and you can’t bail on me for something as silly as this.” The smile is key to sounding playful, not critical. Then continue with your presentation.

For this trick, I suggest you have a good, funny response for each of your top objections. Let people know you’re fun to be with even though you’re serious about improving their condition.

[5] Rip the Competition
Here’s a technique I call “gap questions.” You ask the prospect a question where the answer is embarrassing to your competition. To do this, you must know what your competitor doesn’t offer. Here’s an example.
“When your current advisor did your quarterly review, did they point out some changes to make in order to slow down losses or expand returns?”

The prospect has never had a quarterly review and awkwardly says, “Uh, we’ve never had a quarterly review.” You raise your eyebrows and reply, “Oh, that makes a big difference. We do quarterly reviews.”
Even if you were taught to never attack your competition, this is a safe way to point out some flaws in your competitors’ offerings.

[6] Frame a Sale
People often think all financial products are the same. So use a metaphor to frame how special your offering is. One of my favorite frames uses computers.

“Remember typewriters? You’d bang away at those old mechanical things. Then the IBM Selectric came along to make letter-writing easier. Then the IBM PC, then the Apple MacBook. This product is the iPad Air of financial tools. It’s the latest, the best of the best – exactly what the world needs now.”

You’ve given your prospect a highly credible statement they can easily relate to. It helps them see your offerings in a new light. Framing is a powerful tool. Come up with metaphors to match all your offerings, and be ready to use them.

[7] Reframe a Sale
Sometimes people’s ideas about the outcome of your offerings are a bit short-sighted. You begin to get comments like “Don’t want to change, don’t like to, don’t need to.” In situations like this, you want to reframe the situation or show prospects that their logical outcome is not quite accurate.

My favorite reframe comes from a psychologist working with a woman who was obsessed with cleaning her house. The doctor asked the woman to picture a perfect house, everything spotless and pristine.

The doctor then said, “Realize that how clean this is means that you are totally alone. All the people you love are nowhere around.”

Suddenly, clean equaled no loved ones – a powerful reframe.
Your reframe is a logical conclusion that points to the wisdom of your solution. A touch of emotional context will help too: “Staying with your current advisor/investments is like keeping an old used car. Things are going wrong, and they’re gonna get worse.”

[8] Discourage a Prospect Into Buying
It’s early in a sales conversation, and you’d like to test how strongly a prospect feels about making a change. Try this: “Let me ask you something about what we’re discussing. What if you did nothing? I mean leave things the way they are. Don’t spend any money, don’t make any changes, don’t do anything?”

The last time a client of mine used this technique on a business executive, he received an amazing response.
The prospect exploded, “Hell no! We are absolutely changing insurance.” He described a claim that was rejected for his son’s sports injury. The advisor and I both knew the claim would get covered eventually. But the experience was so frustrating, so toxic for this business owner that he ranted for five minutes, wrapping up with, “My wife and I are sick of calling the company, our broker, anyone who’d listen. We’re switching now.”

That sale was closed quickly.

Your ability to influence others comes from a combination of experience, coaching and mental agility. Put some of these advanced language skills into practice and see how they help you close more sales.

Dan Seidman is the 2013 International Sales Training Leader of the Year (Stevie® Awards) and designer of the global sales training program for the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). He is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Sales Training. Contact Dan, write to [email protected].

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