Legendary Closes

One of the reasons mature people stop learning is they become less and less willing to risk failure.
John Gardner

The professional salesperson knows that every prospect has a close that fits him or her—one that appeals to him on a most personal level. The secret is to find out which one will resonate most deeply with your prospect so you can obtain a favorable response and make the sale.

There are several closes below that have been successful for decades in selling. Although you might know some of them by other names, anyone who has been in sales for even a short period of time will recognize many of them. Others may be new to you. You might like some of them; you might hate others. It’s important to be completely comfortable with the closes that work best for your style and personality. As you go through the following closes, adapt them to match your style and selling situation. Whichever closes you choose to adopt, practice them, role play them, and perfect them. The more you practice, the more they will flow naturally. The one thing that is certain is that if you don’t ask prospects to buy, they won’t.

Very often a prospect’s question or objection gives you the perfect segue into closing the sale and you must be alert for such opportunities. This is also called the conditional sale because it sets a condition that if met results in a closed sale.

For example:

Prospect: How quickly will I learn French with your program?
Salesperson: How quickly do you want to learn it? Obviously the sooner you start, the sooner you will begin enjoying the benefits. Let’s get things going now.

* * * * *

Prospect: Do you have it in red?
Salesperson: If I can find a red one, do you want to take it with you?

The Straightforward Close

Mr. Miller, based on what you have seen, do you think that Legendary Country Club is the type of club where you would like to become a member?

The Assumptive Close

Always assume that the prospect is going to buy. The assumptive close handles the sales interaction as if you were certain that the prospect would buy.
Mr. Miller, based on our conversation it seems like this solution meets most of your criteria. Would you like to start using it at once before the price increase?

The Alternative Close

The alternative close is perhaps the best known of all closing techniques and has many variations, depending on the exact circumstances. Another common name for it is the “either-or” close. This close gives the prospect the choice between buying and buying, between yes and yes.

Shall we put an offer in on this property, or the first property we looked at today?

* * * * *

Would you like to start your dance classes tonight, or would tomorrow night be more convenient for you?

When you give the prospect a choice of free benefits, it is much more difficult to say no:

“Would you like the free gift or the free month of service?”

When your prospect is on the verge of making a buying decision, the most direct way of closing the sale is to ask how he intends to pay for it. This approach can best be used when a prospect has made the decision to buy, but is asking unrelated questions—the kind that prevent him from giving you the order.

At this point, “Will you be using a credit card or cash?” is the best way to take control of the sale and complete it.

Each one of the previous alternative closes offers the prospect a choice. No matter which one they choose, they will feel committed to buy once they have made the choice.

The Action Close

In the action close you ask the prospect to do something to accelerate the process and help them make a positive decision.

Shall we head over to the design center and pick your carpets?

* * * * *

Shall I get the car detailed for you while we finish the paperwork?

The Minute-or-Cents Close

If you have a prospect who is stuck on price, the way to handle it is to break it down to ridiculous proportions. This is how life insurance has been sold for decades, but this type of close works just as well selling any mid- to high-end product, especially to value-oriented prospects. When you show people how little your service will cost them on a daily basis, it makes it much easier for them to justify, or rationalize, the purchase.

Due to the efficiency of this machine, your copies will only cost about one cent per copy. I am sure you will agree the savings this offers easily justifies the investment.

* * * * *

This website, with all the features and benefits it offers, comes to just $9.95 a day.”

* * * * *
Membership in our health club is just a dollar a day.
Isn’t your health worth a dollar a day?”

The Puppy-Dog Close

This close is often used when a prospect is hesitant to purchase because of price. The “giveaway” close, or puppy-dog close as it is often called, allows the prospect to enjoy your product or service for a period of time before making a final decision on whether to buy. Once the prospect has experienced the product in a risk-free way and been treated well by your staff, he will almost always buy. He’d almost be embarrassed not to.

Here’s an example of a close with a copier machine playing the role of the puppy:

Ms. Prospect, we have already agreed that you need this new copier. The speed and sorting capabilities will enhance your business. With your permission, I am going to have a machine delivered to you on Monday and let you see first hand just how valuable it will prove to be for your business. If at the end of two weeks the advantages are not readily apparent to you, I will remove it with no questions asked. Shall we go ahead and set that trial period in motion for you now?

There are almost an unlimited number of ways to close a sale. I’ve covered just a few of most successful ones here. Try them, say them out loud, and role play them with your staff.


Find the closes that seem most natural for you and put them into action at once.

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