When to Assume the Sale, and Not Look Like an A–

in Closing

A reader emailed me with a question, looking for information on “assuming the sale.” I’ll share the answer with you as well.

You need to be careful here. The old school, tactical methods of selling say that you should “assume the sale as soon as the prospect shows some interest.”

I disagree.

That’s annoying, salesy, cheesy, and wrong in most cases.

It makes the salesperson look like an a–.

And you’ve probably had it happen to you.

For example, you’re in a car dealership, or worse, sitting through a timeshare sales presentation, not even close to the point of buying, and the sales rep is filling out something that appears to be a contract!

(They disguise it as, “just taking down some information.”)

Or consider the sales rep who uses the old “Assumptive Close” and says, “Where will we be delivering this to?”, to which the prospect responds, “I never said I even wanted it yet!”

In all of these cases, the prospect had not yet crossed the emotional buying bridge, and felt uneasy being subjected to the tactics.

The “Buying Bridge” Theory

When people buy, they ultimately pass over a bridge that takes them from indecision, to the decision to purchase.

Try to assume the sale before they even get close to the bridge, and you’re dead in the water—under the bridge. In other cases, they’ve already crossed it, when they call you to order, for example.

Our job as salespeople is to recognize where they are, help them cross the bridge, and ultimately get the final commitment.

Where they are in relation to the bridge determines how you should handle the call. Here are some signals and courses of action.

When they’re close to the bridge:

They not only talk about a need they have, but mention doing something about it. “We have been considering making a change.”

Your Action: Get them thinking more about the reasons they’re interested in doing something. This will fire up the problem or need driving them. “What are some of the reasons causing you to consider changing?”

When they’re on the bridge:

They speak in future terms of what they will get as a result of what you’re offering. “I believe it’s something that all of the employees would benefit from.”

Your Action: Ask more questions to strengthen their beliefs, “In what different ways do you think they would benefit?” This way they make the journey on their own. A much stronger sale.

When they’ve crossed the bridge:

Listen for indicators of mental possession, meaning they’ve already begun enjoying–in their mind–the results of what you can deliver:

“I think we’d bring all of our reps in town for the training.”

Your Action: Solidify the details. It’s here where you can assume the sale, because THEY have.

“That sounds like a good idea. Do you have a location in mind?”

Here are some other ideas to help them further visualize owning and using the results of what you sell. For example,

“… and when you use the new machine you’ll notice…?”

“… and who do you think you’d designate as the main user?”

“… where do you think you’d put it?”

“… how would that work in your office?”

Assuming the sale is a good technique—when used at the right time, in the right way.

(This is just one of the over 1600 pieces of sales messaging that you’ll get in Smart Calling Online, my massive collection of just about everything I’ve produced on sales and prospecting–plus contributions from many other experts. http://smartcallingonline.com/main/)


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