In the last issue, we discussed The Presentation Step, and how to create excitement and motivation to buy. The Transaction is the fifth step of the “NaB & CaPTuRe” roadmap: Need, Budget, Conviction, Presentation, Transaction, Reward.
The Transaction is that exciting moment when the customer signs the paperwork, writes a check, or hands over their credit card. Traditionally called the “Close,” guerrillas know that this is really the beginning of what we hope will be a long relationship.
“Are You Sure?”
As you finish your Presentation, prospects sometimes stiffen. They’re thinking, “UH-oh, here comes the contract.” Many customers dread this moment even if they really need the product, because they feel they’re losing control, Understanding this, guerrillas end the Presentation Stage, with something like:
“No, not really.”
“What do you see as the next step?”
“Well, don’t you have to write up an order?”
“Do you want me to write up the order?
“Yes. Let’s do this.”
You know you’ve done everything right when the customer asks you to write up the order. With that, the guerrilla fills out the order form, writes up a contract or prepares the financial paperwork. Now the guerrilla hands the form to his new customer for his or her “approval.”
As the new customer is about to sign, the guerrilla gently interrupts:
“You know, something’s still bothering me. Remember when you said you wanted mahogany? Are you sure walnut is going to be okay?”
What the guerrilla wants to hear is something like: “Yes, in fact, walnut is really going to be much better. It will be cheaper and probably fit in better with our decor.”
In the Transaction Stage, a guerrilla will recall at least one problem or objection, from earlier in the conversation, express genuine concern, and ask again if the concern is going to be a problem. In so doing, not only are you turning control back to your customer, but you’re pre-empting buyer’s remorse. By capping the issue now, the guerrilla pre-empts buyer’s remorse.
When to Close
The best time to close is all the time. Recognize that you have an opportunity to close any time the prospect makes choices, challenges, or changes.
Close any time there is a choice or small decision to be made, and that’s more often than you might think. Close early and often, especially on little things. Because people hate making big decisions, close on the small ones.
Always try to close after answering a challenge or objection. If they accept your response, they will be psychologically receptive to making a commitment. Guerrilla salespeople automatically finish their Presentation with a closing question, like, “Did I answer your question adequately?” or “Is that clear now?”
Also close any time there are changes in your prospects’ body language or changes in their criteria that could be interpreted as buying signals.
Five Types of Closes:
There are five basic closes and infinite variations. They all have the same objective: to give the prospect an opportunity to say, “Yes.”
In the Prescription Close, you carefully probe, ask questions, summarize the problem, and then prescribe the solution. “Based on what you’ve told me, I would recommend . . .. Here’s what you’re going to need.” This tactic is effective if the prospect trusts your expertise.
2. The Action Close
Pull out your pen and you start filling out the form, or phone the installer to set an appointment. Or you might say, “Let me see if we’ve got that in stock. I’ll be right back,” and disappear into to the stockroom.
Return with the box in your arms and ask, “Okay, where are you parked?” You know the deal is done when the prospect holds the door for you.
3. The Choice Close
Give them a minor decision that carries the major decision along with it. This can be useful when breaking down a large decision into smaller, increments. You’ve been looking at a $30,000 automobile and the guerrilla salesman says, “Would you like to put the stereo in the dash, or would you rather conceal it under the seat?” Now, you have a small decision to make.
“Well, it would be more convenient in the dash.” Not only have you bought the stereo, but of course, the car as well.
4. The Question Close
In the Question Close, you ask a question, which, when answered, gives you permission to proceed. You might ask, with pen in hand, “What’s today’s date?” When prospect answers, they’ve given you permission to proceed. Or you might ask, “Excuse me, how do you spell your last name?” When they provide the missing information, they’re saying, indirectly, “Yes, I’m ready. Let’s go ahead with this.” You’ve avoided putting them on the spot by asking, “Well, do you want me to write this up or not?”
5. The Add-on Close
The key phrase of the Add-on Close is, “Now you’ll also need. . .,” proposing some low-cost option or accessory. “You’ll also need one of these to keep your blade nice and sharp. They’re only ten dollars.” When they agree to the blade sharpener, they’ve bought the lawn mower. Guerrillas repeat the Add-on close until they get a “no.” That’s when they know they have reached the limits of the prospect’s budget.
Close Early and Often
People do not want to be pressured. They want to make their own decisions, and they resent being pushed too hard. The goal is to make them feel that buying today is the most natural, intelligent decision that they could make. Closing repeatedly will not only increase your sales, but also help prospects make good choices, and increase their respect for you. So don’t stop until you have used at least three guerrilla closes.
When selling a new stereo system, a guerrilla we know combines the Question, Action and Add-on Close at the very beginning of his presentation by asking, “How far from the amplifier will you be putting the loudspeakers?” Based on the prospect’s answer, he goes to the service counter, measures off the necessary length of wire, cuts it, ties it in a bundle and hands it to the prospect. Now he’s setting through the Presentation, already holding the first component of his new stereo.
Silence is Golden
People are less suspicious than many salespeople believe, but they are also more sophisticated. The public is as smart as your mother, and you know she’s no dummy. People know when you’re asking them to take some action, and if they’re not ready, they’ll let you know. Top salespeople will confirm that the simple, direct, unsophisticated closes can be very effective, but only if you use them.
In future installments of this series, we’ll explore each of the steps of “NaB & CaPTuRe” in more detail, and perhaps double or even quadruple your sales.