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Chrisism #97 - Closing Techniques (Part One)

13 August 2019

Closing Techniques (Part One)

In previous ‘Chrisisms’ we have identified that it is human nature to resist commitment, especially commitment of time or money, which is a bit inconvenient for us, isn’t it? Because when we are looking to make an appointment, we are looking for a commitment of someone’s time and when we are looking to do business, we are looking for a commitment of someone’s money – so we shouldn’t be surprised if we meet with some resistance. Indeed we should be concerned if we don’t!


So in this ‘Chrisism’ I want to share with you a couple of closing techniques that can help you overcome potential resistance and help your client or prospect make a commitment, whether it be to an appointment or to doing business.

The first technique that you will almost certainly be familiar with is the Alternative Close. One thing we need to avoid if possible is asking open-ended questions i.e. questions to which the answer could legitimately be “Yes” or “No” because by definition one of these answers is what we don’t want to hear. So you need to give your client options – both of which achieve the desired result.

The first example of this (and a most important one) is when you are making an appointment with someone for a first meeting. It breaks my heart when I see an adviser who has done all the hard yards in getting to the point where the prospect is happy to make an appointment and then ruins it all by saying:- “So when can you make it?”! The perception this creates is almost as bad as saying:- “I’m looking at an empty diary – how about you?”!! We need to create the impression that we are the busy one, so having established the prospect’s preferred time of day, we should say:- “Ok – well I can fit you in either at 12.45 on Wednesday or 1.15 on Friday – which would be better for you?”

The second example of the alternative close is at the point of sale. As noted in a previous ‘Chrisism’, one of the most common reasons why business doesn’t happen when it could and should is because you don’t ask for the business. It doesn’t matter how ready and willing your client may be to do business, it is not their job to say:- “Can we please do the paperwork?” Have you noticed?! However, the way to ask for the business is not by saying “So do you want to go ahead then?” because the answer to this question could legitimately be “Yes” or “No” (see above). So the simplest way to ask for the business is with an alternative close namely:- “So would you prefer to pay monthly or annually?” Either way – the business gets done.

The second closing technique I want to share with you is an extension of the alternative close, namely the triplicate close. This technique is especially effective when establishing a budget with your client. For example, you may want to say something like:- “Most of my clients find it appropriate to allocate somewhere between 5% and 10% of their income towards securing their and their family’s future. A small percentage of them recognise that 10% is perfectly affordable and jump straight in at the deep end. An equally small percentage err on the side of caution and stick their toe in the water with 5%, but the large majority of my clients opt for the middle ground as a starting point – which category would you say you were in?” If you only give two options, people will lean towards the lower option, but if you give three options, people will tend to go for the middle ground, especially if you prequalify it as the preferred option of most of your clients.

In my next ‘Chrisism’, I will be sharing a few more closing techniques with you.

The Risk Workshop by Chris Unwin

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