A dozen little tricks of the trade
Before you jump into this ‘fun’ section, I would like to make one point absolutely clear. Never burn your customers. A pro-clo would never do anything detrimental to a customer – it’s not in his nature. If you cheat, lie, misrepresent, or mislead to hurt or harm a customer for your own gain, then you are a con-man. Make no mistake about it, there is a world of difference between the ‘honorable’ intentions and ploys of a pro-clo and the ‘dishonorable’ conduct and seams of a con-man. When a pro-clo uses a little pressure or some sort of ploy, he does so because he believes it’s in his customer’s (and his own) best interest. On the other hand, when the con-man is in action, there is only one person’s interest on his mind!
I can’t really put my finger on it, maybe it’s the power from above, but con-men don’t seem to enjoy health, wealth, happiness, or security for very long. I hope this point sinks in: DON’T BURN THEM.
Here, then are a dozen little ticks of the trade and how to apply them.
1.How to stop the rot.
If a customer loses interest. If he starts to wander or to lean away from the table and sits back in his chair, to lean away from the table and sits back in his chair, don’t inch forward, don’t climb up on to the table and push your material under his nose. If you do he will back in your chair and continue talking……… but so quietly that it’s impossible for the customer to hear you… the customer will instinctively come forward, back into position again.
If it happens a second time, then lower your voice, pull your material towards you and, pointing to something, enthusiastically say to the customer: ‘Just read that’. This will bring the customer back into action again.
If it should happen a third time, stop in your tracks become concerned and say to the customer: Was I talking too loudly for you?’ The customer will become uncomfortable and deny it, but from now on he will pay a lot more attention.
2.Taking immediate control
Always move your customer as soon as possible after the preliminary greeting. This technique puts the pro-clo in charge immediately because it allows him to choose the turf, rather than the customer. This changing of positions makes the customer somewhat disorientated and subrnissive, which automatically puts the instigator, the pro-clo control.
Changing the position or the turf must be done in an affable manner and there are various ways of accomplishing this. For example, changing rooms for more peace and quiet, changing chairs because this on is more comfortable, or changing to a different position for more light, heat, breeze, and so on. If you are in the customer’s home or office you might suggest that you move from the lounge to the kitchen table. Or ask if the customer wouldn’t mind sitting here instead of there, as you are slightly deaf in one ear and are finding it difficult to hear him. Just how of where you move your customer isn’t important, as long as he moves from where he chooses to be to where you choose him to be.
3.One way to overcome procrastination
I once heard of a salesman who used melodramatics to overcome customer procrastination. He would set the alarm on his watch to go off ten minutes after he met his customers. When the alarm activated, he would apologize and explain to his customers that it was imperative that he take his tables. He would even request a glass of water. He then went on to explain that he suffered from a serious complaint and that the pills ( vitamin tablets in an old prescription bottle) stopped him from becoming overstressed or excited and allowed him to lead as normal a life as possible.
Of course, throughout the presentation, the salesman’s ‘illness’ was completely forgotten, and it was never mentioned again unless the customers began to procrastinate. The salesman would be enthusiastic and excited when attempting to actually close the sale, and if he ever encountered any real indecisiveness, he would stop suddenly, frown and tap his chest once or twice, then continue a if nothing had happened. Apparently, his customers always decided very quickly after that!
This salesman’s antics may be controversial and I don’t wholly recommend them, but I was told that his intentions were always honorable and he always got more referrals than of his colleagues.
4.An ‘oldie’ to create urgency
Although this one has been over-used the years, and many customers are now skeptical, the impending price increase can still be very effective in creating urgency. Here is an example which demonstrates just how effective this closing tool can be.
My neighbor recently purchased some replacement windows. He had originally intended to shop around and compare prices but he ended up buying on the first quote. Afterwards he explained to me that the reason he had been so impulsive was because he was getting such a good deal. Amongst other things the salesperson had produced a price list, dated two days before, showing a to per cent increase in prices with immediate effect. The salesperson offered to backdate my neighbor’s quote by three days if he decided there and then to go ahead.
My neighbor in now the proud owner of some beautiful double-glazed windows, a new front door and new patio doors!
5.Customer guidance from above
When it’s time to close, if possible, sit higher than the customer so that they have to look up to you. (Use a different chair or a cushion or simply straighten your posture.) By sitting slightly higher than the customer you become dominant- the customer looks up to you, he respects your knowledge and becomes a little submissive, he looks to you for reassurance and guidance. From this position the pro-clo simply guides him home. (This is the same reason why a bank manager or a sales manager’s chair is often higher than the other chairs in the office so they can dominate their captives.)
6.The deliberate mistake
A beautiful little ploy to test the water, to find out how the customer feels about the product and to see if he is thinking ownership thoughts yet, is to use a deliberate mistake. For example, the customer has said earlier that he didn’t like the large one, it was too bulky. When the pro-clo feels the time is right, he makes a deliberate mistake to see if his customer corrects him. For example.
PRO-CLO: ‘ I personally prefer the smaller unit, but you said earlier that you thought the larger one would best suit your needs.
Customer: ‘No, I’m sorry- so it’s the smaller unit you’d like to have?’
If the customer says ‘Yes’, get out the order form and start writing it up. If the customer says ‘I haven’t decided anything yet,’ you carry on from where you left off.
7.Trick or treat with the wrong price
Here’s another adaptation of the deliberate mistake. This one is best used with the pushy customer.
Give the customer the correct price, then after a minute or two, apologize and tell the customer you’ve made a mistake, you’ve used an old price list. The prices have gone up since then and now it should be . The customer will object and say ‘I’m not paying that for it……. You made the mistake; I want it for the old price.’ (I think your sales manager might just give in!) Be very careful with this one, you don’t want the customer to think you’re incompetent, or that you’re trying to pull the wool over his eyes.
8.Make a spectacle of yourself when you mean business
This technique belongs to a very successful closer and an old colleague, Barbara.
Now Barbara is the sort of salesperson who really befriends her customers, she has a great personality and she gets very close to the people she is selling to. However, this presents Barbara with a rather unique problem. You see she gets so close to her customers, that it can be and very often is, difficult to get down to business, without being rude or abrupt. To overcome this dilemma, Barbara doesn’t say a thing; she simply takes out a pair of spectacles and puts them on. Her customers immediately feel the tactful change and respond accordingly.
This ‘putting on the spectacles’ trick works every time because it forces the customer to look at things in a different perspective.
9.Win the wife and you’ll win the husband
If your customers are a married couple, concentrate the most effort in selling to the wife, because 99 per cent of the time if she’s sold the husband will follow suit.
Most men follow their wives, decisions and they will do almost anything to please them, so win the wife and you’ll win the husband.
10.An ace up your sleeve called obligation.
Giving the occasional gift is a gesture which often produces excellent results. This practice is sometimes known as gifting, and the art of making it work is to offer a plausible explanation of why you are giving the gift. Every customer knows that ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch,’ so don’t be obvious about it. The customer should never feel you are trying to bribe him or buy his business. Generally speaking, the gift should be inexpensive, and if possible it should be a personal gift – it is not the cost but the thought that counts. For example, the gift could be a box of cigars which were given to you for Christmas (but you don’t smoke cigars); two tickets for the match on Saturday (you’ve now got to go to a wedding); a case of wine that a customer gave to you (you’ve tee-total but didn’t have the heart to tell him); or even a couple of t-shirts with your company logo on them, for his kids.
Some of the big companies really go to town when it comes to gifting established accounts and would be customers. Crates of booze at Christmas, private boxes at the races, conferences and dinners at the call it expenses or perks that go on their entertainment allowance. But in reality it’s ‘speculate to accumulate’, and the companies recoup these expenses many times over.
Gifting creates gratitude, but when it’s time to close that gratitude turns into obligation. A pro-clo firmly believes that every penny spent on a customer is worth a pound, so don’t be afraid of putting your hand in your pocket.
11.The best little ringer in town
The telephone is one of the best closing tools around, and more sales have been closed through pretend telephone conversations than through bona fide calls. A telephone can be used quite genuinely to check inventory, receive authorization, check delivery schedules and so on –and when the need arises, a little invented call can work wonders at creating urgency.
Here are a few examples.
Is it still available?
‘What do we have left, if anything, in this range?
‘What do you mean, it’s sold? When? Is the other one still there?’
‘So you would need to know now for delivery next Thursday?’
‘Could we possibly see our way to allow them……..?
‘Ok, I understand the answer is no……… but what if?
‘By the way, can you send six more to Johnson’s for tomorrow morning?’
‘Listen, Jim, I was wondering if I could call in that favour……’
12.The deal of the decade
The ‘golden oldie’ is to build the extra discount into your price, so that you can offer added incentives and entice the customer to buy without deviating from the original price, or making a loss. A gentleman I know (now a multi-millionaire) used to own a second –hand car lot. In his younger days, his customers would snap his hands off because he would offer up to 1,000 more on the trade-in value of their old car.(He simply used to add 1,000 on to his asking price.)
The reason he is now a millionaire is because he always gave the customer the extra 1,000 trade –in value, even when he knew he didn’t have to. As a result, Jack always had more referrals than all the local competition put together.
If the cause is just, a pro-clo is definitely not fainthearted about using ploys or pressure to convince his customers of the right decision –but he never pushes his customers, he pulls them.
Before reaching this section, I have already shared with you some of the many tips, tactical moves of the pro-clo, and throughout the remainder of the book you will find literally hundreds more. However, before we move on I would like to reiterate my opening remarks to this section. Never burn your customer and never do anything detrimental to a customer.