Selling Technique: Close for an Action not an Email

Selling Technique: Close for an Action not an Email

Why you should ask for some type of action when closing.


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Close for an Action not an Email

© 2006 David Peterson

Sales reps work so hard opening the call, probing for the prospects needs, and then painting the proper picture for those prospects. Reps grind through the daily prospecting, and pitching, prospecting, and pitching until they finally get an interested decision maker.  

Good reps know how to take an interested decision maker and probe for their wants and needs. Open ended questions will lead to a variety of these prospect’s needs that will leave your reps with possible opportunities. These uncovered opportunities basically turn your decision maker from a penniless suspect to solid prospect.  

Next those uncovered opportunities are then tied to your product or service by painting the picture. The reps paint each brush stroke with a verbal song that drives the prospect’s needs into solid wants and must haves. This is a crucial step, you should already know that that prospect needs your product but getting them to want it… now that takes skill. Your reps will be painting the lines on the road so your prospect will drive to the location you want them to go.

Out of every 100 calls that a rep makes, maybe they get 4 interested parties and only 1 gives them the time of day to make a complete sales pitch. This is hard work. Average or marginal reps tend to change jobs a lot because it is such hard work. They will hit their sales goals one month and miss it in the next. Hit then miss until they see the handwriting on the wall or worse get terminated, fired, exited from the business or allowed to find greater opportunities elsewhere.  

The silly part of the story is that most reps can open the conversation. Most reps can use some probing questions to find the needs. Finally most reps can paint some type of picture, it may not be a masterpiece but they give it their best shot. If reps can open, probe, and paint, why can’t they get the business?

They can’t get the business because they refuse to close for some type of action. Reps that fail will repeatedly ask the prospect if they can send them an email explaining the products benefits. I have heard this type of “close” over and over in my career. I have heard it with new college graduates and sales veterans. Do you know who doesn’t use this type of close? Top Performers.

Top Performers don’t close for an email, or a letter, or a callback. Top Performers close for an action. They close for something to happen next. This action of closing for something to happen is such a subtle change that you really have to be listening to make sure that it has occurred. Take these two examples:

  1. Mr. Smith I have explained to you how our products will benefit your company and I will send you an email that recovers these points. Let’s talk on Thursday November 30th at 1 pm. Will that time work for you?

  2. Mr. Smith I have explained to you how our products will benefit your company and since I haven’t heard any objections that would stop you from purchasing let’s go ahead and begin the paperwork now.

I bet there are a lot of people reading this article that just became a little squeamish at the second statement. I’m okay with that. It takes practice. Most marginal reps are terrified at getting a “no.” They are afraid of hearing… “No I don’t want to get the paperwork started.” I’m just the opposite I want the “no” so I know to stop pestering my prospect with follow-up calls and emails. I don’t want to waste my time or worse my prospect’s time. They may be a real live prospect one day so don’t waste their time. The above statement may get you a “no” but at least you will know why you got the “no.” Now if they have said “no” and didn’t tell you why then that is a topic for another discussion.

Reps will tell you that they closed the call. They will swear up and down that they sent out the email and they gave a closing statement. But have they really closed for an action or have they closed for an email? Which one do you think will result in more closed business?


David Peterson

David Peterson

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