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The Art of Closing the Sale
By Ricky Fitzpatrick - 01/28/2003 - 06:36 PM EST

There are salespeople all over the world who have all the earmarks of greatness, yet lack that magical ability to do the one, most important thing…the thing that completes the sales process…the cherry on the top…the seal of the deal…okay, you get the picture. What I’m talking about, is “closing”.

No deal is done, no sale is complete until the sale is “closed”. That means, the customer is finalized as to his/her decision and the deal is consummated, based upon certain factors, if need be. It doesn’t matter if it’s cars or guitars, the sale must be closed. Sometimes, it’s easy…sometimes, it’s like pulling teeth.

“Well, every sale doesn’t require a close.”, you say. “What about when I buy a new CD at Tower Records?” Strike one…you still get closed. You just close yourself. The labels and retail outlets do their job of planting the seed, but you pick up the baton and carry on for them by finishing the deal when you convince yourself to buy. In cases like that, you’re probably a better salesperson than you thought you were, huh?

What I want to touch on today is one of the hundreds, dare we say, thousands of possible closes. And each close is proper depending on the type of person to whom you’re trying to sell your product or service. There’s the Ben Franklin, the Puppy Dog, the emotional, the logical, the hammer, the three-way (hmmm?), the reverse, the relationship, the referral, the “me too”, the picture, and on and on and on, ad nauseum. Closes, galore! And as you mature as a salesperson (and you must, as a self-employed musician), then you’ll learn what closes to use on what types of people.

One of the oldest and most effective closes is the “assumptive close”. What is it? It works just like it sounds. You (the salesperson) proceed with your pitch in a manner that assumes that your customer is going to buy. Example?

Let’s say I’m pitching my demo to a fairly reputable club booker. He listens, pauses, scratches his head and sighs. Without hesitation, I ask, “So what’s a good night for new performers in your club…Wednesday or Friday?”

Is that going to get me the gig? Maybe, but probably not. But it’s all a part of the assumptive close. I act like I assume that he’s going to book me and I start getting information with that attitude in mind.

“Wednesday”, he says.

“We have an open slot on our calendar for next Wednesday.”, I say. “What kind of crowd should we normally expect?” And so on, and so on.

There is a fine line between cocky-ness and assumptive-ness. So tread lightly. But, take it from a current salesperson - it works when used in combination with your own personality.

You may be saying, “This all sounds good on paper, Ricky, but it just doesn’t seem like it would work in the real world.”

Okay…two examples…

ONE: You go into a men’s clothing store for a new dress shirt (or a lady’s clothing store, depending on your sex…or your predisposition toward cross-dressing). You tell the salesperson that you want a blah blah sized shirt, blah color, long sleeved, blah blah brand, and he takes you to it. “And what color tie will you be wearing with that…?”


The assumptive close. You may say “Oh, I’m not wearing a tie.” Or, “I already have a tie.” But the salesperson knows that there’s a chance that you’ll say, “Hmm…well…how about a blue one?” And here we go.

And what about example number two?…

“…would you like an extra-large or super-large fries with that sir?”

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