The waiter at the pub asks, “Moto ama baridi?” (Warm or cold?). This is the alternative close. Notice how it does not matter what response you give- either way the sale happens.
En-route home, you see a pair of shoes being sold on the street. You want the shoe. The seller sees that and says, “Karibu siste. Kujaribu ni bure” (Welcome, my sister. It’s free to try on). You do. He tells you it goes well with your dressing. You know this but the assurance is still welcome and your excitement at hearing this shows on your face. “Hiyo kiatu ni ya mguu yako madam.” (That shoe fits you perfectly madam). And with this he proceeds to gather and wrap your “old” pair in a plastic bag, and while giving the package to you says, “Nipe mia tatu tu” (Give me three hundred shillings only). And you find yourself reaching for the purse and giving him the money. Several closes have just happened. A minor close (try it on), a test close (you do), a custom-fit close (the shoe was created for your foot) and the ultimate one, the assumptive close (wrapping the old pair without asking you if you are buying but instead assuming that you will- and you do).
In the corporate world, you have a contract you need signed. It could be account opening, tenancy agreement or purchase of an elevator. Everything before this stage of signing pans out and the client is happy. Being human however, he hesitates. You say, “Let’s go over the main points together. Is this ok?” (minor close). We will ship in the elevator in six weeks and install it on the fourteenth week of the project which will be two weeks after it gets here. Is this correct? (Test close). The project manager and contractor have assured you and I that the specifications of the elevator are a perfect fit for the shaft. I’m I right? (Custom-fit close). With yeses at every stage so far, you very casually remove your Parker pen from inside your coat pocket, open and turn the ‘handle’ towards him with one hand and, with the other hand, the page with the dotted line and the bank funds transfer form, and say, “Please sign here and here” (assumptive close). He signs.
The waiter at the pub asks, “Moto ama baridi?” (Warm or cold?). This is the alternative close. Notice how it does not matter what response you give- either way the sale happens. In the corporate world, “Do you want to sign with the blue pen or the black one?” or “Would you like to pay by cheque or cash, Sir?” or “would you like us to meet at 8.30am Monday, or is the following day, Tuesday 10am better?” Plenty other ways to close happen in our everyday lives. Look out and learn from them.
As this column has shown, what really makes closing difficult is the fear of rejection more than the tightening of the stomach at the moment of closing. And it’s just that: a moment.
Why do buyers hesitate to buy at the time of closing yet are ripe for it? Because they are human. You and I aren’t any different. Now that you are equipped, give these techniques your best shot. The knot in your stomach won’t go away when you do; it’ll still be there. It never goes away no matter how fluent you are. However, repeatedly putting your best foot forward will tame it, and more importantly, get you to complete the sales process.
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