Low Profile Selling

35312closed saleWhat do salespeople really do when they close sales?

When I wrote the book Low Profile Selling, I wanted to get away from the term “closing” because it’s considered by some as too hard-sell. So, I decided to use the word “consummate” instead. In the dictionary, the word “consummate” means “perfect ending.” I like the sound of that and the image it brings to mind. It’s the perfect ending. Everyone is happy. The new client is happy with the benefits they’ll receive. You’re happy because you now have a new client. Your manager will be happy because you moved product. Everyone is happy.

So, how do we go about consummating more sales?

Most potential clients you’ll encounter have strong needs and/or wants for your product by the time you feel they are ready to consummate the sale, if you do your job right. In doing your job right, you need to determine their specific needs. Then, show them how your product or service fulfills those needs. After that, psychology comes into play. Even when your potential client sees the value of your offering, they will have to rationalize the decision. They may want it emotionally, but they’ll need to rationalize it logically before they’ll make that final commitment.

When you see that your potential client is heading toward a stall, you’ll know that they have not yet rationalized that having the product is worth more to them than keeping their money. They’ll lean toward procrastinating and postponing the decision. If you let it go far enough, they’ll actually begin to feel fear about the decision and become immobilized about making any decision at all.

They may say something like this, “Tom, I’m not sure about the quality of this product.” Or, “I don’t know if we’re ready to go ahead.”

When you hear things like that, you know you need to move into an even more helpful mode. Begin gently by trying to find out specifically what’s holding them back. Say these words, “John, obviously, you have a reason for saying that. Would you mind sharing it with me?” Let him expand and elaborate. He’ll usually give you the opening you need to help him rationalize. Or, in some cases, a spouse might jump in and help you overcome the objection. I’ve had situations where the other decision-maker jumped right in and closed the sale because he or she had already reached a point of rationalization. It happens when you create the right environment.

The key is to help your buyers see that the benefits outweigh the investment they’re making. Until you do, they may be feeling a little bit of pressure. This will be internal pressure–nothing you’ve exerted on them. However, you will have to be the one to relieve that pressure if you want to move ahead.

I teach several gentle ways of relieving pressure. One example is, whenever you hear things like, “I don’t know if we should,” “I’m a little worried,” “It’s not in the budget,” etc. there are five key words you must use. They are “I understand how you feel.” Those five simple words will go far in softening them up to listening to your rationalization. With those five words, you’re saying, “I’m on your side. This is not a battle. We are walking the road of ownership together–side by side.” This will help lower the defenses created by any fears that arose, keep them open to discussion and allow you to consummate the sale. And it’s all done with a low-profile, soft sales approach.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. For reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).

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  1. Tom –

    I like that unique spin “low profile selling”. Never heard closing referred to that way. I guess its all a matter of semantics. And in the case of closing, we, collectively, now associate the word with hard selling.

    Nice post. Following you now as well on twitter.


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