The close is always the toughest part of the sale. The goal of this ongoing series is to present you with enough options that you'll be able to close any sale, even one with the toughest customer. Here, in Part 5, I'll present great closes # 9 and #10.
Great Sales Close #9: The Sharp Angle Close
This close is one of my all-time favorites. I can’t count how many times it has accelerated a customer who “closes himself” instead of delaying. Customers are sometimes afraid of a commitment – not because they question the validity of your offer, or you – but simply because it’s a commitment. This close helps them and you.
The Sharp Angle Close will “cut to the chase” and get down to the heart of the matter when dealing with customers. It also reduces haggling to a bare minimum and puts the burden of response or reaction back in the lap of the haggler. (This, I contend, is a good thing!)
The primary way I use the Sharp Angle close is with a customer who wants to negotiate a price. Here’s an example:
If the customer says, “Can you do any better than the price that you’ve written down here?” Simply reply, “If I can, would we be able to come to an agreement while I’m here today?”
By “sharp angling” the customer, you keep yourself from a countless amount of grief. If you had just said, “Yes, I can do a little better than that. How about $200?” Then he can stall, or ask you for another concession later, but with no decision.
Or if customer says, “Can you take $200 off of your price?” your sharp angle reply is, “If I can, do you want us to go ahead and schedule the installation?”
The sharp angle prevents the endless-cycle foolishness. The customer doesn't get you to give a lowball price and then say the dreaded, “Let me think about it.” It puts you a giant step closer to striking an agreement.
You can also use this close to handle a customer who wants you to list an endless amount of trivial facts, which can drive even a patient and sane salesperson to desperation. This solves it nicely.
When a customer says, “What brands of equipment do you carry?” you reply, “What brands are you most interested in?” Or, if a customer says, “Can you put this furnace in by Friday?” you reply, “Would you like me to check and see so we can start getting ready immediately?”
The Sharp Angle Close will help you sharply bring closure to a sales agreement.
Great Sales Close #10: The Return on Investment Close
You will be able to use this close — or a version of it — very often. People who see it or hear it for the first time are often stunned in a kind of, “Why didn’t I think of that?” way.
The great majority of HVAC salespeople have a ridiculous idea that they must be able to prove their system’s “payback” as an all-important measure of its value to the customer. This is absurd.
What car gets good enough gas mileage that the savings pay for the car? (And would you really want to own it?) What real estate appreciates so much that you’d only buy it if it paid for itself?
Any investment has a principal amount and a return on that investment, right? Some go negative, like new cars. Some go positive, like savings accounts. Some do both, like stocks.
People are so accustomed to cars depreciating, it’s not even relevant to discuss. Stocks have this nasty habit of being largely unpredictable. People who get savings accounts do so for a safe, reliable, but usually quite low “return on investment.” It’s the “safe” part that attracts them.
Check this out: Your HVAC system just happens to be a money machine that keeps your customers comfortable. When you read the following, remember your own figures will go in the spots, so don’t get your calculator out yet. You’re about to sell a system. . .
“Mr. Homeowner, let me ask you something. Since savings accounts earn about 3%, if you could get a guaranteed 6% return, that’d be pretty incredible wouldn’t it?” Pause. “You’d almost think that was ‘fishy’. I know I would, and I’d want it in writing!”
“Well, what we’re looking at here is not just a new heating and cooling system. It’s like your own little bank. You see, I guarantee it’ll save you 22% in energy over your old system. Lots of companies ‘talk’ energy savings, but we put it in writing right here.
“If it doesn’t save you that much, we’ll write you a check for the difference. Now that’s a guarantee no bank or stockbroker would ever give you. But it gets better. . .
“Your average monthly energy bill is $125, right? You’re already spending that $125 a month, but this new system is guaranteed to save you 22% off that. That’s money in your pocket, no matter how you look at it, right?” Pause.
“This system is forty-two hundred. If my figures are right, it’ll put $330 per year in your pocket. And you can check this too, but my calculator says that’s a 7.8% return on investment, right now. And I know I’ve said this, but feel I must restate it — that’s guaranteed.
“Remember we said that ‘6% would be incredible’ from a savings account? Well, it would be . . . but it’s also taxable. The money I’m talking about here isn’t. You keep every dime.
“Remember too, Mr. Homeowner: No repair bills. It’s warranted. Plus it improves your property value. And it’s tax-free. Can you see any reason you shouldn’t take us up on a guaranteed investment that also happens to keep you comfortable all year long?”
This incredibly effective close can be used on a complete system, an efficiency upgrade, a zoned system, or any number of ways where return on investment gets people excited to invest.
Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Readers can get a free marketing newsletter and a free 16-page report called “Get More Leads in Less Time” by faxing their letterhead with the request to 334/262-1115 or emailing to [email protected] You can also call Hudson, Ink at 800/489-9099 for help or visit www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.