You’re supposed to make more than one closing attempt. Why? Because buyers don’t always buy right away. A lot of people struggle with decision-making in general. Sometimes they just need a few minutes. Couples may want a little time alone to discuss things in private. They also need to know you’re serious about your recommendations.
Many technicians will make one close attempt and, if they get the slightest resistance, completely back off so as to not be seen as a high pressure salesman.
Sometimes, giving up too soon sends the wrong message. If you quote someone thousands of dollars worth of work, explain yourself one time, then immediately back down without asserting the importance of at least one or two items, they might wonder if anything you were recommending was all that important. In fact, they may start doubting your honesty and sincerity entirely.
There are ways to close multiple times without coming off as being high pressure and without getting on anyone’s nerves.
How To Do It:
Check everything over without saying much. Do some minor disassembly; enough to where, if you got turned completely down, it would still take you 15-20 minutes to pack up and leave. That makes turning you down highly awkward. People's aversion to awkward situations may be the very thing that gets you a sale. As long as everything you’re doing and recommending is honest and legitimate, there is nothing wrong with this.
Excuse yourself and make a list, including prices, of every deficiency you see in their system, in order of priority. Strike a subtotal under the things that absolutely have to be done immediately. The service agreement should be included in that part of the list and subtotal. Under that you’ll list the things that are not absolutely essential, but that you recommend they do today, and strike another subtotal (adding it to your first subtotal).
Finally, list system enhancements that aren’t mandatory, but would be nice to have, and strike a final total. If you want to, you can even put a label next to each of these subtotals and totals, like “good, better, best.”
Go over your recommendations with the customer and show them your list, explaining what is optional and what is not. It’s not unusual for them to make some comment about being low on funds, or they never make snap decisions, or that they’re thinking about selling the house.
Don’t respond directly to any of those comments. One of the most difficult things to teach people about salesmanship is that you do not have to respond directly to every single objection, and the first objection is rarely the true objection anyway.
When they do anything but buy, calmly point to the first subtotal, and say, “This is the least you can do.”
They still might not buy. They might repeat their first objection or come up with an entirely new one. Don’t respond directly to it. Once again, just point to the first subtotal and say, “This is the least you can do.” Make eye contact and stare with them like they don’t have any choice. They still might not make a decision right away.
If they offer up any more objections, point to that first subtotal one last time and say, “This has to be done.”
At least now they know you’re serious. Usually, that’s about all it takes, but it doesn’t work every time. At this point, if they still haven’t bought, back off. It looks like you might get a zero ticket or minimum charge only. But not to fear, there’s still plenty left that you can do.
If such is the case, tell them, “That’s fine. I need to put everything back together.”
You’ve gotten a complete turndown and begin to re-assemble things. Give it a good 10 minutes or so, then approach the customer with a solemn demeanor and say, “Mr(s). Customer, I’ve almost got things put back together. I’ve had another look at it, and you really don’t have a choice. You have to (name something small).”
That’s called a “nibble,” and this is when you’ll probably close it.
Even after you’ve made the sale and avoided a zero, don’t let it end there. The nibble worked for you once, and it will work for you again.
After you’ve done about 15 minutes of work, put your solemn face back on, pick up your list of recommendations, approach the customer and say, “Mr(s). Customer’s, as a professional, I couldn’t in all clear conscience put everything back together and leave without giving you one last opportunity to avoid some major potential problem in the future. You really need to get one of these.”
The “Fast Nibble”
You’ve got your list of recommendations in your hand. As a rule, the customer hasn’t made a mental note of every single thing on your list and their prices. Your customers will nearly always say, “How much was that again?” Point to the price on your list.
When the customer says, “Okay. I’ll take that,” immediately point to one more item on the list and say, “You’ll want to get that, too.” That’s called a “fast nibble.”
At a friend’s company, we kept track of fast nibbles over a period of time and realized that fast nibbles alone resulted in an average increase of $111 per service invoice. That’s not a tremendous amount of money, but it’s over $50,000 in additional revenue per service technician per 500 calls. That adds up.
Charlie Greer is the creator of “Tec Daddy’s Service Technician Survival School on DVD,” the video series that provides a year’s worth of weekly 30-minute sales training sessions. For more information on Charlie’s products and services, go to www.hvacprofitboosters.com, or call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822). Email Charlie at [email protected].