When I wrote my first book more than twelve years ago, I included a chapter on closing and asking for the sale. One of the closing techniques I suggested was the “choice close” which essentially means telling the customer to make a choice between two options. It sounds something like,
“Which of these two do you prefer?”
I was so dumb.
That line might have been effective ten or fifteen years ago but I doubt that today’s sophisticated buyer (B2B, B2C, or retail) would feel compelled to make a buying decision if they were asked that question.
But that got me thinking … what other outdated closing lines do some salespeople still use? Here are a few I hear.
1. “If I can get you a better price, will you buy today?”
Dude, if you use this as a closing line you are doing yourself AND your company a disservice. It smacks of desperation and tells the prospect that they can get a better price…even if they hadn’t considered it beforehand.
2. “You need to act right now; this is limited time offer.”
I remember a salesperson in a car dealership saying, “I dunno how long this rebate offer is gonna last. You better make a decision right away.” That was 30 years ago and car manufacturers are still offering rebates, but instead of $500 cash back, they offer rebates in excess of $5000.
This approach is effective for television ads, infomercials and sales copy but I don’t believe it has a place in professional selling.
Consumers and corporate decision makers know that they can request the offer or sales price at a later date and they will likely receive it. Don’t insult their intelligence with this line.
3. “Is price your only concern?”
Price is seldom the primary reason behind a person’s buying decision — unless it is someone in the procurement office. However, if we as salespeople don’t demonstrate the value of our product, service or solution, people will often default to price as a primary criterion.
Plus, just because someone says, “You’re too expensive,” doesn’t mean their objection is actually price-related. A true sales professional will explore the reason the prospect voiced this concern (there are as many as eight reasons) and address the actual objection.
4. “What will it take to earn your business?”
On the surface this seems like a logical question for a salesperson to ask. However, from a prospect’s perspective it shows a lack of effort, especially if you are dealing with a senior level executive.
I have found that people who ask this seldom do an effective job actually figuring out what is important to their prospect or what factors will influence their decision. That is Sales 101 and salespeople who excel at what they do NEVER feel compelled to use an outdated closing line like this.
Do these outdated closing lines work? Sure … in some cases. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd and your competition, earn more respect from your prospect, and close more sales, I suggest you refrain from using them.