Ever hear that ancient sales advice on getting your prospects to repeatedly say “yes” throughout your presentation? The thinking is, if they’re constantly saying “yes,” they’ll be conditioned to do so at the point you ask them to scribble some ink on the purchase agreement.
Oh, those old sales tricks.
Know what advice I’d give you today? I’d say, “That’s a great trick – do it!”
See, sales is at least partly a game. Most of us savvy consumers know this when we enter the “sales parlor,” be it in front of our computer monitor or inside a retail showroom.
We go in, defenses up, looking for the traps, running alternate scenarios through our minds, and always prepared to bolt like a deer in the woods if we sense a threat to our safety (or the safety of our wallet).
So, our mission as persuasive communicators is to coax out these yesses in subtle but purposeful ways.
Master salesman Harvey Mackay refers to these yesses as “sales tie-downs.” You know what a tie-down is … a strap, rope or bungee you might use to hold down that new armoire you just loaded into the back of your pickup truck. The more tie-downs, the more likely you’re going to make it home with your new prized possession in one piece.
Mackay suggests applying tie-downs throughout the consultation with your prospect. They can be little phrases or suggestive questions, like:
“Would you agree?”
“And you said you can appreciate a good deal, right?”
“Is reliability important to you?”
“Does that make sense?”
“Is that your dollar on the floor?”
Okay, I made that last one up. The others are classic examples, and the best part is, they are natural parts of a conversation. Used in the right frequency, they will go unnoticed by your prospect. Of course, the conditioning toward a final yes – the big, fat, sign-here-and-put-food-on-my-table yes – is taking place. That final yes is practically inevitable.
The double bonus is that, if your prospect answers no, you can change course. You are taking the pulse of the conversation in real time. If the person says, “No, I don’t agree,” or, “No, that’s not a priority for me,” you have the opportunity to stop and search for the yes to that particular objection. The more doubt a prospect has, the less chance you will get a sale.
The triple bonus is that your close will be much more relaxed. You’ve got those prospects right where you want them. You know where their hot buttons are. You might literally be able to ask, “Would you like to sign in black ink or blue?” Though, I rarely recommend a cocky sales close.
Practice your sales tie-downs on a friend or spouse. Then get out there and start using them. Do you like making sales? You like money, right? Would you agree that breathing air is awesome?