Next Level Training
Part 4: Closing Moxie!
Sol was the best
closer in a chain of 23 furniture stores. He passed along the following
three selling “moxies” that are still relevant to salespeople today.
You may know a salesperson like Sol, a real selling “pro” who took me
under his wing early in my career. He was the #1 retail salesperson for
many years at a leading furniture company operating 23 stores.
He was also the best sales closer I have ever seen. Sol was the person who
never failed to close the sale when other salespeople turned over their
customers to him.
Closing: Science & Art
It has been said that closing is both a science and an art. The science
consists of applying proven and highly effective selling rules and
techniques. The art is to read customers perfectly to win over their
hearts so that they want to do business with you.
Before you read three stories that demonstrate the science and art of
closing, it’s helpful to be familiar with a few important insights that
Sol passed along. In addition to knowing the store’s merchandise really
well, he said there are three additional selling ‘moxies’ every
salesperson should strive to master. All are interrelated and work
together. They are referred to as customer, closing, and floor moxies:
Before you read three stories that demonstrate the science and art of
closing, it’s helpful to be familiar with a few important insights Sol
- Ability to read your customers correctly.
Ability to come up with the right close for each customer.
Identify immediate closing opportunities on an open floor.
Sol in Action
Now let’s quickly view three snapshots of Sol in action. They illustrate
his three principles, even though what he said to customers and the
products he sold are quite dated. Many retailers don’t teach traditional
closing techniques beyond just the few simple overused ones, such as the
alternate of choice close, the add-on close, and the ‘ask for it’ close.
It is true that when used in an obvious way, they can be considered
Sol was a ‘closing academy.’ I asked him how many closes he knew, and the
immediate reply was “86.” This tells you there’s a lot to learn beyond the
dozen or so closes that are often offered in standard company sales
training. If Sol were alive today, and looking at closes from a
contemporary perspective, he would say that knowing the basics of closing
can improve sales performance, while at the same time helping customers to
overcome indecision, and purchase what’s best for them.
Sol & Undecided Browser
The lady had been in the showroom browsing for at least two hours. Every
available salesperson had worn themselves out trying to help her make a
decision about which set of three occasional tables to buy. Just when they
thought they had closed the sale, she’d pull her two kids down another
aisle to look at more sets. Sol happened to be passing by just as he was
finishing another sale. He looked at me with a big smile.
He marched up to her and said “watch this!” Then he lit a cigarette and
placed it on a coffee table that had a new kind of laminated top. The
woman said, “Hey, you’d better pick that up!” He said, “I will, just as
soon as you say ‘I’ll take it!’” She bought the table about five seconds
Sol & the Inebriated Up
A man in his early 20s, who obviously had several drinks before deciding
to shop for furniture, was looking to buy a sofa. He wasn’t disorderly,
but was having trouble staying focused on my sales presentation about a
sofa he seemed to like. Sol saw everything from a short distance away and
came directly over once I gave him our ritual nod.
The first thing he said to the customer was, “Man, this wine-colored set
looks great!” The man’s eye’s lit up as he stared at the set and replied,
“Wow, so this is wine colored?” “Yeah,” confirmed Sol. “Just put $400 down
and you can have the whole set!” The young man admitted, “I’m sorry, I
don’t have $400.” “Hey, no problem, I like you! Just give $300 instead,”
Sol concluded. The customer was surprised, but you could see that the
wheels were definitely turning. After about 10 seconds he replied, “Okay
then, I guess we gotta deal!”
The woman still liked one set and her husband liked another
I eventually realized they were going to leave because neither were
willing to compromise.”
Sol & The Compromise
I once helped a married couple who couldn’t decide on which dining set to
purchase. After about an hour with them, the woman still liked one set,
and her husband liked another. I eventually realized they were going to
leave because neither was willing to compromise. Sol was close by, and I
gave him the nod. I told my customers that Sol was very knowledgeable, and
if they had any remaining questions he was the one to ask. The woman told
Sol, “I really like this set, but he doesn’t want to get it because he
likes something I don’t like that much.”
Sol immediately went into action. He said, “You both should be very
proud.” Then he addressed the woman saying, “You have such cute children!
I know you are probably home all day long with them, being a very good
mom, right?” Sol then turned to the man and said, “Hey, she is the one who
has to look at the furniture all day, but you really don’t right?” The
husband reluctantly agreed. Then Sol said, “We know that for a mom to
raise happy kids she has to be happy too, right?” The man turned bright
red. Sol’s next statement was simply, “Where will we be delivering this?”
Sol Explains How to Help Shoppers Out of Indecision Ruts
There were two other closing insights he provided that any person on your
sales team can begin using immediately. An extremely important thing he
taught was to “enlarge a person’s heart” toward you, just before the
close. This certainly makes good sense. The most important part of the
sale is the close, so that is exactly the time when you need the customer
to be most favorably inclined toward you. Taking just 30 seconds or so to
acknowledge something your customer can be complimented on, which is also
true, is often all that it takes. Notice how Sol did it very smoothly in
the third story, with the couple’s children. He actually then built upon
the children for his close. He did it in the second story as well.
The next great selling insight Sol provided is best demonstrated by way of
another example. One evening, I was making the best presentation on a
living room set I had ever made. The couple listened to all the great
features and benefits. I felt if I just kept throwing more FABs at them,
they would be convinced. We had been sitting at that set for over an hour.
Sol kept walking by. Once he stopped and stared at me in an obvious
fashion, which he never did.
The customers just couldn’t make up their minds. So finally, they politely
asked for my card and promised to come back. My goodness, they surely had
to. After all, they had just witnessed what might have been the best
furniture presentation given today on this planet! Watching them walk out
I was still silently singing my own praises, then I happened to look up.
Sol was standing a few feet away. He looked stupefied. He eventually
blurted out, “Why didn’t you turn that customer over to me?” I said,
“They’ll be back. I just made the best presentation I ever made in my
life!” Upon which he decidedly replied, “They won’t be back.”
Once the salesperson helped her to make a decision about what not to
buy, she was free to go ahead and make a decision to purchase what she
“Pardon me Sol, perhaps you weren’t listening. I just said I made a
fantastic presentation. It was so fabulous that I almost bought that set
myself.” He looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “They won’t be back.”
Well at least I had enough sense not to argue with him, and asked, “But if
I turned it over to you what would you have done?” He said “I would have
pulled them away from it!” You might imagine my logical response. “I
didn’t want to pull them away from that set because it was the set they
liked most of all.”
Here’s the ‘selling epiphany’ Sol transmitted. He explained that when
people get in a decision making rut, they keep practicing indecision over
and over. It’s like when tires are stuck in the snow, and dig in deeper.
He said, ”I would have pulled them around the corner to see something they
didn’t like as much. That would help them to make a decision. Then, once
they were out of their rut, they would pull me back to the set you wanted
to sell them, and ask me to write it up!”
Well my mind just couldn’t quite shake hands with such a snake oil theory
as that. So, I politely thanked Sol and went about my business. Soon
afterwards I had to go to the local jewelry store to shop for a gift. The
store was very small, with only one saleslady on duty. The shopper who was
trying on rings liked one in particular. She repeatedly moved it in and
out on her finger, admiring it. Eventually she quickly removed it from her
finger, handed it back to the saleslady and said, “I just can’t make up my
mind. I’ll be back!”
The saleslady replied, “Sure that’s fine. I am going to put this back over
here, in this section of the counter. It’ll be here for you when you come
back.” Then, without warning, the salesperson loudly said “Oh! Oh! Do you
mind, I just found one more I think you might like. Would you mind trying
one last one?” The shopper put that final ring on, moved it back and forth
under the light several times, took it off and said, “I don’t like this
nearly as much. Why don’t you just go ahead and write the other one up.”
The lesson of that moment did not escape me. I realized that she just used
what Sol would later refer to as the ‘pull away close.’ Once the
salesperson helped her to make a decision about what not to buy, she was
free to go ahead and make a decision to purchase what she liked better.
Here’s the selling epiphany
Sol transmitted. He explained that when people get in a decision-making
rut, they keep practicing indecision over and over."
Oh yes, I almost forgot to tell you. Just how much did my customers buy
when they came back after hearing the best presentation ever made,
complete with every feature, advantage, and benefit? I will have to share
that with you at a later time, in another article. I’m still 100 percent
sure they’re coming be back!