I’ve been watching Sex, Lies & Videotapes on DVD this week. Remember this movie? No? Well, it was made in 1989 so probably many of you missed it due to your crazy elementary school schedule. Anyway, earlier this week I promised to help out the more introverted among us with some tips for “smoothly closing” our clients when it’s the right thing to do and lo and behold... right there on my movie screen is a perfect example of a Soulful Assumptive Close! So, I’ll start there.
In the movie, Graham (james spader) asks Cynthia (laura san giacomo) to let him videotape her. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that she’s intrigued, yet a little unsure. She wants to do it - that’s clear - but she’s uncomfortable coming right out and saying so.
Cynthia asks a series of delaying tactic questions (“How long will it take?” “Do I sit or stand?” “Will anyone else ever see this tape?”). Graham quietly answers her questions and at the same time, casually picks up his video camera, loads a tape and sets up the tripod. He sits down in an easy chair and gestures for her to relax on the sofa. He turns the camera on and begins asking questions. She can either answer them, thus agreeing to be videotaped, or refuse to answer, thus declining to be videotaped. The power was always in her hands; Graham just made it easy for her to say yes.
The Assumptive Close is defined as “acting as if the prospect has already made the decision”. What you’re supposed to do is to move the conversation toward the next steps without waiting for permission or a specific request to do so. Typical examples of the assumptive close in real estate include:
“Would you like to ask for the refrigerator in your offer? ”
“Would this Friday be good to go on the market?”
“Let’s meet back at the office in an hour to review the comparables”
When done respectfully and with the right intentions, the assumptive close will be welcomed by your buyer, seller or prospect. They’ll be relieved you took control and will enthusiastically follow your direction. They’ll happily go where you lead and love you for it.
And of course, they still have the power to say no or to halt the process, and certainly you should respect their wishes if they do so.
In the example I used in my previous blog, how could the shipboard hairstylist soulfully closed me on the Overpriced Facial or the Total Body Detoxification and Purification Experience? Easy, right? She could have picked up her appointment book and simply showed me what times were available. How hard is that? Or she could have shown me a brochure of the various types of facials offered and asked which one I wanted. Neither of these tactics are pushy or aggressive. I still made the final decision; she just made it easy on me.
For the Reluctant Salespeople among us, using the assumptive close should come naturally with a little practice. Try using it in other areas of your life if you’re uncomfortable experimenting with your clients. When it works, it’s a beautiful thing!
You haven’t heard the last of this from me... more closing techniques for introverts coming soon!
Copyright Jennifer Allan 2007
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