The Assumptive Close technique can be difficult to learn, but the returns are more than worth the time you spend learning it.
There are lots of ways to close a sale. You can use the Summary Close, the Sharp Angle Close, the Question Close, or the Take-Away Close. While these are all effective closing techniques, few are as powerful as the Assumptive Close.
Consider, for a moment, a professional athlete. Before a game, match, or competition, you might notice them “getting into the zone,” centering their focus on what they’re about to do. Another way to think about it is that they are building confidence in themselves. They see themselves accomplishing their goal before they even begin to try. That, in a nutshell, is the Assumptive Close technique.
With this strategy, a salesperson assumes that the prospect is going to buy, and therefore carries the conversation forward with a contagious confidence. By assuming that you’re going to close a deal, you increase the likelihood of success—as long as you do it right.
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4 Ways to put the assumptive close into practice
1. Keep an eye on the fine line
While the Assumptive Close sounds pretty straightforward, there’s a fine line you might cross if you’re not careful. Assuming the close and pressuring the close are not the same. One will increase the likelihood of closing while the other practically guarantees you won’t.
How do you avoid crossing that fine line? There are several things you need to do to prepare for a successful assumptive close.
First and foremost, you must believe wholeheartedly in the close. Remember the professional athlete? See yourself closing the sale before you even begin the call. Then you’re prepared to face the call positively, and people are attracted to positivity. They will trust you more from the beginning. They will begin to believe in you because you believe in yourself.
An assumptive close also requires that you qualify your prospect. Is this person your target audience? Does your product or service solve whatever problem they’re having? If not, your confidence may come across as pressure, which makes a person less likely to buy.
Once you enter into a sales talk, it’s imperative to listen to the feedback from your prospect to understand where they are in the buying process. Ask questions and listen carefully to their answers, leading them slowly in the direction of the close, all the while assuming they’re going to buy. This includes asking “temperature questions” throughout the conversation: “What do you think of our product so far?” “Would you say that this meets your needs?” “Is there anything that would prevent you from buying this product?” The answers to these questions will tell you if it’s productive to continue with an assumptive close, or if you need to change tactics.
2. Choose the right questions
Another characteristic of an assumptive close is asking the right kinds of questions when it’s time to make the sale. But be careful; this is another place where it’s easy to sound too sales-y. For example, don’t start the close by asking for credit card information. That can put a prospect on the defensive immediately, even if they were ready to buy.
Instead, ask something like, “If everything sounds good, how about we get some paperwork ready?” or “Aren’t you excited to see how this product is going to work for you?” Steer them towards a purchase by using words that suggest to them they’ve already made their decision.
This is probably the trickiest part of the assumptive close, but with a little practice, you’ll master it.
3. Take the temperature
Though the assumptive close requires you to assume the sale from the beginning, you can’t directly open with the close. You have to check in with your prospect periodically to see if they’re moving with you or against you.
For example, notice whether or not the prospect is engaged in the conversation. Are they asking questions and demonstrating an interest in your product? Then continue with the assumptive close. Are they making a lot of positive comments? Keep going!
On the other hand, are they objecting to all of the points you’re making? Are they giving you short snippets for answers? Then it’s time to employ a different strategy.
If you’re in a face-to-face meeting, pay attention to their body language. Are they smiling? Do they seem relaxed, or even excited? You’re on the right track! However, if they’re wearing a blank expression, continually checking their watch or phone, or crossing their arms across their chest, you have a little more work to do.
4. Combine forces
While the assumptive close can surely be used on its own, you may find it more effective when you combine it with another closing technique, especially if you’re in the business of timeshare sales. Assuming a close can bring you a long way in a conversation, but perhaps price is still an objection from your prospect. The Sharp Angle Close is particularly effective with timeshares because you usually have more wiggle room with discounts and freebies. If the assumptive close has worked to a certain point, finish the sale with an offer. “If I knock $100 off the maintenance fees, will you sign today?” This maintains your confidence while also presenting the prospect with a deal, which always helps to close.
There are many other sales techniques you can use in conjunction with the assumptive close. Whether you choose to use them or you choose to stick with the single strategy, remember that the assumptive close is a long-haul technique that starts at the beginning of the sales cycle. Most importantly, remember that it begins with you. See the sale going through before you’ve even made contact with a prospect and have the confidence necessary to generate positive energy that will draw prospects towards you. Doing so enhances the trust between you and your audience, and ultimately trust is the key ingredient to any sale, no matter what kind of closing technique you use.
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