Assuming the Sale

Customers need you to ask them to buy.

Assume the Sale. Getty Images

In my 26 years of working in retail, I used and tried countless closing techniques. And with the advent of online and omni-channel retail, you would think the sales techniques would have to change. But after all these years, there is still one true champion in this world - the assumptive close. But before we dive into that technique, let's talk about the bigger issue in closing a sale.

Regardless of how good the closing technique is - you have to use it!

It amazes me to study retail sales floors and see that 75% of the time it is the customer who is closing the sale not the salesperson. For example, the salesperson just stands and waits until the customer says, "okay, I'll take this one." Frankly, that's not selling; that is clerking. In another article I wrote, The Biggest Crime in Retail, the point is made that unfortunately you do not have to be a professional salesperson to make a living in retail. Why would you need to be if the customer does all the work? And to me, that is a crime. 

The internet has made it worse. It's very easy for a customer to come into your retail store after having done all his research online. Truly, you are just ringing up the sale. Your job is to Ask for the Order (AFTO.) But everyday, I'm on a retail floor somewhere and simply do not see this happening. We are not asking for the order; we are not closing the sale.

So, no mater how effective the sales technique is, it only works if you use it. Don't be afraid. The customer is expecting you to ask. It's okay. 

The assumptive close is my favorite because it exudes professionalism. First, to use it. you must have done a proper job researching the customer's needs and desires beforehand.

If you have listened well and matched the customer up with the perfect product or solution for their project, then there really is nothing to discuss is there? That's why assuming the sale works so well. 

To assume the sale, you start with these three words - "Since we've agreed" These words make sense because you have been selling to this end (the close) the whole time using other sales techniques like tie-downs and benefit statements. You have spent the entire sales process confirming and gathering agreement from the customer that you were on the right track. So, now, when it's time to close, you are simply recapping everything you and the customer have agreed on

After the phrase, since we've agreed, next list the key benefits you covered in the sales presentation. Try to keep this to three or less. Too many and it makes the decision seem bigger than it truly is. Remember, there is a point of diminishing return on features and benefits. Don't fall into the trap that the more features the better the deal. The truth is most customers only use 15% of the available features on any product they buy. So, if you nail those 15%, then you are on your way. Use them in the close. 

Side note here, feature the benefits that mean the most to the customer, not to you.

I have seen salespeople geek out on a new technology and just go on and on with a customer about it. And the problem is the customer could care less. My parents have a smartphone not because of all the apps or the GPS, but because they can get pictures of the grandkids really easy. If you spent any time trying to sell my parents on the billion apps store for the mobile device, they would shutdown. And they certainly wouldn't buy. Sell only the features the customer wants and then close through an assumptive sales process on only those benefits. After all that is true customer service