The Classic ‘Sales’ Close – Time for a Change?

We’ve we have all heard it haven’t we “If price was no object would you buy this from me now?”. EERR, makes me want to puke!

Or how about this one, you’re being sold something (and we all know where we are) you are offered the trial close, then the salesman goes into objection handling mode until you’ve got no more excuses, and then wait for it… Wait for it… Here comes the final “close”!

Now of course we need to work to a system when we have a client with us, we need to explain features and benefits of our product or service in a way that the other person understands. We need to build rapport with our client and understand what their problem is, however the classic SPIN selling model is based on the concept of increasing pain. The SPIN model works to understand why the client wants to solve the problem, what their pain is and then increase the pain until they either commit suicide or hand over their credit card details!

If you want to find out more about the SPIN selling technique, here was a website I found. (I do not endorse this technique or this website, this resource is simply provided to you to find out more).

The SPIN model clearly works as it has been used around the world for many years now, however I believe there is a more elegant and eloquent way of engaging and allowing your customers to buy from you, rather than using techniques in order to sell to them.

One of the other problems I encounter with this type of sales technique is the insistence that the transaction or ‘close’  happens there and then. Either signing a contract, or agreeing to whatever is being sold. The principle is that you should never allow the other person to go away and think about your offering, as it gives them time to talk themselves out of it. This may or may not be true, however insisting that someone signs there and then misses an absolutely fundamental principle of how we think and convince ourselves of the right decisions.

We all run what is known as a ” Convincer Demonstration Filter” which in NLP is known as a ‘meta program’- if you do not understand your client’s convincer  demonstration filter and you attempt to close the sale using the wrong strategy for that client  then you will almost certainly lose the sale.

This is how the convincer a demonstration filter works.

When we are required to be convinced about something, that could be another person’s performance such as in a work setting, or it could be we are required to be convinced about a product or service before we purchase it – when we are in this situation we will have a little program that we run in our mind which allows us to become convinced, or not convinced as the case may be.

There are four types of strategy that people use to convince themselves:

  1. Automatic.
  2. Number of times.
  3. Period of time.
  4. Consistent.

Automatic Convincers

These are the type of people who have done the research, worked out what they want & made the decision ready to go. There are already convinced before you get to the ‘close’ part of the sales process and if you stick rigidly to asking lots of questions about whether they are ready to buy or  not, can become rather frustrated.

These people may have the pain in their hand ready to sign, and you don’t need to use any other technique on them other than to get them to book their appointment or sign a contract. In fact using any other technique on them may put them off as they might think you aren’t listening to what they say.

If you have an automatic convincer in front of you, just get on with it and stop faffing!

Number of Times Convincers

These people need to be convinced you are the right provider of your product and service a number of times. They may need to see proof over and over you are genuinely good and true to your word. If you say that you genuinely care about them, they might want to see this represented on your website, when they phone you, when they come in to visit you, during the consultation and finally during the decision-making process.

A number of times convincer will have a specific number of times they need to be convinced – the clues in the title! If you have a three times convincer in front of you then you’re going to have to convince them three times that you are the best person to provide your product or service. If you are smart with your marketing you will allow them to do this during the marketing process, as mentioned above on the website and phone calls etc.

If you have a number of times convincer in front of you, allow enough time and give them enough information to be convinced however many times is right for them.

Length of Time Convincers

These people need to be convinced over a period of time. They want to hear the information that you have to provide, wait a period of time, and then become convinced.

A length of time convincer will have a specific amount of time they need to be convinced over. If you have a length of time convincer and their length of time is one month then you are not going to get them to sign up or agree there and then. You need to make a note in your diary to contact them after one month, when they will be happy to go ahead.

If you have a length of time convincer in front of you do not push for the close of the sale there and then give them the amount of time they need to become convinced themselves.

Consistent Convincers

These people can be the bane of your life. They will never be convinced, they will come back over and over and over again always wanting more information and prove that you are the right person to deliver your product or service. If you have a consistent convincer in front of you and decide to do business together you had better be prepared to demonstrate every single time you interact with them that you are the best person. You cannot rest on your laurels and you can never stop allowing them to be convinced.

So how can you tell what type of convincer a person is?

As with much of NLP you ask a simple question, shut up and listen.

Ideally the question you need to ask these people is “How often does someone have to demonstrate competence before you are convinced?” If they say for a week etc, then they are a length of time convincer, if they say three times etc then they are a number of times convincer, if they respond saying they are never convinced them they are a consistent convincer and if they respond saying they don’t need to convince they just trust then they are an automatic convincer.

The ideal time to ask this type of question is during your rapport building process at the beginning drop, it into the conversation – however it could be difficult to ask this question exactly so you could say, “I’m interested… to make sure that we give you the best service  can you tell me about the last time that you bought the product similar to this” – and then listen for their response.

They may talk and mention things like “Well, I popped in to see what they were like, then I looked at their website, then I gave them a call, then I went in to see them directly and then I realised they were the right people” What type of convincer do you think this person would be?

Yep, they are a number of times convincer.

What about if they said this “Well, I popped in to see what they were like had a good look around and chatted to the people there, then I went back again a month later and booked my appointment” – what type of convincer are they?

They are a length of time convincer… do you see the pattern?


Using questioning and listening for specific words and phrases that people use to understand how they construct the world around them is a far more elegant and eloquent way of building rapport and closing a sale. It means you are totally customising your technique for the other person, this helps them to relax, trust you and know that you understand how to solve their problem.

If if you want to find out more about practising these techniques, and indeed building them into a complete process with many other similar techniques then please do take a look at our NLP Communication & Metasales Workshops where you will have plenty of time to learn, practice and perfect your listening skills!



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