All of the prospects she asked said yes. Even the people that started by saying no, said yes. She's my nine-year-old daughter. Her name is Alex—the most amazing sales person I have ever seen.
We were at her brother's soccer practice with 75 minutes to meet her $200 goal for the American Heart Association. We walked to the nearest home. On the way I said to Alex, "Let me teach you the alternative close. Say, "Would you donate $10 or $20 dollars?" It works every time.
Here's what she said at each home.
"Hi my name's Alex. I'm going door to door, raising money to help people with heart disease. Would you donate 10 or 20 dollars?"
Everyone had questions. "Do you live in the neighborhood? Do you know someone with heart disease? Can I write a check?" In every case she had an answer and then stared right back with a big toothy smile.
At one place, the nice lady described her roll as a caregiver for her ailing mother. She talked about how her mom had heart disease, dementia, a mild stroke, walking problems and needing constant care. Then she said to Alex, "Do you know what that means?"
Alex came right back with, "That means that I should pray for you." The woman laughed and gave Alex $20.
A number of prospects started by saying no but Alex immediately engaged them in conversation. "How long have you lived here? What's your dog’s name?" Before you knew it, Alex was holding another check.
Between houses I reflected on how amazing her close ratio was. Here's what I learned to accelerate a sale for you.
1. Go in knowing the value of a sale. Alex knew she was helping people. She was up to speed on where the money would go. She knew people whom had heart disease and felt a connection to the value of her offering. Take a moment and itemize all the benefits that your product or service would provide people. Do not confuse features with benefits. It is critical to constantly have front of mind the value your product or service has for your prospect. It's almost like thinking the prospect would be crazy to say "no" if they knew how much value they could receive. A sale happens quicker with this mind set.
2. Add a personal touch. Leaving a message would not accomplish the same thing. Some people produce brochures or websites thinking it will close a sale. Making an extra effort (like a nine year old willing to go door to door) works wonders. Look around your prospect’s world and see what kind of connection you can make that strikes a personal chord. In your industry, if prospects are getting more and more emails seeking a sale, telephone or visit their office with something specific to offer. If your prospect has a gatekeeper, leverage the knowledge of that gatekeeper to learn what exactly your prospect needs. If you write a personal note, add a personal touch showing that you did your homework. Go the extra mile in the area of "a personal touch" and you will make an immediate connection.
3. Use humor. Use your sense of humor to add a positive experience to the sales call. People love to laugh and feel good. If you don't have a sense of humor, your prospect is not someone to practice on. Sarcasm, joke telling and self-deprecating humor leaves you on thin ice. I've seen sales people crash and burn with an underdeveloped sense of humor. If you use clever humor you could get your prospect's attention. Years ago I sent a bunch of prospects a brochure. A couple of weeks later I sent a hand written note with the same brochure all crumpled up. The note said, "I found this in your garbage and I really thought you should read it." This was followed up with a call. Almost everyone took the call.
4. Smile and keep them talking. Alex inevitably got a no. She intuitively smiled and kept them engaged. Everyone wants to make a decision on his or her own terms. You may have another appointment to get to or your patience is wearing thin. Smiling and continuing to connect may be exactly what speeds you directly to a sale.
5. Keep moving you've got a goal to catch. We chose a time of day that most people were home. When there was no answer we briskly moved on to the next house. Alex had a goal to attain and she was determined to reach it in the time we set. Simple physics is your friend. Things in motion tend to stay in motion. When you attach urgency to your sales goals you can get further, faster. Set a timeline, deadline or target date. The brain is wired to manifest outcomes when it has parameters to work within.
At 7:15 p.m. Alex knocked on her last door. She raised $235. With a big smile on her face she said, "Daddy, I did it. Now, would you like to go for ice cream or frozen yogurt?"
Let's just say she continued to have a 100% closing ratio that night.
Vince Poscente, author of The Age of Speed, is best known for his ability to provide an invigorating message to organizations across the corporate landscape. Company leaders call on him to inspire employees to embrace speed when they feel compelled to resist it and to produce faster results in ways they find rewarding. When companies come face-to-face with speed, Poscente helps them understand the challenge and turn speed to their advantage. www.vinceposcente.com