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class usually agrees that the school of body language would have us interpret that posture as detached,
uninterested, and guarded. I then validate my theory by asking the participant with folded arms, "Are
you comfortable?" The answer, not surprisingly, is usually, "Yes." My suggestion is not to concern
yourself with body language unless it's obvious or unless there is a drastic change during the sales call.
Let your customer be comfortable without interpreting posture as a negative buying signal. The only real
body language that I respond to is if my customer gets up and leaves the office. Then I clue in that
perhaps the call isn't going as well as I'd hoped.
So, when do you confirm the sale? Confirm the sale when you have successfully bridged a minimum of
two features to benefits. You have now earned the right to ask. One bridged benefit is usually not
enough to convince them to buy, which is why I suggest a minimum of two. If the customer says yes,
that's great. Go to Step #8. If they say know, then go back to feature fishing and continue to bridge. As
we can appreciate, each customer is different. Some only require two benefits to confirm, others may
require several. Once again, customers may simply need to know more before they say yes.
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Nine Tips for Confirming the Sale
Ask a confirming question only after you have effectively bridged a minimum of two
1.
appropriate features to benefits.
Help people make buying decisions by pointing out how your value-added solution will
2.
benefit their business.
Highlight how the benefits outweigh the costs; create value.
3.
Successful confirmation isn't an isolated tactic, it's creating value throughout the
4.
Sequential Model.
If you can't confirm, you didn't successfully complete a prior step”planning, discovery,
5.
or presenting a creative, value-added solution.
Before asking for a decision, expect customers to say yes”mentally picture them
6.
saying it.
When you ask people for a buying decision, be quiet until they respond.
7.
A confirming question asks for a decision. A trial close such as, "What do you think of
8.
my presentation so far?" calls for an opinion.
If you can't make a sale, make a friend.
9.
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Doubling Your Close Ratio
Recall that approximately 80% of purchases occur after the order has been requested five times and yet
only 10% of salespeople ask five times before quitting. Likewise, 40% of salespeople ask only once,
then quit. These 40% quit for a variety of reasons: impatience, the craving for instant gratification, poor
follow-up, no time-management system, or just simple laziness. There is no doubt that these statistics
are shocking, but customers are the victims of these lackluster performances on a daily basis.
Imagine having to confirm five times before you get a yes. That means, on average, there are four knows
before a yes. That's a lot of work! Some authors suggest selling is a numbers game: talk to ten people,
get five presentations, close two deals. That sounds like a lot of work”not selling very smart. It bears
out the fact that the average close ratio is only 20%. That means, on average, salespeople close only
two out of ten potential opportunities. Funny, I always thought selling was about people, not a game
with winners, losers, and average, mediocre performances. Don't fall victim to the numbers game,
condemning your career to a life of mediocrity. Don't measure your success against the masses. By
comparing yourself against the averages, you only fuel a false sense of productivity. I say set your own
standards. Don't take pride in being average”it's too easy and not very satisfying.

Remember that confirming is not an event but a process that begins within minutes of meeting the
customer. Customers are very quick to pass judgment, wasting no time deciding if you are likable and
trustworthy. The first step to doubling your close ratio is to ensure the first six steps of your sequential
model have been completed to the customer's satisfaction.




Hence, if close ratios are a meager 20% that means the customers' ratio is 80%. Ouch! Customers are
closing more often than we are. They sell us on the concept of not doing business with them. They offer
a multitude of excuses, objections, and justifications all in the interest of selling us their "no." The
problem is we are too quick to accept their rejection and with a bruised ego return to the adult day-care
center to lick our wounds and seek support. Sound familiar?

So, what is a good close ratio? I would suggest that as a sales entrepreneur your target should be no
less than 40“50%. That means if you approach ten potential customers, ones with a need and a bag of
money, you should confirm at least four to five. Sound daunting? It isn't. Some top-notch sales
entrepreneurs are confirming up to 75% of potential customers.

Start by evaluating your current ratio. Track it for a month or two and reality will quickly reveal itself. It
may not be as high as you think it is. If yours is higher than 20%, congratulations, you are in the
minority. But I will remind you, your objective is 40“50%. Proper execution of your Sequential Model will
certainly contribute to doubling your current close ratio. It simply means building rapport and trust as
you navigate through the first six steps of your model coupled with the confidence to ask for their
business. Customers expect to be asked; don't disappoint them. They get irritated by reps who fail to
complete the sales call with no direct close. You represent a solution to their needs, so the only
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outstanding issue is to ask them. If you don't someone else will”and be rewarded with a bag of money.
Hence, taking your close ratio to 40% is not an impossible, arduous objective.

However, I caution you, don't strive to achieve a 100% confirmation ratio. Not only will it never happen,
you don't want 100%. You couldn't handle it. You're already time-starved with what you have. Free up
time by firing C accounts (and C activities) and increase productivity by doubling your confirmation ratio
on A and B opportunities. If a 100% confirmation ratio is your goal, then work at McDonalds or Burger
King. Everyone who walks in buys something. When was the last time you heard this conversation in
McDonald's:

"May I help you?"

"Oh, no thanks, just looking."

My point is this: Achieving a confirmation ratio of 50% is hard work, and yet it can be very rewarding.
Success is hard work. A job that has a 100% confirmation ratio generally pays minimum wage.
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Be #2
When it comes time to confirm, you will certainly encounter customers who say no, and mean no. Don't
despair. An excellent alternative plan is to have your customers place a small order with you. Tell them
you are not expecting them to make a wholesale change in suppliers, but ask them to place a small
order to test you out. The proof is in the pudding. It's okay to be #2, just ask the people at AVIS
Rent-a-Car. If you are successful at getting and delivering a few small orders, it won't be long before you
build up to getting the lion's share of their business. Chances are your unsuspecting competitor won't
know what happened until it's too late. I have personally converted several accounts from a no to a know
to a yes by using this strategy. Customers can be creatures of habit and usually go with what's been
tested and proven. Your #2 strategy provides an opportunity to showcase your stuff while building
confidence and trust in you. Remember, the fifth pillar of success is Patient yet Persistent (Chapter 2).
Quiet persistence, coupled with patience, ultimately pay off handsomely with the reward of becoming
their #1 supplier.
Always act like a professional. Don't take the customer's rejection personally. Recognize it as a
business decision based on circumstances you may be unaware of. Be grateful for the opportunity to
meet and discuss the possibility of doing business. The professional handling of a no sale situation
actually helps build a sound relationship by developing a spirit of professionalism and persistence. The
customer will be much more receptive to a #2 strategy if you handle the no sale situation professionally.
Remember, if you can't make a sale, make a friend.
One of the greatest pleasures of selling is the adrenaline rush and elation when the customer says,
"Yes, let's do business." This is the moment of yes. There have been many private dances in
customer's parking lots, clenched fists pumping through the air accompanied by triumphant shouts of,
"Yesss!" and smiles that make dentists proud. Confirming the sale is the pinnacle of achievement”all
your efforts have paid a handsome return. Unquestionably, the greatest thrill for a sales entrepreneur is
the moment of yes when the customer agrees to buy from you in the interest of a honest, mutually
beneficial solution.
Become comfortable with using the five magic words and make them part of your professional equity.
Confirming with these five words communicates confidence and offers a refreshing change for the
customer. Another tremendous advantage is that this approach is universal”the same five words can
be used regardless of what you are selling. Big-ticket items, long sales cycles, short sales cycles, a
product or service, it doesn't matter”the five words must be applied to every possible sales scenario.
Sales entrepreneurs understand that the power of asking is what ultimately separates a professional
salesperson from a professional conversationalist.
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Notes
1. The Editors at Dartnell. Dartnell's Professional Selling Series Volume 2: Close It Right, Right Now:
How to Close More Sales Fast. Page 3, 1995. The Dartnell Corporation.

2. Roth, Charles B. & Roy Alexander. Secrets of Closing Sales. Page 209, 1993. Prentice Hall.

3. Pickens, James W. The Art of Closing Any Deal: How to be a "Master Closer" In Everything You Do.
Page 91, 1991. Warner Books.




Congratulations, you have now completed Step #7
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Chapter 10: Creative Negotiation: There is Always a
Way
Overview
Children are accomplished negotiators. If they need extra allowance, a later bedtime, a sleepover, they
usually get it. Children can be relentless in their pursuit of what they want. Familiarity gives them the
advantage of knowing what parental hot-buttons to push. They are the best examples of ideal
negotiators. Then they grow up and abandon the natural negotiating talents they learned instinctively.

Like selling, negotiation is something we use in every facet of our lives. I am often entertained just
watching my three teenagers negotiate the use of one car. Amazingly, it usually works out. I think most
of us are better negotiators than we give ourselves credit for. Negotiation is one of those transparent,
interpersonal skills we use unconsciously. Negotiation is really a relationship skill used by people to
deal with their conflicts and differences. Throughout this chapter, my goal is to leverage existing
negotiation skills to build confidence and an awareness of long-forgotten negotiation principles and
tactics.

Unfortunately, the very thought of negotiation conveys negative connotations, striking fear in the souls of
most salespeople. Often the outcome of negotiation leaves people feeling dissatisfied, worn out, or
alienated. A win-lose mindset has prevailed for decades. The negotiator (customer or salesperson)
attempts to win important concessions and thus triumph over the opponent. It resembles the outcome
of most sports: winner-loser. Not all successful salespeople are good negotiators. Most salespeople are
not adequately trained in the art of negotiation and don't understand its many nuances. The necessary
traits for successful negotiation vary somewhat, but some characteristics are universal, including
patience, persistence, stamina, and confidence. Each negotiation is situational, with both sides
discussing the points over which disagreement exists. In reality, no single negotiation session covers
exactly the same issues or demands.
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When Do We Negotiate?
Almost anything can be negotiated with the application of sound principles. The biggest
misunderstanding is not so much how to negotiate, but when. Salespeople eager to do the deal often
initiate premature negotiation, trying to negotiate before the time is right.
So, when is the best time to negotiate? In the majority of sales situations, salespeople attempt to enter
into negotiation before the customer has agreed to do business. There is a better, more productive
approach.
Sales professionals engage in negotiation when a customer has expressed an interest to do business.
We negotiate after the confirmation step, after the customer has agreed to do business with you.

Upon initial reflection this concept may seem bizarre and contrary to traditional sales techniques, but
that's only because you've done it that way for years. Although it may have worked for you in the past,
it's not a very smooth or fluid approach.
Confirmation has two aspects: initial confirmation, where the customer is in agreement and willingly
moves into the negotiation phase; and final confirmation, where the customer has accepted all the
terms and conditions of your solution, including price. Initial confirmation may sound like this: "If we can
work out a competitive price, may I have your business?" If the customer is in agreement, you now have
earned the right to negotiate. It's much easier to negotiate terms, conditions, and price once you have a
willing party. Your next step is final confirmation: "Now that we have agreed on a competitive price may I
have your business?" It doesn't need to get any more complicated than that.

In our two-day sales negotiation seminar, salespeople are often shocked to learn that price should not
be part of the sale. It's a separate discussion that takes place as part of negotiating final confirmation.
It's no different than buying a house. You decide on location, size, number of bedrooms, and other
features. After you pick a home you make an offer, which means you are now negotiating. The offer
goes back and forth as both parties negotiate all the details, including price. In most cases the
negotiating goes smoothly because there are two willing parties, a seller and a buyer. Use the same
advantage in sales, by using your Sequential Model to create a willing buyer.



Tim Commandment #7
Negotiate after initial confirmation.
Ask: Have I earned the right to negotiate?




Now it's in each party's best interests to negotiate a win-win-win-win solution. The four winners are your
customer and his or her company, and you and your company. With two willing parties there is always
a way, in spite of initial barriers and disagreements. Details can be worked out when both parties are
motivated to do so. If not, details can easily undermine a possible solution. It's not a good deal if one of
the four wins is missing or compromised. The idea is to reach mutually beneficial agreements that
resolve inconveniences or dissatisfaction and solidify long-term relationships.

Trust plays a major role in successful negotiation. Although there is no guarantee that trust will lead to
collaboration, mistrust will inhibit collaboration. When people trust one another, they are more likely to
communicate openly and honestly. In contrast, if people do not trust you they are more likely to
withdraw and be less cooperative. Acting in a trusting manner throughout the relationship serves as an
invitation to others to be trustworthy, especially if your trusting manner is consistent. Each negotiator
must believe that both parties choose to behave in a cooperative manner. Trust is not a one-time,
singular event. It is established over time by demonstrating professionalism, honesty, integrity,
consistency, and cooperation and by following through on promises and commitments. Cooperative
behavior is a signal of honesty, openness, and a shared commitment to a joint solution. Take advantage
of the trust engineered throughout the first seven steps of the model. Remember, people judge us by our
actions, not by our intentions.
Approaches to negotiation tend to reflect personal experiences, biases, and perceptions of the
individuals involved. They are often reflected in one of two ways: flight or fight. People who take the flight
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approach are uncomfortable with conflict and try to avoid possible rejection, frustration, and anger
associated with negotiation. They become masters at avoidance and readily prefer to take flight rather
than experience any degree of conflict. Relaters tend to take the flight approach.

The fight approach is supported by a mindset of, "Only the strong survive," and "Do unto others before
they do unto you." Directors tend to favor this approach. It's a classic win-lose scenario. Bargaining and
compromise are two components of fight. Bargaining is where you have a predetermined position and
you haggle back and forth, working hard, grinding your opponent down. You pursue this approach until
you are victorious. Compromise occurs when both sides give in and split the difference, settling for half

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