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A Manipulative Sales Technique

'Boxing and Closing'

I was taught this method years ago in the training course of the first sales job I ever had. I don't use it, at least not as I'm about to explain it to you. But It's very handy to be able to recognize it if someone is trying to use it on you.

They call it 'Boxing and Closing'. The idea is that the salesman can deal with any objections you might have and lead you to a point where you find it hard to say 'No'.

Step one is a summary after the sales presentation. And to explain this, I'm writing as though you are the salesperson.)

Salesman: 'Mr Smith, I've told you something about our company / myself / the products / performance / appearance etc (if relevant) / the guarantee, is there any other aspect that you feel we ought to talk about?'

(Wait for the answer. Don't say anything until you get it. Mostly, the prospect will not suggest any other points).

'Then, I'll just summarize'.

'Were you satisfied with what I told you about our company/? Does it sound like a company that you would be happy to do business with?' (Wait for the answer).

'Does the product have the performance you need?'

(Wait for the answer).

And if appropriate:

'Do you like the style / design / appearance etc?'

(Wait for the answer).

'Is the guarantee satisfactory to you?'

(Wait for the answer).

If there are any replies which are not an enthusiastic 'Yes' check why not, using words such as, 'I get the impression that you aren't quite sure about that point, Mr Jones?'

This will generally prompt a response telling you what the issue is, for example; 'I've heard that the Zabberbrox product has lower running costs'.

If the customer says something like this, you ISOLATE THE OBJECTION – using a script along these lines;

''That's definitely something we should talk about, and I'm going to cover it directly. But first, may I ask you, are there any other points that you need more information on? And, of course, I appreciate that price is also very important - I'll get to that next. But is there anything you would like me to go over again, first?'

(Wait for the answer).

If the customer has a question – in my example, the running costs - reply to it and check that they are satisfied with your answer. 'Does that cover it ok, Mr Jones?'

When you have worked through all aspects of your offering - company / myself / the products' performance / appearance etc / guarantee - and checked that there are no other areas which you need to discuss with the customer, you say;

'Would I be right in thinking then, that subject to the price being agreeable to you, you would like to have a (name of your product)?'

(Wait for the answer in silence)

And here I really mean DO NOT UTTER A SOUND until the customer has responded.

Bite your tongue for as long as it takes for the customer to speak. This can be half a minute sometimes, because they are processing the information they have received and are occupied making a buying decision.

If the answer is 'Yes' or something which means the same – you are nearly there. You may have to work on the price – but that's ok, there are many ways to adjust payment to suit the customer.

This closing technique would not be manipulative if the salesperson has the customer's best interests at heart. It's perfectly reasonable to review all the aspects which need to be considered so that the customer makes a choice that they are satisfied with.

But the technique can also be abused to talk people into things they don't need and can't afford. Please don't do that. Stick to dealing honestly with customers, you'll feel much better about yourself, you'll be far more convincing and your customers will reward you with repeat business and referrals.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at my book.

How to Motivate Sales People manual


And if another challenge facing your business is recruiting an effective salesperson, see also:

How to Hire a Really Good Technical Sales Engineer


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