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Chapter 6 Closing the sale.

OBJECTIVES

After studying this chapter, you should be able to:

* Define the term closing

* Define the term trial close

* Phrase trial close questions that will confirm the effectiveness of the sales presentation to the present moment, and to move it forward toward closing

* Listen for and be able to identify closing signals

* Describe seven situations when it is not a good time to close

* Describe and use 10 closing techniques

KEY TERMS

trial dose

dosing techniques

Choice Close

I Would Recommend Close

Summary Close

Minor Points Close

T-Account Close

Closing to Resistance

Close

Shortage Close

Special Deal Close

Option Close

time-limited

option date

option

Assumed Sold Close

dominant people

dependent people

detached people

decision-maker

STEP 7: CLOSING THE SALE

Closing is the process of asking a prospect a question that solicits an answer that gives the sales person consent to complete the sale.

"Closing is the climax of a sales presentation. Closing a sale is exciting. Only by closing does a salesperson determine whether all that went into the presentation worked.... Closing is a matter of leading prospects to the point of decision." (1)

A trial close is a question asked during the early stages of a sales presentation to determine how effective you have been up to that point. Often the trial close is based on a statement that the prospect has made and is asked to confirm that you have understood what he or she has been saying. It also re-enforces a positive sales point you have made.

A very positive reaction to a trial close may indicate that the customer is ready to make a buying decision already. Even if you have barely started to describe the benefits and sales features of an item or service, stop, and close now! A series of positive answers to trial closes will definitely lead to an opportunity to close the deal.

TEN CLOSING SIGNALS

A closing signal is any indication, verbal or nonverbal, indicating that a prospect is ready to make a buying decision.

Look for closing signals and attempt to close whenever you perceive one. When you do it can be as important as how you do it! Timing is crucial!

1. As mentioned previously, a very positive reaction to a trial close provides you with an opportunity to close the deal earlier than you could have imagined. Close!

2. A lag in the conversation indicates that all the important questions have been answered. Close!

3. Questions about details indicate that the prospect has decided to buy. Close!

4. If the client agrees with your sales points, it indicates that your recommendation is a good one. Close! If you are not sure whether the client concurs with your sales point, ask.

5. If the client asks which one you would recommend, it indicates that he or she is ready to buy but needs a little help in deciding which choice of products or service is better for him or her. So, be helpul! Recommend and state why you recommend the choice you have suggested, then close!

6. If a prospect asks a question about the form of payment, or amount of deposit required, or when payment is due, the prospect has made up his or her mind. Close and collect the payment.

7. Any time the client indicates that he or she understands the value or advantages of your offer, the opportunity is there for you to close!

8. Any compliment regarding the product, service, company, or you personally may signal a closing opportunity. Close!

9. Once an objection has been successfully overcome, close!

10. Nonverbal closing signals like a change in posture, voice, or facial expression can indicate a change in attitude and may be a closing signal. A shift forward in a sitting position may indicate heightened interest. A shift backward in sitting position could indicate relaxation and a decrease in resistance to closing. A smile or affirmative nod may indicate the customer is ready to buy. If a prospect uncrosses his or her arms and the hands are opened, the body language is indicating a more receptive frame of mind. Watch nonverbal signals to help you know when to close!

WHEN NOT TO CLOSE

Sometimes there are signs that indicate that it is not a good time to attempt to close. Seven examples of situations that indicate that it is not the right occasion to close include:

1. when a client fails to respond with a positive response to a trial close

2. immediately after a significant interruption has interfered with the buying mood

3. when you feel that your sales presentation was inadequate or hurried

4. when the client has insufficient information on a complex or technical subject

5. when the prospect has made an objection and the objection has not been countered

6. when the client has asked for more information and the information requested has not been given

7. when the prospect seems hostile or defensive

Have a Clear Idea of What You Have to Sell

For each destination or product that you have for sale, you should have a clear picture in your mind of the choices and quality level of those products, tours, or services that you would recommend. Sell those that meet the clients' wants and needs.

CLOSING TECHNIQUES

Closing techniques are strategies used to bring a customer to a buying decision. The best closing technique to be used depends upon the type of goods or service being sold, the type of customer, the situation, and of course, whether you are comfortable with it. However, you should become skillful with at least a number of closing techniques so that you can adjust to different types of customers and different situations.

Note: If transportation is included in the tourist's arrangements, close the deal on the transportation arrangements first! If the client makes a commitment to book the transportation, he or she is going! You now have the opportunity to sell-up (see Chapter 9) and to create time for yourself to look up further information regarding other details requested. Make an appointment to get back to the client either by telephone or an office appointment to take care of the other details.

There are 10 fundamental closing techniques. The advantage of using descriptive names for each closing technique is that it makes it easier to remember each of the closing techniques, and if one can remember the descriptive name, it will probably provide insight to the details of how to use the closing technique. At the end of the description of each of the 10 closing techniques, there are two examples of how to use each technique.

Using the Ten Closing Techniques

Using the information from Figure 6-1, a Comparative Analysis of Collette's California Coast Tour and Globus's California Vacation, you will see how each of the ten closing techniques can be used. After each example using the California Coast tours, there will be an example of the closing technique using a different sector or subsector of the tourism industry.

The Choice Close

The Choice Close is a favorite of many salespeople because it leads a prospect to a buying decision without heavy pressure. The salesperson simply asks a question to determine which of two choices the client prefers. If the client responds positively to either choice, consider the sale closed.

Never offer more than two choices. Too many choices may confuse people, and often they will respond by saying, "I'll have to go home and think about that." And never ask a question to which the client can answer yes or no. Always make it a choice between two alternatives that you can sell.

Situation 1

Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers have been discussing Collette Tours California Coast Tour and Globus Tours California Vacation with you. You discern that either tour would meet the customers' needs and you cannot perceive a distinct advantage for either one. This is an ideal situation to use the Choice Close.

Close: "Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers, both of these tours seem to meet your requests. Which one looks more attractive to you?"

Summary: If the customers express any preference, you have closed the deal. Proceed to book it by either entering the necessary data in the computer or calling the tour operator on the telephone.

Situation 2

You are working for Gray Line of New York City. Mr. Larry Doherty inquires about an all day tour of New York City. You have described two tours to Mr. Doherty (see Figure 6-2). Mr. Doherty seems to be pleased with both tours offered. To him the significant difference is that the New York All Day tour includes a spectacular view from one of New York's skyscrapers, which he has always wanted to see, and the other tour includes Columbia University, from where his mother graduated.

Close: "Well Mr. Doherty, both tours seem to be of interest to you. The only problem is that you would like to see both the view from the Empire State Building and Columbia University. I suggest that you choose the tour that you prefer and take in the other attraction on your own. Which of these two tours would you prefer?"

Summary: The suggestion that Mr. Doherty could see one of the attractions on his own can help clear his mind regarding which tour he would prefer. When he indicates that he would prefer, for example, the New York All Day tour, close the deal and issue the ticket.

The I Would Recommend Close

The I Would Recommend Close is the perfect response for the customer who asks which choice you would recommend. These customers have more or less made up their minds to buy and just need a little help to decide which one. So, help them! Recommend one and say why you recommend it. And then, ask for the sale.

Situation 1

Mr. and Mrs. Lehman have been discussing Collette Tours California Coast Tour and Globus Tours California Vacation with you. They seem to be having a difficult time deciding between the two tours, so you help them. Mrs. Lehman has been doing most of the talking, so you present your close to her.

Close: "Both are quality tours, Mrs. Lehman, but the Collette tour may be better for you. You mentioned that you are looking forward to seeing the mountains of California, and the Collette tour includes Yosemite National Park. You also mentioned that you were looking forward to seeing Hollywood, and the Collette tour includes both Mann's Chinese Theatre and 'Stars Walk of Fame.' Would you like me to check whether there is any space available?"

Summary: Go straight to the reservations computer or telephone, determine whether space is available, and book it. It is very unlikely that Mr. and Mrs. Lehman will object at this point, but if they do, see the suggestions in Chapter 8.

Situation 2

You are a reservationist for Best Western Olympus Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Byron Carson calls up to book two double rooms, one for him and his wife Ann and one for Mr. and Mrs. Martin Warwick. You have quoted a rate of $84.00 per room. But you have also suggested they consider an available two-bedroom suite with a parlor at a rate of $130.00 per night. Mr. Carson seems to have difficulty making up his mind between two separate rooms or the two-bedroom suite. Help him out by recommending!

Close: "Mr. Carson, you would be happy with our regular rooms, but I am sure that you, Mrs. Carson, and the Warwicks would be even more satisfied with our two-bedroom suite. You would have two separate bedrooms plus the parlor, and you would save $38.00 per night."

Summary: At this point, you just pause and wait for Mr. Carson to respond. Then you make the booking according to his reply. Most of the time, the client will accept your recommendation and the sale is closed.

The Summary Close

The Summary Close is effective when a prospect has agreed with your sales points or responded positively to a series of trial closes. The most meaningful benefits should be emphasized, using the customer's own words when possible.

Situation 1

Maria and Luis Garcia have been discussing Collette Tours California Coast Tour and Globus Tours California Vacation with you. They seem to be having a difficult time deciding between the two tours, so you help them by summarizing your discussion with them. No concern has been expressed about the cost. Therefore, avoid that issue and concentrate on their needs as expressed when you qualified them.

Close: "I sense that you are having difficulty deciding between these two tours. Both have excellent qualities, but let's review your requests, and perhaps that will make it easier for you to decide."

"Maria, you mentioned that you love boat cruises and the Globus tour has a cruise of San Francisco Bay, a cruise to Catalina Island, and a cruise of San Diego harbor."

"You have both mentioned that you really appreciate excellent accommodations. Both tours have very good accommodations, but I think the Globus tour gets the nod in this category."

"Luis, you mentioned that you are looking for a small- to medium-size city in California with an Hispanic setting. Santa Barbara is the epitome of your search."

"Maria, you really want to see the San Diego Zoo. The Globus tour does not include this, but I can arrange this for you if you can stay in San Diego for one extra day at the end of the tour. An extra night can be arranged with Globus, and Gray Line of San Diego has a tour of the San Diego Zoo."

"Which of the two tours do you feel best meets your requests?"

Summary: Yes, your closing question is a choice question, but you have set it up with the Summary Close. Is there any doubt that they will choose the Globus tour in this case? Also, you have solved the deficiency problem of not having the San Diego Zoo included by selling-up. You sold an extra night in San Diego plus the Gray Line tour of the San Diego Zoo.

Note: You have been addressing the clients by their first names, so you must know them well or they asked you to address them by their first names during the introduction process. Otherwise you would address them formally, using the appropriate title of Mr., Miss, Mrs., Ms, Dr., Rev., Lt., or the like.

Situation 2

Mrs. Bertha Gaunt wants to travel through the Canadian Rockies by train. You have been discussing two possibilities. The first possibility is taking the Via Rail train from Edmonton--Jasper--Kamloops--Hope--Vancouver. The second possibility is taking a Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tour from Calgary--Banff--Lake Louise--Kamloops--Hope--Vancouver.

Close: "Mrs. Gaunt, there is definitely a great difference in the price of taking the Via Rail train to Vancouver and taking the Rocky Mountaineer. However, I think if you review your requests, you will agree that the Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tour meets more of your needs."

"You can depart from Calgary and see Banff, Lake Louise, the Spiral Tunnels, the Kicking Horse River, the Columbia River, and the Shuswap Lakes."

"You mentioned that the main purpose of you taking this trip is to see the Canadian Rockies. On the Rocky Mountaineer, you see the entire trip during daylight, whereas on the Via Rail train, you pass through most of the mountains during the night."

"On the Rocky Mountaineer, you get to sleep in a comfortable motel. On the Via Rail train, you sleep in a tiny roomette."

"On the Via Rail train, you get to spend 9 daylight hours traveling through the mountains. On the Rocky Mountaineer, you spend 16 daylight hours traveling through the mountains."

"Considering that you have been looking forward to seeing the Canadian Rockies for more than 10 years Mrs. Gaunt, do you think you should treat yourself to the best available experience?"

Summary: Pause, and let Mrs. Gaunt answer your question. I would be very surprised if she did not respond with permission to go ahead with the booking.

The Minor Points Close

The Minor Points Close works well for big sales. Many people are hesitant to make a buying decision regarding expensive items. In this situation, get the customer to agree with parts of your sales proposal and gradually lead them toward accepting the entire package.

Situation 1

Hilda Kurz, Denise Ganier, and Lorena Morales have been discussing Collette Tours California Coast Tour and Globus Tours California Vacation with you. Although the three young ladies all want to take an escorted tour of the California Coast, it seems to be very difficult to get them to agree on which tour to take. Hilda is adamant that the lower price is paramount, Denise insists that she wants the tour with superior hotels, and Lorena seems to prefer the tour with the three boat cruises. You decide to use the Minor Points Close by taking a three-step approach. First, you have each person list the five most important things she wants on her tour. Second, have each rank her five points in priority and give you her list. The result was the following list. Third, proceed toward closing by satisfying the highest priority items.
Hilda                       Denise             Lorena

1. PRICE, PRICE, PRICE      excellent hotels   boat cruises
2. boat cruises             Hollywood          17 Mile Drive
3. Hollywood                17 Mile Drive      Santa Barbara
4. Yosemite National Park   Santa Barbara      Yosemite National Park
5. 17 Mile Drive            Capistrano         San Diego Zoo


With this list in hand, proceed toward closing.

Close: The first step is to handle the price issue. If Hilda does not show some flexibility regarding price, there is no choice! You point out that although the Globus tour is $226.13 more based on two people sharing, it is only $90.00 more when three people are sharing. "Hilda, considering that the Globus tour includes three more meals and the three boat cruises that you want to take, don't you think that it is a good value for the extra $90.00?" Now you have Hilda's new first priority, the three boat cruises on the Globus side. Lorena's first priority was also the boat cruises. Denise's first priority was for excellent accommodations, and Globus had the edge in that category. The 17 Mile Drive is included on both tours so it is easy to get the women to decide that that is not a deciding factor. Denise and Lorena both had Santa Barbara as priorities which is also offered in the Globus tour.

The last step is to get the three traveling companions to agree that it is not possible to satisfy all their desires in either one of the two tours, but they must agree that the Globus tour satisfies their top priorities. Pause, listen, and watch for any response. If the response is positive or even neutral, say, "I suggest that we check to see whether they have any space available." Then start the reservation process by picking up the phone. If there is any objection, handle it with the procedures discussed in Chapter 8.

Summary: You could solve some of the deficiencies and sell-up by booking extra time at the beginning of the tour and selling Gray Line of San Francisco's Yosemite National Park. You could sell them a rent-a-car while they are in Long Beach, and they could explore Hollywood after their cruise to Catalina Island while they are staying in Long Beach. Or, you could sell them Star Line's Tour, City Stars Tour of Hollywood, instead of taking the Catalina Island Cruise. By selling them an extra day in San Diego, you could add Gray Line of San Diego's San Diego Zoo Tour or perhaps their Zoo and Sea World Tour. By selling-up, you could actually meet each of the client's five priorities.

Situation 2

Oscar Montoya requests a rail trip including the following stopovers listed in brackets: Washington--Jacksonville [3], New Orleans [3], San Antonio [2], Tucson [2], Palm Springs [3], and terminating in Los Angeles. He has 14 days to complete the trip. You book the trip and obtain a fare quote from Amtrak of $1,243.00. However, due to the travel time by rail and because most of the rail sectors operate on only 3 days per week, the trip would take at least 18 days.

Mr. Montoya insists that he has a maximum of 14 days, so you suggest that he travel by air instead of by rail. You book it by air, and the itinerary fits into the 14 days that Mr. Montoya has available. But the fare quote is $2,414.00. Mr. Montoya is extremely dismayed that it is going to cost almost twice as much to go by air, and he really wanted to experience rail travel.

Close: "Mr. Montoya, we have a problem. To do the trip you want by rail takes more time than you have available. To do it by air costs more than you are willing to pay. Could we eliminate two of the stopovers you requested so that we could fit the rail itinerary into the time you have available?" His reply is that he had to make those stopovers.

"Let's look at your request point by point. First, you have 14 days maximum, and that cannot be extended. Second, you must have stopovers in each of the cities requested. Third, the airfare of $2,414.00 is more than you can afford. Fourth, you prefer to travel by train." Mr. Montoya replied affirmatively to each of the four points. You reply, "Mr. Montoya, this is a difficult problem to resolve, but perhaps I can resolve your dilemma by using some combination of rail and air travel. Do you want me to try that?" He replies that he would appreciate that. You explain that it will take some time to explore this possibility and make an appointment to see him the next morning at 10:00 A.M. The result is the following itinerary:
18 AUG  US302   WASHINGTON     2:10 PM  JACKSONVILLE  4:03 PM   1 Y
20 AUG  US5611  JACKSONVILLE  11:40 AM  NEW ORLEANS   2:00 PM   1 Y
22 AUG  AM 1    NEW ORLEANS    1:45 PM  SAN ANTONIO   4:45 AM + 1 RM
26 AUG  AM 1    SAN ANTONIO    5:35 AM  TUCSON        9:44 PM   1 C
28 AUG  AM 1    TUCSON         9:44 PM  PALM SPRINGS  3:53 AM + 1 RM
31 AUG  AM 1    PALM SPRINGS   3:53 AM  LOS ANGELES   7:10 AM   1 RM


10:00 A.M. The Next Morning

"Good Morning Mr. Montoya. I have excellent news for you. The above itinerary fits nicely into the time that you have available. (pause) It has all of the stopovers that you have requested. (pause) The total cost is $1,290.33, a saving of $1,123.67 as compared to doing the entire trip by air. (pause) As you can see, most of the trip is by train as you preferred." (pause)

"Mr. Montoya, do you prefer to pay for your tickets with your credit card or by check?"

Summary: After each of the four Minor Points were made, I would pause for Mr. Montoya's approval. These could be verbal or might just be body language like a nod of the head. Because there were no objections or questions, move directly to the close by asking a question about how he would like to pay. Notice that in this case, the Assumed Sold Close was used in combination with the Minor Points Close.

Working out the revised itinerary took over two hours. It is not the kind of work that you would like to do with the customer sitting at your desk. That is why an appointment with Mr. Montoya was made for the next day so that there would be enough time to work on it. Allow yourself more time than you expect it to take to allow for unforeseen problems and for other callers whether by telephone or in person.

The T-Account Close

The T-Account Close is really a variation of the Summary Close. When a decision obviously has not only benefits but also some disadvantages, divide a sheet of paper in half. List the benefits and advantages on the left side of the paper and the disadvantages on the right side. Customers appreciate the logic and fairness of this method. Help the client with the advantage side and ask them for the disadvantages. Overcome the objections if necessary.

When a customer has so many criteria and it is impossible for you to provide all of them in a single offering, get the customer to give each one a priority. Then use the T-Account Close to prove that your proposal has the priority items on the left side of the T-Account.

Situation 1

Ms. Vera Brown has been discussing Collette Tours California Coast Tour and Globus Tours California Coast Vacation with you. She seems to be having a difficult time choosing between the two tours and you do not have a clear idea of which one would be better for her, so you decide to use the T-Account Close.

Close: "Ms. Brown, you seem to be having difficulty choosing between these two tours. I will list the advantages and disadvantages of each tour. If you check mark the ones that are important to you, it should help you decide which one has the most advantages and least disadvantages for you." (See Figure 6-3 and Figure 6-4.)

"Ms. Brown, you have selected more positive factors for the Collette tour and fewer disadvantages, so it would seem to be the better choice for you. I think we should check to see whether there is any space available for your preferred date of travel." You pick up the telephone to check whether space is available and offer to hold it for her. (You know that "holding space for her" is the same as a booking, but it is a softer sell.) It is very unlikely that she would have an objection to you checking whether space were available in this situation, but if she did, you would follow the suggestions in Chapter 8.

In this example the T-Account Close has been combined with the Choice Close. However, if you feel that you have the right tour, product, or service for the customer, you can use the T-Account Close, using just one item emphasizing that it has more advantages than disadvantages.

Summary: In the rare occurrence that the check marks turned out to be equal for the two products being offered, I would revert to the I Would Recommend Close, state the reason why, and close. By listening closely to Ms. Brown's conversation while she was checking the advantages and disadvantages of each tour, you should be able to pick up something that would give the balance to one tour or the other. Or you could decide based on the feedback that you have had from previous customers.

Situation 2

Luigi Micozzi would like to take an adventure on a remote river in pristine wilderness. He has heard that Wilderness Odysseys of Alexandria, Virginia, have adventure-ecotours to the Pigeon River in northern Canada. When he asked about the price, he was surprised how much it cost. The salesperson decided to use a T-Account Close.

Advantages

unique experience

pristine wilderness long trip to get there

professional environmental interpretation

small group--personal attention

native culture

river safety and navigation excellence

Disadvantages

cost

long trip to get there

Close: "As you can see Mr. Micozzi, this is a unique experience that is very professionally delivered in one of a very few pristine environments left. You can understand that the cost of conducting such a trip for small groups with detailed personal attention would be more than tours carried out for a busload. Value for money paid is what you will find on this adventure. (pause) Which departure date would you prefer?"

Summary: After each point on the T-Account, you would pause and look for a positive response, either verbally or by body language. After a short pause, the question about the preferred departure date should close the sale.

Closing to Resistance Close

The Closing to Resistance Close is used when a customer has a major objection that you have successfully overcome. One example would be when a customer states that he or she does not have the money right now and you close by suggesting the use of a credit card or time payments (if possible).

Situation 1

Mr. and Mrs. George Mandel have been discussing Collette Tours California Coast Tour and Globus Tours California Vacation Tour with you. They like the Globus Tour but prefer a tour of only one week, departing from San Francisco because they will be staying with family in San Francisco. You discern two problems. First they want a shorter tour than nine days. Second, they don't want San Francisco included because they will be staying with relatives there.

Close: "Mr. and Mrs. Mandel, I have a solution for your problem. Globus will allow you to join the tour on Day 3 on Monday, and this would also reduce the price of the tour by $347.00 per person. Considering that this is exactly what you are looking for, I will give them a call to check whether they have space for the date you have requested."

Summary: It is unlikely that Mr. and Mrs. Mandel would resist your offer to check whether space is available, considering that you have overcome their problem. If there is space available, obtain their permission to hold it for them. (In our terminology, this is a booking.) In the unlikely event that they would resist your offer to check whether space is available, use the techniques explained in Chapter 8.

Situation 2

You have been trying to close a deal on a Fly-Cruise for Miss Kathy Ward and Miss Sheila Ingram. Both young ladies are enthralled about the idea of taking a cruise but find the price prohibitive. They are considering just flying to the Caribbean and staying in resorts on three different islands. You decide to do a cost comparison to show that the Fly-Cruise is good value for money paid and hope to overcome their resistance. (See Figure 6-5.)

Close: "At first look, it might seem that the cruise is more expensive, but when you consider that all of the meals and entertainment are included, you can see that the cruise is better value for money paid. (pause) I will check whether space available."

Summary: When you state that "the cruise is better value for money paid," pause, look for body language, and listen for verbal approval. If you discern approval, the objection has been overcome. Go for the reservation! This is a good way to use the Closing to Resistance Close.

The Shortage Close

The Shortage Close utilizes the suggestion that there may not be any space available. Shortage of space is the strongest closing aid. The salesperson indicates that it might not be possible to obtain the space the customer would like to have. Then the salesperson offers to check on the computer or telephone whether space is available. If there is, an offer to reserve it for the customer is usually all that is required to close the deal. This close works very well for tours, special events, accommodations, and various modes of transportation.

A scarcity of items that the customer wants to buy can also help to close the deal when merchandise is involved. It works especially well when only one of a kind is available.

Situation 1

Dr. and Mrs. Ian Robinson have been discussing Collette Tours California Coast Tour and Globus Tours California Vacation with you. They mention that they would like to start their tour on July 18. Today is April 15. You decide to use the Shortage Close.

Close: "Dr. and Mrs. Robinson, I don't know if I can get space on either of those tours. July 18 is right in the middle of peak season, and these two tour companies are the most popular of all for the California Coast. Which one would you like me to try first to check whether any space is left?"

Summary: This is one of the easiest closes of all. If people think there is any chance that they cannot get it, they want it even more. You can often close the deal in 2 minutes or less, whereas some of the other techniques may take 20 minutes or more. High season, holidays, booking on short notice, or even low or discount prices for low season could give concern whether there might be space available.

Situation 2

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Shuler and their children Andy (age 11) and Louise (age 9) call Glacier Park Lodge in Montana to obtain rates for next July 1-8. It is only September 7, almost a year in advance, so they are just planning ahead and not thinking of making a reservation at this time. You are a reservationist for Glacier Park Lodge.

Close: "Mr. Shuler, do you realize that the days you are asking about include the July 4th holiday? We are usually sold out more than a year in advance for that week. If you would like, I could check to see whether anything is available. (pause) Wow, you are in luck! There are two rooms left. Would you like to reserve two rooms or one?"

Summary: Do you have any doubt that Mr. Shuler would resist this close?

The Special Deal Close

The Special Deal Close can be used to nudge prospects into making a buying decision now when otherwise they would be inclined to postpone a buying decision. Of course, this technique is only successful when the offer is really a special deal. One good example would be for a special event when advance tickets are less expensive than tickets at the door.

Situation 1

Mr. and Mrs. Dieter Hoffman have been discussing Collette Tours California Coast Tour and Globus Tours California Vacation with you. Both clients are senior citizens. They are free to travel at any time, but cost is a serious concern. You have received a flier advertising a $200.00 discount for seniors for their last departure on October 23. Close: "Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman, if we are lucky, I can save you $400.00 if you are willing to travel on October 23. Globus has a senior discount on that date only. Would you like me to check whether any space is available for that departure?"

Summary: The combination of the possibility of saving $400.00 and the possibility that space might be limited provides a strong motivation to make a quick decision. Expressing the total saving of $400.00 for the couple probably has more clout than expressing the $200.00 on a per person basis.

Situation 2

You are a reservationist for Northwest Airlines. Mr. Abe Vandenberg calls you on June 16 to request the lowest airfare from Los Angeles to Toronto for travel starting on June 30 and returning on July 19. You offer a special promotional fare of $334.04, but Mr. Vandenberg seems reluctant to make a booking at the present time.

Close: "Mr. Vandenberg, I should advise you that there are only three seats left at that price. On Friday the price goes up to $525.46, and there are only a few seats available at that price. Once they are gone, the full coach fare would apply and that is approximately $1,600.00 including taxes. I strongly suggest that you book one of the seats at $334.04 before they are gone."

Summary: How long do you think it will take Mr. Vandenberg to make up his mind? I bet he is willing to give you his credit card number immediately to guarantee his reservation. But be careful to verify that Mr. Vandenberg will be able to travel on the flights you have discussed because the fare will probably be nonrefundable if he is unable to travel.

The Option Close

The Option Close is probably the easiest one to complete because their is no pressure on the customer. It can be used for any goods or services that you can hold for a customer for a certain length of time with no obligation. Often the customer wants to "talk it over" with someone else before making a final decision to buy. However, if he or she does not buy the space or item now, it may not be available after they have talked it over with someone else.

If you can hold the space or item until they have an opportunity to discuss it, they are assured that the space or item will be available for them. However, they are not obligated to pay at this point. "Options" are always time-limited. When the option date is up, the customer has to make a final decision.

Situation 1

Lise Lapierre has been discussing Collette Tours California Coast Tour and Globus Tours California Vacation Tour with you for herself and her husband, Jacques. She seems to be set on the Collette tour because it includes the mountains of Yosemite National Park plus the two attractions in Hollywood. However, when you offer to book it for her, she resists, saying that she would never make a commitment like that before discussing it with Jacques.

Close: "Mrs. Lapierre, I am sure that you would have to discuss this choice with your husband, but I would hate to have you go home, discuss it, make a decision, and then find out tomorrow that it is no longer available. Collette Tours has a five-day option period. This means I could book it for you now without any obligation for five days. This would give you and Mr. Lapierre sufficient time to consider it, and in the meantime you know that the space for you is reserved if you decide that it is the right choice for both of you. If you and Mr. Lapierre decide that you prefer the Globus tour, we can change it. If it is okay with you, I will phone to see if Collette Tours has space available and if so, I will hold it for you." (For Collette Tours, holding it for you and making a reservation are the same thing, but for the customer it is a soft sell.)

Summary: Why would Mrs. Lapierre not agree to take the option? She has nothing to lose and an excellent chance to convince her husband to take the tour she wants to take. The Option Close is the easiest one to make. There is little if any pressure on the client except that she will feel obligated to get back to you to confirm or change the reservation. Notice, I said change not cancel. If this is not the right choice for Mr. and Mrs. Lapierre, you will find out what is the right choice and book that. Make sure that you make a definite appointment with the client to confirm or change the reservation. Get a date, time, and place to firm things up.

Situation 2

I take the Situation 2 example from the Special Deal Close and show you how you could use the Option Close if the Special Deal Close did not work. You are a reservationist for Northwest Airlines. Mr. Abe Vandenberg calls you on June 16 to request the lowest airfare from Los Angeles to Toronto for travel starting on June 30 and returning on July 19. You offer a special promotional fare of $334.04, but Mr. Vandenberg seems reluctant to make a booking at the present time.

Close: "Mr. Vandenberg, I should advise you that there are only three seats left at that price. On Friday the price goes up to $525.46, and there are only a few seats available at that price. Once they are gone, the full coach fare would apply, and that is approximately $1,600.00 including taxes. I strongly suggest that you book one of the seats at $334.04 before they are gone."

Mr. Vandenberg understands the chance he is taking of the fare going up if he does not book now, but he also realizes that the ticket would be totally nonrefundable if he is not able to go. He has not asked his boss for the time off yet and does not want to book until he has talked to his boss tomorrow.

"Mr. Vandenberg, we have a solution for your problem. Northwest Airlines will give you a 24-hour option. This means I can book it for you now at the lowest price and you are not obligated to pay anything for 24 hours. If your boss approves your vacation request, we can issue the ticket tomorrow. If these dates cannot be worked out, let us know tomorrow and we will work out the best deal we can get for the dates that are approved." Pause and listen for a verbal approval. Even silence is a tacit approval. Complete the booking.

Summary: The Option Close has made a difficult booking into an easy booking. Mr. Vandenberg has nothing to lose. He is guaranteed the lowest possible airfare if he can get the time off. He has time to talk to the boss regarding his request. If he is not able to get the time off, he is not obligated to pay anything. For Northwest Airlines, we have the booking. If he cannot go when he is booked, we ask him to call back so that we can make a booking for other dates.

The Assumed Sold Close

The Assumed Sold Close is used when the salesperson takes the position that the prospect is going to buy and begins to process the order. This is particularly effective when the prospect has answered the first qualifying question in his or her opening remarks. You already know the answer to where? For any type of service that has to be booked, the salesperson goes to the reservation computer or telephone and starts the reservation process, asking the customer for the required information, including dates, times, the number of people, names, and so on. Other versions of the Assumed Sold Close include starting to fill in an order form or counting out the required number of tickets. The Assumed Sold Close requires a lot of confidence and a little acting ability by the salesperson. It also requires good observation and listening skills to perceive an early closing signal. It can be used any time you discern the customer is going to buy. Words like, "I need," or "I have to," or "I have to be in Houston on Tuesday" can be responded to with, "Would you like to put it on your credit card or do you prefer to pay cash?"

This technique is especially appropriate for special events, attractions, tours, transportation, and accommodations sector.

Situation 1

Ms. Martha Clarke and Ms. Clare Myers have been discussing Collette Tours California Coast Tour with you. As you mentioned the various features, the following comments were made:

* Yosemite National Park--In unison, "Wonderful!"

* San Diego Zoo--Clare: "I bet you can't wait to see the panda bears, Martha."

* Hearst Castle--Clare: "That will be a highlight for both of us, Martha."

* Solvang--Martha: "I have always wanted to go to Denmark. Perhaps Solvang will give us a taste of what it is like."

* Mann's Chinese Theatre and the "Stars Walk of Fame"--Clare: "Martha, can you imagine what the girls in our bridge club will say when we tell them we've been to Hollywood?"

Close: "Because this is exactly the tour you desire, I suggest we book it before someone else gets your places." You watch carefully as you pick up the phone or go to the reservations computer. If you do not see any overt objection, you proceed with the reservation.

Summary: Assumed Sold closes are usually used for smaller purchases like tickets for a special event, an attraction, or local sightseeing. However, for larger or more complex sales, if you receive positive feedback at every step, why shouldn't you assume that the client is going to book? If the client is going to book, stop fooling around and book it.

Situation 2

A client was taking an extended trip to the Orient. He often, perhaps foolishly, did not take medical insurance when he traveled. But this time, because of the distance and the cost of emergency travel from the destinations back home, he thought he had better consider it. He went to the auto club and approached one of my former students to check out the details of the coverage and the cost. He did not have his mind made up to buy the insurance, but like most prospects, he just went in to ask a few questions.

Close: Warren did an exemplary job of qualifying the client, and by the time he had the answers to the client's questions, Warren had the policy all filled in. "Just sign here, Mr. Cunningham and you are all set." Warren was very convincing in his sales points, and Mr. Cunningham probably would have purchased the insurance anyway, but at this point he would have been embarrassed not to sign on the dotted line. The use of the Assumed Sold Close certainly sped up the process.

Summary: The Assumed Sold Close is by far the quickest close and can save you a great deal of time during a busy day. If there is no reason to believe that the prospect is not going to buy, why not take a positive attitude that he or she is going to buy and proceed in a straight line for the sale? It takes confidence and a little acting ability. It often edges a person who might tend to procrastinate to make an early decision.

CLOSING BY TYPE OF PROSPECT

Prospects can be divided into three types of people: dominant people, dependent people, and detached people.

Dominant people attempt to assert themselves over others and are motivated by self-esteem needs. They want to be looked up to by others. They expect a salesperson to be seasoned and firm. A Summary Close or a Special Deal Close often works well with dominant people. The Assumed Sold Close and the Minor Points Close do not work well for dominant people.

Dependent people are friendly, warm, and thoughtful. The Choice Close, Minor Points Close, and the Assumed Sold Close work well for dependent people.

Detached people are cold, businesslike, and may seem unfriendly. These people are concerned with facts and logic. They resist emotional appeals. The Summary Close, the T-Account Close, the Minor Points Close, and the Special Deal Close are effective with detached people.

CLOSE TO THE DECISION-MAKER

When selling to more than one customer, determine who is the decision-maker and sell to that person. "You want to reach the person who has the largest say in selecting a product or service. Men usually exert a larger say in buying insurance ... while women are most likely to have a deciding vote in home furnishings. Perhaps both carry equal weight in purchasing a car or home. College-age students affect the choice of university, even if parents are footing the bills, and children have a lot to say about things like breakfast cereals, fast food, and toys." (2) "Better than half of those surveyed (55%) reported that the travel decision was a joint one. Another 30% said that the female made the decision, with the remaining 15% being credited to male influence." (3) Observe closely. Decide which partner is the decision-maker. And, close to the decision-maker.

When selling to groups, there is always a key person in the decision-making process. Determine who this person is before scheduling an appointment to discuss your proposal. The decision-maker could be the president, the chief executive officer, the past president, the social director, the secretary, or any other person of rank. But there is always one person who has more say in a decision than anyone else. Determine who this person is by asking questions. Talk to the secretary, receptionist, long-term members, executive members, and by observation when you are visiting the organization's facilities. Convince the decision-maker and he or she will close the sale for you.

SUMMARY OF THE CLOSING PROCESS

Closing is the process of asking a question that solicits an answer that gives the salesperson consent to complete the sale. The customer has only three choices:

1. To accept--the deal is closed. Complete the booking!

2. To remain silent--gives consent or tacit approval. Complete the booking!

3. To object. If the customer objects to your attempt to book it, determine the reason for the objection. Handle the objection, and close again.

Discussion Questions

1. Define the term closing.

2. Define the term trial close.

3. List 10 closing signals.

4. Describe seven situations when it is not a good time to close.

5. Name 10 closing techniques.

Notes

(1.) Richard F. Wendel and Walter Gorman, Selling--Personal Preparation, Persuasion, Strategy, 3rd ed. (New York: Random House Business Division), 387.

(2.) Robert T. Reilly, Travel and Tourism Marketing Techniques, 2nd ed. (Albany, NY: Delmar Learning, 1988), 24.

(3.) Robert T. Reilly, Travel and Tourism Marketing Techniques (Wheaton, IL: Merton House Publishing Co., 1980), 13.
FIGURE 6-1 Comparative analysis of Collette's California
Coast Tour and Globus's California Vacation.

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS FOR TOURS

DESTINATION: California Coast             QUALITY: Best Available
Co. 1. Collette's California              Co. 2. Globus's California
Coast Tour                                Vacation Tour
No. of nights:                        8   8

FEATURES:
  Yosemite National Park                  Cruise of San Francisco Bay
  Mann's Chinese Theatre, LAX             Steam Train-Redwood Country
  "Stars Walk of Fame," LAX               Cruise to Catalina Island
  Mission San Juan Capistrano             Cruise of San Diego Bay

MEALS INCLUDED:
  BREAKFASTS                          5   8
  LUNCHES                             0   1
  DINNERS                             6   5

SIGHT-SEEING TOURS:
  San Francisco                           San Francisco
  Yosemite National Park                  Santa Barbara
  Mann's Chinese Theatre, LAX             San Diego
  Stars Walk of Fame, LAX                 Hearst Castle
  17 Mile Drive                           17 Mile Drive
  Big Sur                                 Big Sur
  San Diego Zoo

ITINERARY/ACCOMMODATIONS:
  San Francisco                           San Francisco
    Galleria Park/Sir Francis Drake       The Westin St. Francis
  Yosemite National Park
    Yosemite Lodges/Tenaya Lodge
  Monterey                                Monterey
    Casa Munras                           Monterey Hyatt Regency
  Solvang                                 Solvang
    Danish Country Inn/                   Rancho Santa Barbara
    Royal Scandinavian Inn
  Los Angeles                             Long Beach
    Westin Bonaventure                      Renaissance Hotel
  Anaheim
    West Coast Hotel
  San Diego                               San Diego
    US Grant Hotel                          Travelodge Harbor Island

COST/PERSON FOR (DATE): JULY 17
  $1,719.00                               $1,809.00

COST/DIEM:            $214.88             $226.13

COMMENTS: The Globus Tour costs $90.00 more/
$11.25 per diem or approximately 5% more.

  * Yosemite National Park
    San Diego Zoo                           more meals
    Capistrano                            * 3 boat cruises
    Mann's Chinese Theatre                  Santa Barbara
    Stars Walk of Fame                    * excellent hotels

* Indicates key feature

FIGURE 6-2
Comparison of the "New York All Day" tour and the "Statue of
Liberty, Ellis Island, Plus Upper and Lower Manhattan" tour.

                                       Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island
         New York All Day              Plus Upper and Lower Manhattan

Boat ride to the Statue of Liberty   Boat ride to the Statue of Liberty
Tour of Upper and Lower Manhattan    Tour of Upper and Lower Manhattan
Observation Deck of the Empire       Columbia University
  State Bldg.
23 miles of touring                  20 miles of touring
9 1/2 hours                          7 to 8 hours

FIGURE 6-3
Collette California Coast Tour T-Account.

Advantages

[check] Yosemite National Park
--      San Diego Zoo
[check] Less expensive than Globus
[check] Capistrano
[check] Mann's Chinese Theatre
[check] "Stars Walk of Fame"

Disadvantages

     -- Fewer meals than Globus tour
[check] No boat cruises
[check] Doesn't go to Santa Barbara
     -- Hotels not as good as Globus

FIGURE 6-4
Globus California Coast Vacation T-Account.

Globus California Coast Vacation

Advantages

     -- 14 meals included
[check] 3 boat cruises
[check] Santa Barbara
     -- superior hotels
[check] Capistrano
     -- steam-train redwood country

Disadvantages

[check] more expensive
[check] doesn't include Hollywood
     -- doesn't include San Diego Zoo
[check] doesn't include Yosemite

FIGURE 6-5 Air-sea package versus independent travel.

COST OF SEVEN-DAY CRUISE COMPARED WITH INDEPENDENT TRAVEL

Item                                   7-Day Fly-Cruise

Outside Cabin Cat HH                          $2,273.00
Meals: 6 per Day Included
Transfers in San Juan                             24.00
Government Fees and Taxes                         45.07
Air Add-on SEA-SJU                               579.00
Taxes and Other Charges
Port Charges                                      25.00

Total                                         $2,946.07

Total for the Air-Sea Package                 $2,946.07

Item                             7-Day Independent Tour

Share Double or Twin                          $1,241.10
Meals: (Low Estimate)                            462.84
Transfers Round Trip                              20.35
Entertainment                                    140.00
Airfare SEA-SJU                                1,063.50
Taxes and Other Charges                           38.45

Total for 1 Destination Only                  $2,966.24

Additional Airfare for the
Same Itinerary as the Cruise                     624.65

Extra Transfers                                  122.10

Total for Air-Land Tour                       $3,712.99
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Article Details
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Author:Kay, H. Kenner
Publication:Selling Tourism
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:8788
Previous Article:Chapter 5 Answering questions, recommending a product or service are creating acceptance.
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