Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
A stall – having a client tell you they need to “think about it” – is your worst nightmare when trying to close business. Here are two ways to avoid that catastrophe.
The Brueckner close
Tom Brueckner, a past coaching client, was ahead of his time. His office was well thought out. The walls were glass, giving the space an open, airy flow. His video monitors were tuned to a business news channel that reflected the demographics of his clients. Even his waiting room was well planned. Clients were escorted within minutes to a glass office and asked promptly if they wanted coffee, tea, water or a soft drink. Clients were left to notice decorations like plants, wall pictures of his family, and military photos of his son.
All of this was done on purpose.
When Tom greeted the client or prospect, they invariably asked, “Who waters all these plants?” and “What does your son do in the military?” This was a natural way to develop rapport with new prospects as well as clients who did not visit the office often.
But the magic of this atmosphere was how Tom used his space to avoid any stall.
You are at the end of a meeting and the prospect or client says, “Let us think about it!” Nothing good happens after this comment. They will forget 70% of what was said after one day and 90% after three days. By the time you get them on the phone, they will have forgotten most of what was suggested and lost interest.
While it is useful to allow clients to ponder concepts, it is even more helpful if they do it while in the office. This is where Tom excelled. At the end of the meeting, he asks if the couple has any questions. He then says he needs to talk to Sandy at reception to sign some documents. Tom again asks if the clients want coffee, tea, water or soft drinks.
He chats with Sandy for exactly three minutes. Sandy knows exactly what Tom is doing and reminds him when three minutes have elapsed. Tom walks back into the office and uses these exact words, “So, where are we at?” Think of the brilliance of this simple gesture. He elegantly gave the couple a few minutes to ponder the concepts and formulate any questions. Most of the time, couples will just ask how to get started.
One of my coaching clients often saw prospects at their homes and couldn’t go to the front reception to sign documents. He asked to use the bathroom and spent about three minutes there. The first words when he returned were, “So, where are we at?”
One of my coaching clients got so flustered at a prospect’s home that he asked to visit the local convenience store to buy a carton of milk for his wife. When he returned to the prospect's home, he sat at the kitchen table with them and said, “So where are we at?” No matter what the situation or venue, prospects need time to think, but not to stall. Give them that short amount of space without allowing them to stall.
When a couple wants to think about it, it’s their desire to weigh the issues. If you make space in your meeting for the couple to do just that, you will be stalled much less frequently.
Avoiding “running out of time”
Another coaching client, Richard, noticed that prospects were suddenly running out of time, had emergencies or needed to reschedule meetings. It was problematic and wasteful. His desire was to spend an hour probing and fact-finding and an hour in a presentation if necessary. But a prospect who needed to interrupt the meeting would create an obstacle.
He came up with a unique introductory question: “How are we doing for time?” In most cases, prospects would say “fine.” At times they would mention a meeting scheduled for the next hour. Either way, Richard knew exactly how much time he had and what message he wanted to communicate.
When his prospect’s time was limited, Richard would give an overview of what he wanted to cover and reschedule the meeting. Most of the time, he has all the time he needs to complete his agenda.
In both communication examples – "The Brueckner close" and "How are we doing for time?" – you will make much better use of your time and close more business that might have drifted away.
I would love to send you a free video of “The Brueckner Close” Write me at [email protected] or call 714-368-3650. We will spend a few minutes talking about your goals for increasing your business this year.
Dr. Kerry Johnson is “America’s Business Psychologist.” He is the best-selling author of 17 books including the recently released How to Recruit, Hire and Retain Great People. He is also a frequent speaker at financial conferences around the world. Peak Performance Coaching, his one-on-one coaching program, promises to increase your business by 80% in 8 weeks. To see if you are a candidate for this fast-track system, click on www.KerryJohnson.com/coaching and take a free evaluation test. You will learn about your strengths and what is holding you back. Or call, 714-368-3650 for more information.
Read more articles by Kerry Johnson