Against Assumptive Closing

BusinessPundit has a good discussion of sales technique. First he complains about traditional sales training:

Those of you with sales training know they drill you to "ask for the order."... this means that you make a presentation, reply to any questions or objections and immediately assume that the customer is going to buy. So you ask, "When would you like delivery" or "What options would you like on your widget?"
Then, he offers his own ideas:
Selling is about problem solving. Only sell to people who have a need for your product. If they don't realize they have a need, show them why they do. Don't try to sell them your widget. Develop a widget that they need. And don't keep asking for the order after each time you handle an objection. You'll drive a buyer crazy.

When I worked at Radio Shack, my manager insisted that we always step the customer up to the next level product. The rationalization was that customers would be happier with the more expensive item. But what really happened is that they refused to shop at Radio Shack again because of they got ripped off spending more money than they intended.

I threw their sales training out the window, and was the second highest salesman in my area. Why? Because people trusted me. I looked out for my customers and they came back. I sold them what best fit their needs, not what best fit mine. And that is what successful selling is all about.
There were some interesting comments, as well:

One of the most underrated aspects of salesmanship is listening. The sales rep who starts talking without making any attempt to draw the customer out is headed for failure. So is the salesman who uses stereotyped and pre-planned conversational forms. david foster

If the client isn't doing 75% of the talking you aren't going to get the sale, no mater how many nifty closing techniques you use. Chris O'Donnell

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