Truly a very special American; Ben gave so much. As a writer (an early form of blogging?) he helped to teach Americans about frugality and wise money management. He loved music and gave us the glass armonica. Franklin was a scientist dabbling in the magic of electricity. Our founding father was also an inventor; creating a variety of items including bifocal glasses and a new wood burning stove. He was also an entrepreneur starting our countries first fire company and fire insurance company. Do you think he didn’t trust his stove?
Ben was also a salesperson. He continues to this day and has been selling his ideas to generations since his death.
However, there are also sales people that are using the respect and admiration we all hold for Ben in a closing technique named after Ben himself.
Maybe you have seen this closing technique; if not from a sales person then surely from your parents. This approach is used when a person is having a hard time making a decision. They have not said no, but they have also not said yes.
The sales person, recognizing a lack of decision will bring up wise old Benjie and say something like this:
“Mr. Customer, we all know how smart old Benjamin Franklin was. He was a very thrifty fellow and like you concerned for getting the most value for every dollar spent. When Ben had a difficult time coming to a decision he had a sure-fire method for quickly resolving his conflict.”
At this point in the presentation a salesperson will put a pad of paper in front of you. Down the center he will draw a line. On your left side he will write the word “con.’ On the right side of the sheet would be the word “pro.”
The salesperson would continue as they are creating the sheet. “Ben would take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. On one side he would write the word con, on the other the word pro. Ben would then begin writing reasons against doing something or buying something. He would then write down all the reasons that he would buy or do something. After filling out the sheet, Ben would have his answer and so will you.”
Note that the salesperson will always ask you to write down the negatives first. This is done for two reasons. First it is informative to know any and all objections to buying. With this information they will be in a better position to find a way to sell you their product. Negative responses are also first because a salesperson does not want you to end your thoughts on a negative note.
Your salesman is not going to be very helpful while you talk yourself out of the product. But once you have listed your four or five reasons they will be happy to help you list the reasons to buy. Being in a more knowledgeable position the salesperson now has a chance to overcome any of your objections or trivialize them to the point of insignificance.
You have only two options; play the game or refuse. Refusing might be the best path for most. Without showing your hand they have little to work with. Keeping salespeople in the dark is rarely a bad thing.
On the other hand you could play if you feel adventurous. The key to playing is to understand that there are no rules. Make the salesman fill out the form as you dictate. Decide to list the positives first, giving you insight on how to develop some negatives. You can even take it a step further and ask the salesperson to help. After completing the form, ask the salesperson to list all the reasons other customers gave not to buy.
Use the Ben Franklin Close to your benefit
Think for a moment of a situation in your past where you could have used this approach to gain support from another. It may have been a sale you were trying to make or convincing a friend to volunteer for a charity event. There are many situations that this approach can be used to let a person convince themselves to make a decision. As long as you are knowledgeable about the subject and prepared to help list all the positives you are likely to succeed.
Readers: Have you ever been given a Ben Franklin close? What was it for and who used it on you? Would you ever use this approach to help convince your kids of decision, like what school to go to?
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