Recently I was reminded about this closing technique by a seat mate on an airplane. I was upgraded into first and was sitting next to Mr. Talkative. He made me wonder if I looked like a bartender. Mr. T began telling me about his life and family. Of all the dribble he spilled, it was the anger and frustration I could see in Mr. T’s face as he relived a story he shared about a recent car purchase.
Mr. T was interested in obtaining a new Porsche Caymen S. This is not your average car, it is not even your average high-line car. According to Mr. T owning this Porsche was simply an honor. He’d been dreaming of a new Porsche for years. Now that he had finally found success in the legal profession he was ready.
Mr. T related his story of going to the dealership to purchase his new car. Walking into the showroom, it appeared deserted, not a soul to be seen. As he began looking at the cars on the floor an impeccably dressed associate walked past with hardly a glance. A moment later the associate returned, again walking across the showroom. Just after passing Mr. T the associate turned, almost as if it was an afterthought, and greeted Mr. T with a smile “Can I help you” he asked. “Well yes you can” said Mr. T, “I am interested in purchasing this car.” The associate appeared a bit perplexed, as if it is odd that a consumer would be interested in purchasing their product. Instead of eagerness to help this potential client the associate advised Mr. T that he was very busy. He suggested Mr. T grab a brochure from the stand and make himself comfortable.
After some time had passed the associate returned and again asked if there were any questions that could be answered. Mr. T replied that he had researched the vehicles quite thoroughly and was ready to discuss terms and availability of his selection. The associate chuckled lightly in response and advised Mr. T that procuring a feat of engineering such as a Caymen is not that easy; after all it is not just a car. Furthermore he implied that their automobiles were not meant for just anyone, that it required a “certain kind of person” to handle such a powerful racing machine. The associate then looked at Mr. T up and down as if undressing the man, trying to find out what kind of person he really was. Did Mr. T look like the type of person that should be allowed in a new Porsche? Did he look like the kind of person that could afford a Porsche?
As he relived the story in his mind this is when the anger became obvious. I knew what was coming next in the story from Mr. T. He didn’t disappoint me.
While Mr. T had the impression that his dream might come crumbling down, the reality is that he had been sold and didn’t even know it. After years of toiling away at law school and a decade of hundred-hour weeks and thousands of cases, Mr. T was ready to buy his dream car, and was not threatened with the thought that he somehow might not be “qualified!”
He fell right into the salesman’s greedy little hands. Mr. T stepped up close to the salesman and explained that not only could he afford to purchase this car and 3 more if he really wanted to, but that the car was in fact built with Mr. T in mind. He told the salesman “I’ve been waiting to buy this car for months. I will be driving off this lot in one today. Now, either you are going to sell me this car or I will talk to your boss and buy the car from him!”
Mr. T. fell for the reverse psychology close. This approach is most effective with high value or scarce products or on dominant personality types, people that think they are more intelligent and knowledgeable than the salesperson.
The key to its success is in the body language and approach of the salesperson. They must approach the customer very nonchalantly, as if it is a bother to assist the customer. A salesperson may imply that their product is in high demand and a sale to you really doesn’t matter because another customer will be in shortly. They may also create the perception that their company is very selective about their products and customers. All of this only serves to draw the customer in more, making them feel is if they really are special or privileged to have the opportunity to spend their money.
Fighting Back –
For this close the most effective countermeasure is to fight fire with fire. Using the scenario above, if a salesperson was too “busy” it might be appropriate to show your empathy for their tough day and commiserate as you too have very limited time. You might want to indicate that you only stopped in for a minute on the way to the Chevy dealer to buy a new Corvette. You could drop a hint about all this extra cash you have that has been screaming to be spent and you had finally decided you were going to buy from “the other store.” On the way however you thought it might be worth the time to just take a peek “one more time” at the Caymen.
With information like this, the sales person will now have a renewed sense of urgency. It will now become his mission to convince you how superior their car is over the competitor and why their dealer is a better place to do business.
photo by ricardodiaz11
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