When I was a very young sales associate, one of my trainerstried to teach me his self-proclaimed “ultimate closingtechnique.”

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The set-up is that the prospects are somewhere between a yes anda no. My trainer had a foolproof technique for getting someone togive you the answer you need. It goes like this: “Mr./Ms. DecisionMaker, we've been talking about this for a little while now and Ifeel like we're making progress, but I want to be sure I'm notmissing the signals. My question is, is this a slow yes or a slowno?

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If it's a slow no, I'm guessing you're not going to do it andjust don't want to hurt my feelings. I appreciate that, but I makemy living on two words: “yes” or “no.” “Maybe so” doesn't help me,or you, because I'll keep coming back until I hear one of thoseanswers and it becomes awkward for both of us. So if this is a slowno, let's end this right now.

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If it's a slow yes, though, you've seen value in what we'vediscussed but there's some question I haven't answered that'skeeping you from moving forward today. Do you mind me asking whatthat is?”

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[Prospect answers] “I understand. If we can resolve that, isthere any reason you wouldn't want to move forward today?”

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Slow yes or slow no… I never figured out if it was madness orgenius or mad genius, but it actually worked for me. That one timeI got punched in the face, but 85-year-old payroll ladies arefeisty like that.

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I'm passing this along because it highlights a couple of things.While you wouldn't use this “technique” on your first visit, youmight be amazed at how positively people respond to this kind ofopenness after you've established some rapport. How would it changeyour sales calls if you were this open with all your prospects?

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It also gets your head straight. I've noticed something about“maybe so.” Maybe so is a bit of a Snuggie. It wraps you up andkeeps you warm. As great as warm is, though, it doesn't get youpaid.

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We hear “no” so often that we find ourselves craving the warmthof that Snuggie and we don't want to give it up.

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But here's the $64,000 question: How much is that Snuggiecosting you? How many hours have you spent tracking down a prospectwho just won't get off the dime? Imagine how much progress youcould be making with an eventual yes if you got one of those maybeso's to say no.

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