Closing a sale using an Alternative Close is old fashioned, out of date, and most professional buyers are aware of the technique. It is not a technique I would ever recommend and in my opinion it's used by people that haven't bothered to learn real sales skills.
These types of closing techniques are linguistic tricks and leave customers with buyer's remorse, cause cancellations and complaints, and can ruin the reputation of a company or even an industry sector.
Remember how this type of hard sell made people wary of double glazing sales, time-share and holiday club sales, cold calls from energy suppliers in the UK, and even further back used car sales.
But, read this page and see how you can develop the technique into a modern, effective way to help you to increase sales or grow your business.
The original Alternative closing technique was to offer a prospect a choice of usually two alternatives and when they make their selection the sales person takes that as a buying signal and presumes, or uses it as an excuse to presume, that the prospect wishes to purchase the one they have selected.
The act of the prospect selecting a preference was taken as a reason, or an excuse, to push forward and close a sale.
Seller: Which do you prefer, Red or Blue?
Prospect: The red one looks best.
Seller: Good choice, I’ll wrap it for you.
The alternative question asked which one the prospect preferred, not which one they wanted to buy. Once a choice is made the seller makes an assumption that they can now close a sale. If the prospect wasn't ready to buy the sales person hoped they were too polite or too timid to stop them as they started ringing the till, arranging delivery, or processing the order.
If I was asked if I prefer a private jet or a personal helicopter I would answer the jet, but that doesn’t mean I will be buying one anytime soon.
You still see the technique used today, often in retail sales and sales to the public at home, there is less chance the public are aware of the sales technique compared to business prospects.
It is also used by some sales people closing a sale for one off purchases when they don't see relationship building as important or repeat business is not an objective.
The slightest sign of agreement to the alternative question and with lightening speed the seller is closing the sale and the item is ordered or the contract is opened and pen thrust into the prospect's hand making it difficult for them to back out.
The good news is: With a few changes, adaptations, and development, the alternative closing technique can be used to support closing a sale in a modern, professional way.
So here are some ideas on closing a sale with the Alternative technique...
Let’s take this old fashioned hard sell sales trick for closing a sale and develop it into a modern technique that will work ethically with all prospects.
What makes the original sales closing technique so tacky and unprofessional is the way sellers use the prospect’s preference for one of the alternatives offered as a buying signal when it clearly isn't. It's a trap set by the sales person.
To develop this technique let’s not use the alternatives as a way of closing the sale, Instead we will build it into our Sales Presentation stage of the sale and use it to gain agreement.
If you are not familiar with selling using sales stages this is how it works.
The path from the Introduction Stage to Closing a Sale has 4 stages. Within each stage are a number of steps.
There are many benefits to selling using this process:
For more on selling using sales stages visit: Sales Process
Our new sales technique, adapted from the old alternative question when closing a sale, will work in two ways. It will help us to identify the sales offer that the prospect is interested in, and gain some agreement from them to this solution, product or service, or proposal. The more agreement you gain throughout your sales pitch the easier it will be when you come to close the sale later.
We can use this alternative presentation technique to gain agreement to one of two alternative sales offers that we present to the prospect. The alternatives can be totally separate sales offers or two variations of the same offer.
A car sales person could be offering two completely different cars that both meet the prospects desires. Or, could be presenting just the one car but with two different ways of purchasing it, such as credit agreement or lease hire.
Remember, we are not going to use this as a trap to get the buyer to say they have a preference so we can jump straight to a presumptive close. We are genuinely interested in their preference as part of discovering their needs, wants, and desires.
When you gain agreement using this technique you are another step closer to closing a sale.
Each time you gain agreement in your sales presentation it is like a mini-close, as well as guiding you to the perfect sales proposal or offer. As you build up all these mini-closes you are securing the sale because the prospect is saying yes to the individual elements of the item or service you are selling.
By building all this agreement into your Sales Stages you will make it harder for them to say no or raise a sales objection when you ask the final question to close the sale. All the concerns will have been raised during the sales process at the different stages.
The Alternative Presentation Technique can also be viewed as a trial close, a way of testing the prospect’s commitment and seeing if any objections come up after your presentation and before you ask for the order.
This effective sales technique can be used in any of the sales stages of the selling process where you want guidance on finding the best product, service, or other options for the prospect.. And, it's a friendly consultative selling, type of technique that keeps the conversation flowing and does no harm to the relationship you are building.
If you want to see more on selling using sales stages and the steps in each of the stages, here's a mini-course to get you started...
Learn how to sell anything with this mini sales training course on selling using a sales process.
With agreement gaining woven into the sales process, closing a sale becomes just a simple, no pressure question because you have done all the work in the early stages.
Learn the steps within each sale stage that take you and the prospect from the introduction to the close. Whether you sell to retail customers, B2B or B2C buyers, or large organisations, the steps and the process have already been proven and will work for you.
See more information by visiting: How to Sell and start using the course to increase your sales today.
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