An alternative close
offers more than one alternative
The number of choices should be limited
between those supporting the questioner's ends:
two or three is preffered.
If there are too many alternatives,
including "No", or an undesired outcome of the salesperson,
the prospect may be faced with more complexity,
limiting the seller's ability to close.
"Coliseum advocates may have to work overtime
to convince city voters that the complex
needs a new $36 million performing arts center.
But first, they must contend with folks who support the idea
of a new theater but don’t want it built at the coliseum.
Downtown advocates have long called for a landmark performance space.
If the city is going to build an arts center, they argue, it should be downtown.
...Mayor Robbie Perkins has asked city staff members
to present realistic estimates for building a theater downtown,
in order to help the council consider its options.
Would you prefer the red one or the yellow one?
Would you like one packet or two?
Which of these three instruments seems best for you?
Shall we meet next week or the week after?
...A theater at the coliseum would cost less than one downtown,
Downtown advocates are urging council members
not to buy that until they consider other options.
The Alternative Close is a variant on the broader-based Assumptive Close
and works primarily through the assumption principle,
where you act as if the customer has already decided to buy,
and the only question left
is which of a limited number of options they should choose.
“If we are going to make an investment of this size and magnitude,
there ought to be a more thoughtful process to make sure
this is the right facility and the right location,”
said Ed Wolverton, president of Downtown Greensboro Inc.
“We’re really focused on making sure
that we’re working in the best interest of the entire community.”
An Alternative Close can work in many different situations
where agreement is sought on specific tasks...
An extra technique that can be effective
is to add a slight nod when offering the preferred choice.
This can be accompanied by subtle verbal emphasis on the words.
...The issue has been explored in a series of planning studies,
which even considered where to build the theater.
...“Come up with a plan that works and is financeable,
and we will go from there,” Perkins said."
1. To get the customer used to dealing with this close,
as you work through the sales process, use alternate choices.
This can be done when trying to set appointment
or when determining how to proceed.
When customers get used to the process of having an alternate choice,
they are more receptive when it is used as a close.
2. Be sure to be positive after each response
to reinforce the customer’s willingness to an alternate choice.
3. Once the customer has become accustomed to alternate choices,
use a final alternate choice close to finalize a sales.
The customer will no longer be a stranger to this technique
and will be able to make an important decision
by choosing from one of two options.
They will find the decision to be easier and less risky.
Here is this technique in action…
Sales Rep: “Would it be easier for your team to receive the delivery
during the February shipment or the March shipment.”
Customer: “The March shipment would be better
since ours goes out in May.”
Sales Rep: “Excellent. We can arrange that.
Now, was this for the opaque panes or the transparent panes?”
Customer: “Actually, we’d like to arrange for both, if that’s possible.”
Sales Rep: “Definitely. I’ll draw up the agreement with both.
Do you want me to e-mail the agreement
or provide you with a hard copy?”
Customer: “Why don’t you e-mail it to me…
that way I can shoot it right over to the legal department.”
As you can see, the process dovetails very nicely.
It is a simple matter of moving the customer along
until the final close.
Try using the alternate choice close throughout the sales process
and in the last stages to “help” your customer make a decision.