Sidney C. Walker
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November 2009

The Question That Creates The Most Sales...
by Sidney C. Walker


What is the question that has the greatest impact on your closing presentation? It is simply "Why is this important to you?" This is a question that you should have asked before you get to a closing presentation. The answer to this question is what you lead with in your closing presentation. However, if you forgot to ask the question prior to your closing interview, this question can still be asked during the close for the first time and it can still work.


Why is this question so powerful? In the Dale Carnegie sales vernacular, it gets at the "dominant buying motive." This is the single most powerful motivation for a client to take action on whatever you are proposing. If you go into a closing interview without it, you are essentially flying blind and have substantially increased the odds of the client doing nothing.


Whenever I am coaching an advisor who has a lot of business pending and nothing seems to be closing, I ask two questions. The first question is, "Tell me about one of your pending cases and what the client is trying to accomplish?" The second question is, "Tell me in the client’s words, why this is important to them?" Almost no one in this situation answers the second question without some major fumbling for words.


What does a dominant buying motivation sound like? It is usually a feeling or the feeling that will come from having the solution to the problem in place. Examples are: peace of mind, sense of security, an expression of love, care, or concern for others; feeling responsible, sense of recognition or prestige; feeling of confidence or competence that you did your best to plan for the future. The opposites of the above feelings can be prime motivators as well, avoiding feelings like: looking bad, looking irresponsible, feeling embarrassed, etc. I would advise that you always state the dominant motivation of a client in positive terms even if you have to change their words a little (which I ordinarily advise against). They will appreciate the positive spin.


The opening language of your closing presentation should sound something like: "John and Mary, you told me that you want to have a certain lifestyle when you retire and want to look at the best options available to give you that lifestyle. Furthermore, you said that this is important to you because you have worked hard all your life and you want to have something to show for it when you retire. You also said it is important for you to be able to spend time with your grand children and to be able to help them with college if they need it or to get a start in life. And this is important to you because of the help you got from your parents which made a huge difference in what you were able to achieve. Do I have that right? Is there anything you want to add?" Don’t worry about grammar or sentence structure here, just use their words as much as you can and re-state anything related to what they said was important. The more the better.


Here is a test scenario. The client says to you, "I need to find a way to save more and protect my money from potential loss." Do you jump in and show off your knowledge of how to accomplish these objectives or do you see the opportunity to get at their dominant motivation? I am a big proponent of teaching people what their options are but be careful not to forget to ask somewhere in that interview, "John and Mary, you said you want to save more and protect your money from potential loss. Tell me more about why that is important to you?"


Have a productive November and a peaceful Thanksgiving,

Toll-free: 877-985-3297



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