The close is not necessarily the most important part of the sale

October 10, 2013


ewspaper sales managers and trainers sometimes spend too much time teaching salespeople how to close sales. In fact, the close may not be the most important part of the sale. Also, traditional closing techniques could have an adverse effect in selling situations.


Extensive Studies

Many experts have studied thousands of salespeople and have realized that in many cases, traditional closing techniques do not always work. Many times, sales have gone down as the frequency and intensity of closing attempts went up. In many cases, it was difficult to gain insight by asking successful salespeople what they do, because they really didn’t know. What they say and what they do are usually different. The best way to determine what makes them successful is to observe their behavior in the field while they actually make sales calls.


The Presentation

The polished, hard sell presentation may persuade the prospect to purchase an ad on the spot. But research shows that the presentation had only a temporary effect that is largely gone after the presentation. Many times the hard sell had a closing effect that offended the prospect. When the follow-up opportunity comes, the prospect doesn’t want another dose of pressure and the opportunity to make more subsequent calls may be lost.


Perceived Value

In most cases, perceived value has to be great to justify a major ad campaign and a major expenditure. It is unlikely that a salesperson can complete the sale during the first or even second contact. Another characteristic of the major ad campaign is that there are sophisticated and savvy buyers who have heard every closing tactic ad salespeople have been taught. They often resent the obvious manipulation to get them to commit and in most cases, prematurely. A case in mind: one prospect actually named every closing technique—as the salesperson tried it. Then he promptly escorted the salesperson out of his office without giving him the order or another appointment.


Is he the one with

the decision to buy?

Many times the prospect is concerned about looking bad in front of his business associates, if a decision to buy turns out to be a bad one. Therefore, he is much less likely to yield to pressure to close on the spot. The prospect will be turned off by attempts to close the deal, before he is satisfied that those responsible for concurring in the decision have all the facts—and are all convinced the advertising campaign is the one the company should buy.

In summary, the adage “close early and often” is inappropriate.

But the slogan I like best is to “give them a big stack of benefits for their little stack of money.” When perceived value is substantially higher than the cost, good things happen … for the advertising salesperson. © Bob Berting 2013


Bob Berting is a professional speaker, newspaper sales trainer, and publisher marketing consultant who has conducted more than 1,500 live seminars, tele-seminars, and webinars for newspaper sales staffs, their customers, print media associations and trade associations in the U.S. and Canada. Bob’s advertising sales record in the industry is impressive. For 15 years, he averaged two cold contracts a week and sold 20 shopping centers on yearly contracts. He is the author of the best selling E-Booklet “Dynamic Advertising Sales and Image Power,” which can be ordered on his website Contact Bob at 800-536-5408 or at He is located at 6330 Woburn Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46250.

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