One of the most famous sales closing techniques is the Ben Franklin close or Benjamin Franklin close.
It seems to have become traditional to make fun of the Ben Franklin close, but done ethically, I quite like it because it fits in with the way that many people think and helps them make the decision, one way or another.
The Problems With The Ben Franklin Close
First, the Benjamin Franklin close can be used to manipulate buyers.
Second, experience buyers are very familiar with this sales closing technique and know that it can be manipulated.
Third, if you use it, experienced buyers won't play the game and will mark you down as another typical, sleazy salesperson, destroying any rapport you may have established.
How The Benjamin Franklin Close Works
When you are making a decision, have you ever taken a piece of paper and drawn a line down the middle and written at the top of the left hand column "reasons to go ahead" and at the top of the right hand column written "reasons to not do it"?
If so, you will have then brainstormed on your own or with someone else and tried to identify all the reasons for the decision and against the decision.
Then when you had all the "facts" in front of you, it was easier to make a decision. You could balance up both sides and see which was in your best interests.
This simple technique which is so natural was picked up by early salespeople in America who traded on Benjamin Franklin's reputation for wisdom and took their prospective sales people through the exercise.
When all the issues are on the paper, good and bad, the prospect can decide whether to go ahead and order, thus helping the sales person close the sale.
How The Benjamin Franklin Close Is Manipulated
Using a technique which the buyer may have already used successfully in their decision making processes doesn't sound manipulative does it but the problem is, you don't get an objective list.
Working on the "for buying" points, the sales person will write down, or encourage the prospect to write down all the points the prospect can think of and then the sales person adds some more points covered in the presentation.
Then turning attention to the "against buying" points, the buyer is on their own. The sales person certainly won't bring up points and when the prospect writes down the "against buying issues", the salesman is likely to say something like "I'm sorry. I didn't cover that issue in my presentation (or I didn't explain it well) and then proceed to knock back the objection."
So the salesperson manipulates the buyer with the Ben Franklin close by creating more points for buying and few points against buying. Then when the salesperson is happy with the list, the emphasis for the decision is focused on the number of the "fors and againsts" and not the importance.
There may be 12 trivial reasons for buying, 3 important reasons fro not buying, but the manipulative sales person will use the Ben Franklin close to show that buying clearly makes sense. "You have four times as many reasons for buying as not buying. I can't remember the last time I saw such a convincing case for going ahead so when do we start?"
The deal is closed but later on the buyer feels duped when the purchase wasn't such a good idea after all.
Your Experience Of The Ben Franklin Close
I would be interested to hear about your experience of the Benjamin Franklin close. Have you used it or has it been used on you?
Do you tend to make bigger decisions by listing all the good and bad issues either on paper or mentally stacking up the sides?
For more information on alternative sales closes, see sales closing techniques
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