NLP and consumer psychology to close the sale

We had an interesting debate when one of the members at RetailSmartResults asked a question about closing the retail sale. I don't actually like the term 'closing' the sale because it has negative connotation and may indicate that pressure is applied to the customer to 'buy'.

Regular readers here will know that we believe that selling should really about helping the customer to buy - and not about selling and up-selling. The other thing you should know is that we like to promote solutions that are practical, so this post is a bit longer than usual because I want to give you as many options as possible to try out:

The successful sales cycle must be ‘successful’ in the beginning, the middle, and the end. Today I want to focus on the ‘end’ but let’s look at the beginning and the middle briefly.

This is a very important and a very tricky part of the sales cycle. Push too hard or too soon and the sale falls over. I would like to share three techniques that you may want to try out.

Technique #1: Assume the sale

  • “The 3rd one is free if you get two…”

  • “Just keep the receipt because we exchange.”

  • “I know someone is going to be very happy with that…”

  • “Good call - that is a very popular …”


Technique #2: Transition to cross-sell (effectively assumes the sale as well) A very effective trigger is to test whether they have completed their buying cycle by doing the cross-sell for the appropriate products. If the chosen product is part of a set, or has another part to it, we should make sure the customer is aware of it.

This is complimentary or cross-selling and is easy and logical. Customers will appreciate the suggestion and not experience it as a hard sell because the products go so obviously together: The best way to cross-sell is to assume the sale and simply demonstrate how the two items would go together by physically putting it together.

  • “These mugs come with matching coasters.”

  • “Most people, who get the mugs, also get the matching coasters.”

  • “We still have some matching coasters left.”

  • “The matching coasters are only $3 extra.”


[**Note: Cross-sell is not the same as Up-sell.]

Technique #3: Binary Funnel. You present the customer with two options, both of which are actually acceptable and desirable for you. It creates the illusion of choice and the customer perceives it as non-threatening and they are still in charge of the situation.)

  • “Do you prefer the red or the blue more?”

  • “Do you prefer the red or the green more?”

  • “Do you prefer the green matt or the green gloss more?”

  • “Do you want paint the whole floor or just the walkway?”

  • “Would you prefer the 2L or the 5L container?”

  • “Do you want pay cash or by card?”


Hope that helps to get you started, If you have ideas and suggestions to add – drop a note below…

Or check out the members-0nly site for more great advice.