Instigate closing the sale for it to happen


Closing is the moment when a prospective buyer decides to make the purchase. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Closing is a verb, not a noun; an action, not a thing. It is a process, not a result. This revelation should dampen the fear closing is associated with, emboldening the seller to instigate it instead.

Closing is the moment when a prospective buyer decides to make the purchase. Very few prospects will self-close, making it necessary for the salesperson to instigate the close. Much like very few girls will say, “Kiss me now” making it necessary for the boy to instigate the kiss. And just like the kiss happens after seemingly innocent actions like a telling touch here, an alluring look there or an affectionate handshake, closing is a culmination of several (professionally) similar signs presented by the prospect. When the seller continually focuses on acting on these little signs, he builds momentum towards the close. When he focuses instead on the close itself he sets himself up for failure.

Closing happens when the hawker, seeing a woman glance at a shoe, senses she is interested in it; he invites her with “karibu, sister, kujaribu ni bure.” (You are welcome to try it on). He says this while extending the shoe to her. The movement is deliberate; it shifts the girl’s thinking from whether or not to try on the shoe, to accepting the shoe at the end of the outstretched hand. (To shift the focus to chivalry, a seasoned hawker will go down on one knee and help her try it on.)

He doesn’t ask, Unataka hicho? (Do you want that one?” He knows the likely response is, “No.” Prospects rarely self-close. So he phrases instructions as suggestions. With the shoes firmly on the girl’s feet, he shares with sincerity what he knows she wants to hear: Hicho kiatu ni chako (That shoe fits you perfectly) He notices her approval but says nothing of it. They both know where this is going. Just like sensing the girl wants more than a handshake, it is the naive man who says, “You look like you want me to kiss you.” Finally, our hawker makes the final move; without seeking permission, he wraps the girls “old” pair saying. Ni mia mbili tu. His outstretched hand instigates the girl to reach into her purse and give the Sh200 he has asked for. Checkmate

In formal settings these seemingly innocent actions could be, “Do you have your ID with you?” while reaching out for it. Instead of a passive, “Let me have your ID for photocopying.” Or, “Importing the lift takes six weeks. If you are to deliver the project as per your schedule we have to order it today,” while extending the pen and showing the prospect where to sign. But to successfully make these small moves, the seller must remain alert to suggestive questions (What colours does it come in?) or, statements (I like that too) or, other visible signs that a “kiss is imminent”’.