The Controversial Takeaway Close

While dealing with a stalling client last week, I remembered having a similar situation whereby no matter what I did, the prospect had an excuse or reason to ignore my solution. After allowing this to go on and wasting hours of my time and resources, I decided to use the takeaway close. And, it worked. I got the business contract and the client got what they needed.

Now, if you noticed in the title I used the word “controversial” ahead of the takeaway close. Why is it controversial? Because many sales people and sales managers would never, ever, take doing business off the table with a prospect. Think of this as the old skiing mantra – “No Guts, No Glory!”

Please before you go willy-nilly into the world of customers taking offers off the table, let me explain when and how to use it properly.

First, this is not your first option as a closing technique. You should be engaging the prospect or customer in the questioning model to uncover issues and interest levels. Having the buyer involved in the open dialogue is a good thing for your b2b sales success.

Second, when you have a stall situation on your hands you must think about using the takeaway close. When a prospect is stalling or not paying attention to you during a sales interview, then you will not lose anything by using this technique.

Most of the time, b2b sales people are almost begging a buyer to purchase their product or service and the buyer has become callous in their response to all b2b sales people. Interesting idea – being nice and asking for the business actually turns some buyers off.

Using the takeaway close gets the buyers attention and using the NLP term – breaks the state of the buyer. This is usually a good thing since it requires the buyer to suddenly pay attention to what is being discussed rather than day dream or only respond with knee jerk answers or statements.

Here is the key to why the takeaway close works so well…

“People automatically want what they cannot have!”

Third, there is a special case regarding human nature that calls for the use of the takeaway close if you ever want to do business with certain people. The issue is a small percentage of people are what we call “mismatchers.”

A mismatcher is just what it is – a person who mismatches everything you say to them. In other words, they find an exception to everything you say – and I mean everything. These people usually drive other people nuts since they actually cannot agree with any thing said – they find an exception.

While these people are great as troubleshooters and problem solvers, they are a royal pain in the you know what as a buyer. Their brain will not allow them to agree with others since they find exceptions so easily.

So how do you sell to a mismatcher? You use the takeaway close. You takeaway the offer, by saying something like…

You know you are right, this may not work for you in your current situation.

And begin to close things up and walkaway. The mismatcher feels a strong need at this moment to mismatch with themselves! They will now ask why you feel it is not right and open the door for you to ask questions about how they would make it work. Surprise, a new solution or opportunity opens up and you get a new account.

Finally, it takes courage to take business off the table during tough economic times. Yet, if the technique improves the relationship and makes the close happen – everyone wins. (Here I am assuming you use the win-win approach to business.) Be Bold and Confident – it is the sign of the B2B Sales Superstar.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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3 thoughts on “The Controversial Takeaway Close

  1. Interesting approach, have gone to meetings with clients with decision to “fire” them as cost was prohibitive vs return equity. Once given the opportunity to place business elsewhere interestingly they become the perfect client! Great advice and reminder on taking control by taking to the next level when presenting to new Prospect, thanks!

  2. If you want to learn more about the takeaway close and other sales techniques, I recommend two movies to watch. They both provide a very harsh reality and view of this process, but if you are into sales and want to get some good insight into these techniques, check them out.

    Glengarry GlenRoss

    The Prime Gig

    Be ready for some foul language if you decide to watch these. Ed Harris stars in both! Al Pachino in one.

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