Don’t Leave Your Friend or Your Business Hanging; Execute a Confidant Close

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What is the part of recruiting you most struggle with?

The close may not be at the top of your list.

But if it isn’t, I suggest that’s because you seldom get to the close.

The close and follow up are the most important though. If you don’t close you leave your friend and your business hanging. And a good close should always schedule a follow-up. If you schedule a follow-up your friend will know what to expect and so will you. You will have made yourself accountable to your friend.

How likely are you to let a scheduled follow-up slide?

But, you may not do a close because:

  • You think the close is getting someone to sign on the dotted line.
  • You lack confidence.
  • You don’t know what to say.
  • You have a resistance to asking for them to buy from you.

You may have other reasons. Those were my hang ups. But yours are probably similar.

You think the close (1)You think that the close is only about getting your friend to sign up as a customer or business partner.

We do hope for that. But if you understand that getting to that point is a process that may take time and multiple contacts, then the close becomes summarizing where you are in that process.

Stop thinking about the close as signing up a customer. Think of the close as ending this contact with your friend with you understanding what your friend is looking for and her understanding what you are offering.

For example, you have shared your weight management regimen with your friend who confided that she wanted to lose some weight.

But you realized that you needed to gather information from her first. How much weight does she want to lose? Why does she want to lose it? What weight loss plans has she used in the past? Have they worked?

You learned that she has used some products that made unrealistic claims. She even got her system out of balance with one program.

She is wary of anything new now.

So, your close would be agreeing to send her links to your product information. She says that she can look it over on the weekend and has next Tuesday off. So, you set up a follow-up call with her on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

You have conducted a Confident Close and scheduled a follow-up. You are ready to help her move forward in the process that may or may not lead to a sale for you.

You have been successful because you put serving your friend’s needs first. She will receive the info she needs and have an opportunity to tell you what she wants to do next. You can guide her as you sense what she truly wants.

Or perhaps you have learned from your friend that she is happy with her job and not worried about finances. She doesn’t want to buy your product.

You have done a great job learning all that. Now the goal of your close is to keep a healthy relationship and an open door for sharing in the future.

Feel your friend’s happiness in her job. Then express your happiness for her. Tell her you are looking forward to seeing her at the class reunion next month. Then ask her to keep you in mind if she decides that she wants to buy your product in the future. Close by asking if she minds if you keep her in the loop.

You have completed a Confident Close and have an informal follow-up.

You lack confidenceYou lack the confidence to move forward with a close.

When you understand and use the Five Listening Skills, a Confident Close will begin to feel natural.

The key is to focus on the needs of your friend, not your desire to win the contest your company is sponsoring. If you want to win the contest, the key is to serve as many people as you can, not pressure the people closest to you.

you don't know what to sayYou don’t know what to say.

There is no script for a Confident Close. We can be helped by hearing the testimony of others who have had a Confident Close. But what worked for them probably won’t fit the next situation you are in.

Instead, you will need to listen to your friend using the first four Listening Skills, Reflective Listening, Interpretive Listening, Helpful Questions, and Supportive Feedback so that you know how to execute a Confident Close.

Relax. Focus on helping your friend.

you have a resistanceYou have a natural resistance to asking people to buy from you.

You can ask folks to give to your favorite charity, can’t you?

So can I. But my favorite charity used to be my employer. I always struggled with doing fund raising while I was the director because one way or other donations were going to help pay my salary.

I wish I had known then what I know now.

You must focus on the benefit to others, not yourself. If what you are selling wouldn’t benefit your friend I’ll bet you wouldn’t be doing it. Am I right?

So once again the Five Listening Skills are going to help you focus on your friend. If you hear that they don’t want or need your product or opportunity, your close is going to line up with that truth. A good friend and a professional network marketer will schedule a follow-up.

Your Confident Close might sound like this:

“It’s been good catching up with you. It sounds like ABC products and opportunity aren’t a fit for you right now. Do you mind if I keep you in the loop? I would love to work with you if anything changes.”

You won’t use a script for your Confident Close but you may use one of the other Five Listening Skills to begin it. Here is an example:

Your friend has explained how badly she wants to quit her job and stay home with her children. You have listened to her with each of the listening skills and learned that her boss keeps adding more tasks and she feels exhausted when she gets home. Her husband is open to her doing something from home. Then she throws up her hands and says there is no way she’ll ever be able to quit.

Reflective Listening:

You: There’s no way you’ll ever be able to quit.

Her: I honestly don’t see a way.

You: If I can get a friend of mine who has managed to fire her boss would you be interested in talking to her.

Her: I guess it can’t hurt.

You: Let me text her and see when she is available. [You set up an appointment for a zoom meeting at a time that works for both. You have just closed and scheduled a follow-up.]

Interpretive Listening with the same scenario above:

You: It seems to me like you really don’t want to keep things the way they are.

Her: No. I don’t. It just seems so complicated.

You: What if there were a systematic way for you to get there, would you and your husband be willing to make some sacrifices to make it happen?

Her: Oh, me and my husband. You think he could help me?

You: Lots of couples are doing it. Some of them are committed enough that eventually, both can work from home. How about I come by and visit with your husband? I could get my sponsor on a video chat and she could tell you how she and her husband did it. Of course, it would take time and sacrifice.

Her: Yes, do come by. How about eight o’clock?

Helpful Question with the same scenario except you are video chatting on zoom:

You: What would you be willing to give up to make a change in your life?

Her: Hmm. I would need to think about that.

You: It sounds like you aren’t ready to give up on your dream of quitting your job.

Her: No. I guess I’m not.

You: Let’s figure it out together. How about I send you a link to a video presentation by a mom who made sacrifices so that she could stay home. It took time but you might be encouraged by her story.

Her: Sure. Send me the link.

You: Great. Then let’s get back on zoom and strategize your future.

Her: I like the sound of that.

You figure out a time that works for both of you. Boom. You have executed a Confident Close and scheduled a follow-up.

Supportive Feedback with the same scenario:

You: What I hear you saying is that you really want to find a way to quit your job but you don’t see a way to do that. I believe that you could do it. I won’t lie to you. It would take hard work and sacrifice. I know of women who are doing it even if they have multiple jobs. When can we meet again to talk about how it would look for you?

You set a time. You have made a Confident Close and scheduled a follow-up.

As you can see there are many different ways to approach one scenario. That demonstrates why a script just doesn’t work. But the Five Listening Skills fit every scenario.

And a word on your follow-up session. You should begin your follow-up with the whole listening process.

You must still release your agenda and use the Five Listening Skills. Trust the process.

Listen, close and follow-up. Listen, close and follow-up.

You will get there. You will feel successful if you release your agenda and help your friend find the best decision for her.

Remember that it takes on average of six contacts for people to decide. You will get there.

But at each stage, you are successful if you release your agenda and help your friend find the best decision for her.

Practice makes good. More practice makes better.

Practice Scenarios:

These scenarios give you information that you would glean from using the Five Listening Skills. Now you choose how to begin a close using one the first four Listening Skills. Make a Confident Close using from each of the Listening Skills: Reflective, Interpretive, Helpful Question or Supportive Feedback.

  1. Your friend wants to lose weight and you have a weight management regimen that has worked for you. You have learned that she wants a program that is healthy. Begin a Confident Close to schedule a way and time to share information with her.
  2. Your sister wants to travel more like you do. You have learned that she isn’t sure that her position at work is going to be continued next year. She is feeling frustrated and powerless.
  3. You met a server at your favorite restaurant and invited her to look at your business opportunity. She agreed and you have learned that she is working her way through college. But she is wondering if there will be a job when she graduates. What will she do about her student loans?
  4. You have been friends with a school friend you had talked to in years. You called her and caught up. She told you she wants to retire but her retirement fund won’t pay out as much as she wants. You learn that she would feel able to retire with an extra $500 a month. You ask her if she is open to looking at what you are doing to secure your retirement. And she tentatively says yes.
  5. You are having coffee with friends. One stays longer than the rest and you start talking about her husband’s job. She says that they are tired of his constant travel. You sense that she is ready for a big change.
  6. You are so impressed with the helpfulness of one Walmart cashier that you choose her line even if it longer. You are on a first name basis and sharing baby growth progress. She is so good at what she does you are surprised to learn that she hates her job. She apologizes for saying anything but tells you she is having a bad day. She wants to be home caring for her child.
  7. Your neighbor comments on how much weight you have lost. She says that she wants to go shopping but doesn’t want to buy the size that fits her now. She would like to be a size smaller.

Whew! We have covered all Five Listening Skills.

Remember that you can’t effectively use a script because your prospects won’t have a copy of the script. Instead, you need to listen, listen, listen. You need to release your agenda. You must have a servant’s heart. Listen to hear what your friend or family member wants and then want it for them.

Your goal should be to learn your prospect’s agenda and help them either achieve it or help them see that there might be a better option for them. And you need to be prepared to encourage them even if they sign with another company.

Although you can’t memorize a script you should learn the Five Listening Skills and practice them.

You should practice them until they come naturally. Then you will move through a successful business chat with your friends and family without alienating them.

There is one more section of the Five Listening Skills coming soon. We will focus on how to use the Five Listening Skills both offline and online.

I value your input. Feel free to call or email me.

God bless you,
Connie Suarez

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