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Seal the Deal

What can you say to make prospects say yes?
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This story appears in the June 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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The height of frustration is when prospects read your sales pitch, have it genuinely pique their interest and then do nothing. Grr!

It's called consumer inertia--the disposition to do nothing. You might even experience it yourself sometimes. You sincerely like an item, but nothing compels you to buy it.

So how does one tweak a prospect's core impulse to buy? Have a bunker-buster of a closing argument. In-home salespeople are usually armed with a final, penetrating closer if a prospect hasn't already said yes. ("I can offer you 25 percent off if you're able to sign tonight.") They know if they leave without a commitment, the sale is usually lost. The same holds true for TV or radio spots and "silent" salesmen--ads and mailings (paper or electronic).

Wise advice on the subject comes from the classic Robert Collier Letter Book, in which the late Collier exhorts, "You must hold over his head a 'Sword of Damocles,' the thread of which may be cut at any moment." Indeed, we're so calloused by the constant onslaught of sales messages that such measures are required. A strong offer can do it. So can pushing an emotional button. One online dating service closes with: "Enroll now . . . or walk away from this opportunity to finally meet the woman of your dreams." Yikes! Where do I click?!


Jerry Fisher is a freelance advertising copywriter and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising.

Edition: May 2017

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