Always be closing

This is a famous movie scene with Alec Baldwin. If you are in sales now or ever have been, brace yourselves, it is very, very intense. And remember, sales at its core is persuasion.

And with four other very famous American actors. Can you name them?

Citibank survey

A recent survey of Citibank branches in four countries (the United States, Germany, China, and Spain) was conducted to determine the most effective persuasion methods for employees to use in order to convince their colleagues to do a favor for them. All four countries had very different results.

The survey showed that Americans are more likely to be persuaded to help their colleagues if there’s something in it for them, or if they owe their colleagues a favor. They tended to ask questions like “What will I get out of this?” and “What has this person done for me?”

Germans, on the other hand, were more likely to be persuaded to help if the favor stayed within the rules of the organization. They tended to ask questions like “According to the official regulations, am I supposed to help?”

“Interest not Reason”

“Would you persuade, speak of interest, not of reason.” Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, statesman, scientist, and philosopher

“There is nothing in the world like persuasive speech to fuddle the mental apparatus.” Mark Twain, 1835-1910, author and satirist

“People don’t ask for facts in making up their minds. They would rather have one good, soul-satisfying emotion than a dozen facts.” Robert Keith Leavitt, 1895-1967, advertising copywriter and non-fiction writer

“Enchantment is the purest form of sales. Enchantment is all about changing people’s hearts, minds and actions because you provide them a vision or a way to do things better. The difference between enchantment and simple sales is that with enchantment you have the other person’s best interests at heart, too.” Guy Kawasaki, 1954 – , author, venture capitalist, technologist and former chief evangelist at Apple Computer

“Sales-driven cultures can really differentiate you from the majority of your competition. That doesn’t mean being salesperson oriented, just sales oriented: winning deals, smelling the blood and going in for the kill.” Josh James, 1970- , CEO of Domo, was the youngest CEO of a Nasdaq or NYSE traded company

Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) was a lecturer, writer and developer of courses on self-improvement, salesmanship, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. His How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) was a record-breaking bestseller which remains popular today.

His books and Dale Carnegie Training courses focus on building self-confidence, strengthening people and communication skills, as well as developing leadership traits. Carnegie believed that it is possible to change other people’s behavior by changing one’s own interaction with them.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is number 509 in’s top book list and has over 1,060 customer reviews on the website with 4.6 out of 5 stars rating.

Additionally, it is one of the top 20 “Best Sales Book” on Operating in over 75 countries, Dale Carnegie Training has been in business since 1912, with clients among the world’s most successful global companies.

Buyer‘s Market

The United States has been growing since its birth. Growing in territory, in population, in economic output. For the most part the U.S. has striven for open markets, domestically and internationally. Americans also believe in meritocracy. People should benefit directly from their hard work.

Americans believe in competition. And America has always been a buyer‘s market, with supply outpacing demand. In such an environment, success cannot be attained without active effort to win customers. In America, sales and marketing are critical to success. Simply „building the better mousetrap“ is not enough.

An search on “Buyer’s Market” generates 13,959 results. Book titles include Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets by Michael T. Bosworth, The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott and Buyer Beware: Finding Truth in the Marketplace of Ideas by Janet Parshall. 10.5 percent of native-born Americans between the ages 25 and 64 are employed in the sales industry.

Caveat Emptor

When persuading Americans do not feel obligated to offer full and comprehensive information about the weaknesses of their proposal, concept, product or solution. Instead, the obligation is with the buyer (the audience) to expose the weaknesses through critical questions. If asked, competent, professional and honest Americans will respond forthrightly.

This is a shared logic among Americans. Listeners know to ask the critical questions. Speakers know to anticipate those questions. If the critical questions are not asked, if the listener then accepts (buys), only later to discover negative aspects, the listener (buyer) will not blame the speaker (seller), but himself.

Besides, who wants to admit to their colleagues or boss, to their spouse or friends, that they made a poor decision?

Lemonade Stand

Many American children are encouraged at a young age to earn pocket money by selling a product or service. The lemonade stand is a metaphor for getting out there and selling something, whether it be used toys, books, or helping older people with their shopping. Sales is believed to be a skill which is always in demand regardless of the state of an economy.

Pharma Sales Reps

According to a recent estimate, American drug companies spend $4 billion a year marketing directly to the American public, and an additional $24 billion marketing to health care providers. In 2014, a poll showed that 9 out of 10 big pharmaceutical companies spend more money on marketing than on research and development.

The median annual pay for pharmaceutical sales representatives in the U.S. is $66,814, compared to $37,316 for research technicians, $47,279 for research associates, $60,951 for civil engineers, $64,853 for mechanical engineers, $65,388 for physical therapists, and $66,823 for product development scientists.

Closing Techniques

Wikipedia lists the following kinds of closes (asking for and making the sale, getting the order):

Alternative Choice

Alternative Choice close, also called the positive choice close, in which the salesperson presents the prospect with two choices, both of which end in a sale. “Would you prefer that in red or blue?”


The Apology close, in which the salesperson apologizes for not yet closing the sale. “I owe you an apology. Somewhere along the line, I must have left out important information, or in some way left you room for doubt. We both know this product suits your needs perfectly, and so the fault here must be with me.”


The Assumptive close, also known as the presumptive close: in which the salesperson intentionally assumes that the prospect has already agreed to buy, and wraps up the sale. “Just pass me your credit card and I’ll get the paperwork ready.”

Balance Sheet

The Balance Sheet close, also called the Ben Franklin close, in which the salesperson and the prospect build together a pros-and-cons list of whether to buy the product, with the salesperson trying to ensure the pros list is longer than the cons.

Cradle to Grave

The Cradle to Grave close, in which the salesperson undercuts prospect objections that it is too soon to buy by telling them there is never a convenient time in life to make a major purchase, and they must therefore do it anyway.”


The Direct close, in which the salesperson simply directly asks the prospect to buy. Salespeople are discouraged from using this technique unless they are very sure the prospect is ready to commit.


The Indirect close, also known as the question close, in which the salesperson moves to the close with an indirect or soft question. “How do you feel about these terms” or “how does this agreement look to you?”

Minor Point

The Minor Point close, in which the salesperson deliberately gains agreement with the prospect on a minor point, and uses it to assume that the sale is closed. “Would the front door look better painted red? No? Okay, then we’ll leave it the colour it is.”

Negative Assumption

The Negative Assumption close, in which the salesperson asks two final questions, repeating them until he or she achieves the sale. “Do you have any more questions for me?” and “do you see any reason why you wouldn’t buy this product?” This tactic is often used in job interviews.

Possibility of Loss

The Possibility of Loss close, also known as the pressure close, in which the salesperson points out that failing to close could result in missed opportunity, for example because a product may sell out, or its price rise.

Puppy Dog

The Puppy Dog close, in which the salesperson gives the product to the prospect on a trial basis, to test before a sale is agreed upon.

Sales Contest

The Sales Contest close, in which the salesperson offers the prospect a special incentive to close, disarming suspicion with a credible “selfish” justification. “How about if I throw in free shipping? If I make this sale, I’ll win a trip to Spain.”

Sharp Angle

The Sharp Angle close, in which the salesperson responds to a prospect question with a request to close. “Can you get the system up and running within two weeks?” “If I guarantee it, do we have a deal?“