Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Presumptive Close

There's a technique in sales called the "presumptive close," which basically assumes the decision has been made, and asks how to proceed.  You say things like "So, what's the next step to get a purchase order written?" rather than "Have you made the decision to buy the car?".  It's effective, in a "when was the last time you beat your wife" sort of way, and typically removes the obstacle of a defensive yes/no position from the buyer. And any skilled buyer knows it is happening, and are well equipped to reply with "Well, I need my boss's approval first" to imply "not yet."
The presumptive close can be used in lighter negotiations as well. If you're asking for a meeting, you can ask "What times are you available next week?" instead of "Can we schedule a meeting?"  Try it - it's remarkably handy. And, in a sense, it pushes things along quicker because there is one fewer exchange needed to get to the next step.
However, like any good negotiation skill, it can be abused. I received the following utterly audacious presumptive close email from a complete stranger, totally unsolicited. I don't have the faintest idea who she is:

I wanted to follow up on the information I sent you last week and realize that your busy so thought it would be easier for us to communicate via email.  I would like to schedule some time with you to demonstrate how we can help you improve process, reduce cost and gain access to [Cookie] resources that aren't available internally.

Um. We never spoke. I think I may have seen this spam last week as well. Who the heck knows?


As you may recall, [Bob's Cookie Shack] provider specialializing [sic] in three sets of services:  [Cookie baking, Cookie Decorating, and Cookie de-Chipification].

I've removed the unwieldy list of services provided. The typo in specializing is a free bonus.


Please let me know when you are available.

Going for the kill.






Bob's Wife, Ellen

And finishing with the double sig file.


Classic. I assure you, I will never ever buy another of Bob's cookies again.



Priya said...

Oh my goodness. Yesterday Honda's warranty department called to tell me that they'd sent me a courtesy letter telling me my warranty had expired, and today they were calling me to tell me that, if I wanted, I could buy a warranty extension, but only over the phone, and I had to make a decision RIGHT NOW.

Capt. BS said...

Speaking on Honda, I still get letters from the Cambridge dealership telling me that I'm ready for an oil change / new battery / 120,000-mile checkup. Clearly they missed the part where I sold my Civic.