Act 8 Confirm the Sale

How pros fight FUD.

Matt and Joe walked off the plane and into Concourse B at Denver International Airport. An arrivals-and-departures screen informed them that Joe’s connecting flight to Chicago would leave shortly from a gate just a few steps away.

FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

“Act 8 is a quick one,” Joe said. “Do you have a few minutes? Anyone picking you up?”

“No, I’m fine,” Matt said. “My car is in the parking ramp, so I don’t have to meet anybody. Let’s finish up here.” They grabbed two seats in the gate’s waiting area.

“Act 8 is called Confirm the Sale?” Matt asked. “What’s that about?”

“Suppose you succeed tomorrow with Gary Iverson,” Joe said. “He makes all five of his buying decisions in your favor, you gain his commitment, you make the sale. What feeling will start to creep over him as soon as you leave his office?”

Matt thought for a moment. “Buyer’s remorse,” he answered.

“Buyer’s remorse,” Joe confirmed, “otherwise known as fear, uncertainty, and doubt, or FUD. And you would like to eliminate those bad feelings, right? You’d much rather he feels good and confident about his decision to buy from you. You’d want him to be happy even if this were a one-time sale, but his confidence is especially important if you hope to develop a long-term relationship with him. Above all, you don’t want him to sit there regretting his decision until he calls you to cancel his order. Would you agree with all that?”

“Absolutely,” Matt said.

“Well then, Action Selling recommends that you do three quick and simple things to Confirm the Sale.” Joe wrote a few words on his pad.

“First,” Joe explained, “assure the customer that he has made the correct decision: ‘Gary, I know from experience that you’re going to be very happy with our software and our service.’

“Second, tell the customer that you appreciate his decision: ‘Thank you for your confidence in us, Gary. I really appreciate the business.’

“Third,” Joe continued, “schedule a future event for the customer to focus on—something to replace his worry and fretting over the money he just spent: ‘Will Monday morning work all right for our software engineers to meet with your IT staff to begin the implementation process? Say, 8:30? Both you and I should be there to make sure everything goes smoothly.’”

Schedule a future event to replace his worry over the money he just spent.

Matt’s eyes widened. “It never occurred to me that scheduling the implementation or follow-up events might act as an antidote for buyer’s remorse. But that makes a lot of sense.”

“The beauty of the ‘future event’ really struck home for me a few years ago when I was the customer who had made a major purchase,” Joe said. “My wife and I went to buy a piano. She loves to play, and she’s good. The showroom saleswoman did a great job, and we overcommitted. Instead of a baby grand, we bought a full concert grand piano. You know, the kind of monster you’d see in Carnegie Hall.”

“One of those huge pianos like Liberace used to play,” Matt said, nodding.

“Right. The thing cost a fortune—more than we could really afford. The minute I signed the sales slip I started thinking, ‘How can I get out of this?’ But then something peculiar happened. The saleswoman led us out of the showroom and straight back to the warehouse area to meet the guys who would deliver the piano. We scheduled the delivery and then started to plan the logistics. Suddenly I’m talking with these two big, burly gentlemen about the problems they’ll face when they get to my house. What room will the piano go in What level of the house? How big are the doors? What do the stairways look like—are they straight or angled? It dawns on me that moving my piano into the house will be a serious challenge. I get completely absorbed in helping these guys figure out how to attack it.

“I was already practicing Action Selling at the time,” Joe continued, “and I knew all about Act 8. But it wasn’t until we were in the car driving home from the showroom that I realized I had just experienced the power that scheduling a future event can have. There I was, looking forward to the spectacle of these characters delivering my giant piano. And now it really was my piano. I had become so engaged in planning the delivery that I’d forgotten my remorse about buying the damn thing in the first place.”

Matt grinned. “I’ll bet that saleswoman also told you she appreciated your business and assured you that you made the right decision to buy the concert grand.”

“There’s another bet you’d win,” Joe agreed.

“So that’s how I Confirm the Sale?” Matt said. “Assure…appreciate…future event?”

“Short, but vital,” Joe said.

“Then what about Act 9—Replay the Call?”

“Act 9 is entirely for the salesperson’s own benefit,” Joe explained. “It’s a big part of what separates professionals from amateurs. After every sales call, successful or not, pros will review the call in their own minds to decide what they did right and what they could have done better: Was my initial Commitment Objective realistic? Should I have listened more and talked less in Act 2? Did I identify as many high-yield needs as I could have? Did I run into an objection in Act 7? If so, what question might I have asked in Act 3 that would have uncovered the issue earlier? If I could do Acts 5 and 6 over again, would I sell my company or my products any differently?

“A professional salesperson will replay every call.”

“That’s how you improve your performance,” Joe concluded. “A professional salesperson will replay every single call—the whole drama. Which is why pros just keep on getting better at selling.”

The gate’s public-address system crackled with the announcement that Joe’s flight was ready for boarding.

Matt hesitated. Then he said, “My meeting with Iverson is at 9:30 in the morning. If you have some time tomorrow afternoon, could I replay the call out loud with you, on the phone? That would really help me think through my first attempt with Action Selling.”

You read my mind, Joe thought. “I’d be happy to,” he said, digging out his appointment calendar. “Why don’t you give me a call at 3 p.m. Denver time. That will be 4 o’clock in Chicago. I’ll be in my office.”

“Great,” Matt said. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

They rose and shook hands. Matt began to walk away. Then he turned back.

“Hey, Joe,” he said.

“Yeah?”

“Regardless of how things go with Iverson…thanks.”

Joe waved him off. “Get out of here,” he said. “You’ve got homework to do, remember?”

Duane Sparks - The New Action Selling: Act 8: Confirm the Sale

ABOUT DUANE SPARKS

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).