Closing Sales: Cushion Technique Close Method


Regardless of what we sell, we will often find that when we ask for the order we meet with some resistance.  Sales Pros know this comes with the job and never take it personally.  Following is a basic, but very effective, formula for responding to an objection from a prospect.

The objection handling formula is: Cushion, Technique, and Close.  Here is how it works.  It is important to remember that the prospect knows we do not want to hear the objection.  The prospect knows we want to hear agreement.  Therefore, when a prospect gives us an objection, they are expecting us to come back at them (argue our point).  Because the prospect is expecting our counter-attack, they psychologically (on an unconscious level) prepare for battle.  Our best move at this point is to dispel their concern without losing our sales momentum.  This can be accomplished by employing what is called a verbal cushion yes question.  The word cushion is appropriate because it softens the moment.

Here is an example of the cushion part of the formula.  The prospect says, “I think your price is high.”  Instead of immediately trying to justify our price (which is what the prospect is expecting), we employ the following cushion.  “John, using your funds wisely in this economy is important, isn’t it?”  Notice that we accomplish three important objectives with this question.  First, the prospect senses that we are agreeing with him regarding the size of the investment.  We have not, of course, said that we think he should not make such an investment, but, the prospect feels that we have surrendered the point.  Therefore, the prospect drops their psychological guard.  They lower their feeling of need for resistance.  The second accomplishment is that we get the prospect to say “yes” to us.  This is good because we psychologically want the prospect to be in a yes mood.  The third accomplishment is that we keep the sales process moving.  Now that the prospect has answered our yes question, we move to the second part of the formula, the technique.

Let us continue our example by moving to the second step.  The second step is the use of a great sales technique.  In this example we are going to use the very well known “Feel, Felt, Found” technique.  After John has answered our cushion question, we reply with, “John, I understand that you feel our price may be more than others’ prices.  A number of our current clients felt the same way.  However, after becoming a client of ours, they found that the superior quality of our products and services gave them a peace of mind that was worth a lot more to them than the small difference in our price.”

This “Feel, Felt, Found” technique would then be followed by one of any number of closing techniques.  For example, you may conclude by saying: “John, we could start with a trial order of only x items, which would allow us to prove our worth.  Would you prefer them to be delivered to this location or to your warehouse?”  Be very certain that there is absolutely no pause in your words between the technique and the close.  Practice this several times and you will find that it is very comfortable and effective.

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