Closing the Sale: The Ben Franklin Close


Many years ago a business colleague, we shall call him John, was attending a training seminar featuring the greatest sales trainer of all time, Doug Edwards.  During his training Doug Edwards taught what is known as “The Benjamin Franklin Close.”  John was young, had some sales experience and had great potential.  However, another characteristic of John at the time was his cockiness.  At this point in the seminar, John raised his hand as if to ask Doug a question.  When Doug recognized him, John said that the “Ben Franklin Close” did not work.  Doug asked why he thought so.  John said he had used it a number of times and it did not work.  Doug asked John to present the close to him right on the spot.  John did.  When he was finished Doug said that he was not doing it right and he offered John a bet.  Doug bet a reasonable sum of money that if John would use the close correctly for the next 21 days he would find that it works perfectly well.  Much to his credit John accepted the wager.  John re-learned the close correctly and used it for the next 21 days.  He then contacted Doug to tell him that the close does work and to pay off his wager.  John’s sales career has been documented as one of the most successful in his field.  John is now retired and owns two homes in Arizona and one on the Sea of Cortez.  Following is how “The Benjamin Franklin Close” is to be done:

You`ve just finished making your sales presentation, but the prospect is undecided and can`t make up his mind. You`ve tried everything in your arsenal of sales closes, but still can`t get him to commit.

Suddenly you say, “You know, Benjamin Franklin was one of the wisest and most respected men in history. Wouldn`t you agree, Mr. Jones?” (It`s important to get the prospects to agree with you.)

“Whenever he was faced with a tough decision – much like you are today. He would take a plain piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and put a plus sign on one half, and a minus sign on the other.

He discovered that by listing all the positive elements on the plus side of the paper, and the negative things on the minus side, the answer would become obvious. That makes a lot of sense, wouldn`t you agree?” Again, it`s important to get the prospects to agree.

“With your permission, I`m going to borrow Ben Franklin`s method for just a moment. Since you`re having a tough time making a decision, lets list the benefits–some of the reasons you should make this purchase. Then we`ll list the negatives. Fair enough?” Once again, get the prospects to agree.

Now simply list all of the BENEFITS of your product or service.

You may start off by suggesting one of the benefits but then let the prospect list most of them. Whatever the prospect writes down will obviously be the main points of interest to him. Make sure you develop a complete list.

After you`ve listed all of the positive points, let the prospect list the negatives.  Don`t say a word while the prospect is listing the negatives.

The list of negatives will always be shorter than the list of positives. Why?

Because usually the only negatives prospects can think of have to do with price or affordability.

Once the list has been completed you say, “Mr. Jones, if Ben Franklin was looking at this piece of paper with the benefits you have listed versus the reasons not to have those benefits, don’t you think he would choose the benefits?”

This close has been closing sales for decades.  If you memorize the script and present it well, you too will find yourself closing more sales.

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3 Comments for this entry

Paula lee
October 24th, 2014 on 2:08 pm

That is great, because most of your positives would be more and negatively would be finance needed to do the program, I like that

Mario Zavalla
May 13th, 2015 on 12:17 am

The article is WOW!

December 26th, 2015 on 10:17 pm

Very nice. Persuasion rather assertion required.