I recently caught the tail end of an episode from Beyond The Tank. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, it is a spinoff of Shark Tank where after the shark has made an investment, they go behind the scenes where they have their “sleeves rolled up” and are working with their new partners. This particular episode was with Robert Herjavec. He invested in a small husband and wife company geared towards the baby market.

They were sitting down at the couple’s kitchen table and the first product they had was a hit, but then missed the target with a follow up product. They were getting ready to launch their third product which they felt was going to be their second big hit. The husband was excitingly telling Robert about this huge trade show they attended and the buyer from one of the largest baby product retailers was very interested in this new product that they were ready to launch. Robert asked the husband “well what happened?” The husband sheepishly responded that he needed “to follow up with her.” Robert got kind of irritated and said “you need to close that! quit being nice, business is business.”

And this leads us to the performing arts program book advertising sales close. This is probably the most difficult step of the entire program book advertising sales process. The program book rep can’t be afraid to ask for the order and has to have a thick enough skin that if they get turned down, learn from the experience and move on to the next one. This truly takes a certain kind of person. And most importantly a professional type of program book sales person. Just like with the married couple mentioned above, who were great entrepreneurs but clearly not sales people, don’t expect a lot of closes with a part time person, a volunteer, the receptionist, or an intern to get the close. Because if not trained properly it will never happen on a consistent, measurable basis—it will only be by luck that this type of program book sales rep may get a close here and there.

The chief objective of the program book advertising sales close is to develop an effective means of closing the program book ad sale under all conditions:

Is there a right time to close? Yes, often and early

Is the customer ready to buy? Listen for buying signals both conscious and unconscious.

Willingness to buy the program book ad must be built up during previous steps of the program book ad sales process:

  1. Program Book Advertising Account Preparation—Getting The Most Out Of Every Call
  2. Program Book Advertising Sales Fact Finding—What Is It? How Do You Do It?
  3. The Program Book Advertising Presentation
  4. Make A Killer Program Book Advertising Recommendation

Without the customer’s willingness to buy, the best closing techniques are of little value. Terrific program book ad sales closing techniques sometimes persuade the customer to sign the advertising agreement without willingness to buy, but they won’t make the sale “stick.” Recognizing when the customer is in a state of desire is important in closing successfully.

Is There A Right Time To Close?

Creative selling does not recognize a right moment as the only moment. A closing opportunity is created each time the program book sales rep gives another good reason to buy the ad. Maybe the customer didn’t understand some of the features and benefits of the program book ad—cover them again and re-emphasize them.

Is The Customer Ready To Buy?

Program book sales reps must learn to recognize closing opportunities. Sometimes the customer will head for the close. The customer tips off readiness to buy the ad with unconscious buying signals, or the sales rep determines readiness through use of trail closing questions. Buying signals take various forms—things the customer says, or things they do. Such as: “how much did you say this program book ad would cost?” “What happens if I don’t get any results?” etc.

And then, some customers do not tip off any buying signals. In this situation, the program book sales rep must now find out where the customer stands by asking questions that try to get to the close. Such questions either get the order or tell why the customer is not buying. Such as: “Is there any reason we can’t go ahead and…” “You have a choice of the inside front cover or the outside back cover, which do you prefer?” etc.

The most important step in flushing out buying signals from asking questions is WAIT FOR AN ANSWER! Hold the silent spot. Give the customer time to think.

Closing the program book ad sale is much like trying to get into a locked house. You would wonder at the intelligence of a person who upon finding their front door locked merely stood there and beat on it. Why, you would ask yourself, would they not try the back door, a window, or the porch door? One of those entries might not be locked.

But is this person any less sensible than the program book sales rep who uses only one closing technique?—The type of program book sales rep who works and works, always attempting to get the program book advertising order with the same technique even though it has failed time and time again? This is what I call the definition of insanity, and this is the difference between a professional program book sales representative and the non-professional program book sales representative.

There are many roads that will lead to the program book advertising sale. The professional program book sales rep will know them all because they know, some of these are certain to close. Good selling!

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