In my first sales job with American Greetings I learned about the Ben Franklin close.

You know, the one where you draw a line down a page. Title the left side Cons and the right side Pros.

First you frame your situation, problem or the decision to be made.

On the left side of the line list every possible “minus” or “negative”.

On the right side list all the “plus” responses.

Next, assess the importance of the pros and cons.. and you can do this in a variety of ways… rating 1-10 or assess the probability, or weigh the pros and cons… or sometimes the answer is so incredibly blatant when you finish the list – the problem and/or decision is made!

You, as a sales manager, can use this right now for your problem solving or take 15 minutes at your next sales meeting run a refresher drill with your sales reps.

Here’s how that drill would go:

1. List objections like:

“I have to think about it.”

“I’m not sure.”

“I need to review the information.”

2. Craft the opening sentence to allow the prospect to join you in a Ben Franklin list activity. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. WHY? Because the words to launch this request is the key to it’s success. This needs to be sincere and collaborative – not pushy, salesy or in your face.

For example…

“Mr./Ms… Yes, it is a big decision and important to think it over. Before you leave to think it over, can we take just two minutes with a little tip I find helps me think it over?”

Boom, you and the prospect or customer are not engaged with their pros and cons – which allows you right then and there to know what barriers to remove … or if this is a dead end.

I know I said earlier this was Ben Franklin with a twist… and I’ve already given you two assignments… one for you to use the Ben Franklin close right now on something you’ve been struggling with a decision and two… take 15 minutes with your reps at your next sales meeting to remind them of this cool tool.

My next blog will have another cool Ben Franklin twist.

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