“The Phone Rang…” Closing and the Classic Closes, Part 2

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Dec 8, 2011

In this, the second installment of the “Closing and the Classics Closes,” we will discuss five more Closes and how you can use them on your desk.  They are:  The Call Back Close; The Similar Situation Close; The Lost Sale Close; The Secondary Question Close; and The Sharp Angle, or ‘Porcupine’ Close. Enjoy…


6. Call Back

The odds are not in your favor when you get this request, but there is a way to handle the call when you do call back. For those of you who know of the principle of “White Heat,” keep in mind that we are going to attempt to raise the interest level above the “Buy Line.” This is such a prevalent topic in recruiting that we even have an expression for it. We say, “Time kills all of our deals.” That’s why calling back after a period of time is not a good thing. So, when you do call back you never ask if they have thought about the situation in the intervening time span. If you do, you are going to get the famous “Yes-No” response—“Yes I have thought about it; No I am not interested.” Instead you:

  1. Introduce a new piece of information;
  2. Present a condensed representation;
  3. Follow with a new Close.

Only when you do those three things, do you have a chance, remote though it might be, to raise the interest level above the “Buy Line” and close the deal in your favor.

7. Similar Situation

The “Similar Situation Close” is sometimes called the “Story Close” or the “Back up the Hearse and Let Them Smell the RosesClose.” This one comes from the insurance industry. This is used when the insurance salesman has received the “I want to think it over” response from his prospects. So, before he leaves, he relates a story of a similar situation that happened not too long ago when a couple, not unlike this couple, with a young daughter, not unlike their daughter, wanted to think it over. Then, as the story continues, the original couple was unfortunately killed in a car accident shortly thereafter and all the insurance salesman can think about is that if he had been a better salesman, the couple’s little girl would have been provided with insurance money for the rest of her life instead of being left a penniless orphan. There is a little more to this close than that, but you probably get the idea.

In recruitment, those of you who have some tenure have plenty of similar situations to tell both your candidates and your hiring managers regarding waiting too long to make a decision and then having the original offer/candidate disappear. Just make sure that the stories are relatable to your target audience.

8. Lost Sale

In this close, you act defeated. You seemingly give up. Then ask a self-effacing question like, “I need your help. What could I have done better to have brought this deal together so that I don’t make this same mistake again?” Their response may bring you right back into the situation and you will at least have uncovered the real objection.

9. Secondary Question

This close is out of real estate, out of car sales. This is sometimes called a “Major-Minor Close.” The salesperson says, “The car is $40,000. I just need your OK on the agreement. Do you want to use your pen or mine?” The choice of pens is the secondary question that closes the major question.

In our industry you might say, “I am assuming that you want John to start at the beginning of the month. Now should John bring another resume with him at that point or just come as he did today?” The answer to bringing the resume tells you that they want John to start.

10. Sharp Angle – ‘Porcupine’

If someone threw a porcupine at you, you would throw it back at them. Or if something was shot at you, you would shoot it back at a sharp angle. This close is one of my favorites.

You have been trained all of your life that if you know the answer to a question, you should answer the question. You have become a little giver of information. The problem is, in recruitment, you don’t get anywhere by answering question after question like you did in school.

What happens often in recruitment is that you tend to answer all of the questions asked of you by the hiring manager when you are presenting a candidate only to be ultimately asked to send the resume. Well, that’s not what you wanted. You wanted to set up a telephone interview or a face-to-face interview. So, instead of acting like a non-profit information clearing house (though if you would enjoy that, you might look at a career as a reference librarian), I recommend you close on each question asked of you before you answer it. So, for example, the manager asks if your candidate has a college degree. You say, “Well, let me check, but if he does have a college degree, would you like to see him on Monday or would Tuesday be better?” If the HM says neither, then why are you looking to see if your candidate has a college degree? You see, the point is that once the manager asks you a question about your candidate, he has just arranged the interview and you let him off of the hook by only answering the question instead of closing on the question.

Stay tuned next week for the last five classic closes and the conclusion of “The Phone Rang…” series.

“The Phone Rang…” by Bob Marshall is a series that defines what we, as recruiters, do for a living. This article series ran in The Fordyce Letter over the past year and we are proud to bring you the series online. To subscribe to the print edition of The Fordyce Letter, click here.