“The Phone Rang…” Closing and the Classic Closes, Part 3

Article main image
Dec 13, 2011

In the third and final installment of the “Closing and the Classic Closes,” we will cover the final five of the fifteen closes. They are:  Tie Downs; What If…?; If I…Will You?; Reduce to the Ridiculous; and the Take Away. We hope you have enjoyed learning — or re-learning — these classic sales closes. Now employ them to increase your production. 


11. Tie Downs

There are three types of tie downs: The regular tie down, the inverted tie down, and the tie down tag on. The basic idea with a tie down is that if someone is moving their head up and down in a positive way, it is hard to stop that movement and change to a negative side-to-side movement.

  1. The regular tie down—You say, “Boy, he really does have the experience you are looking for, doesn’t he!” “Doesn’t he” is the tie down. “And he would be good for your company, wouldn’t he!”  “Wouldn’t he” is the tie down.
  2. The tie down tag on—They say, “Boy he really does have the experience we are looking for.”  And you say, “Doesn’t he!” “Doesn’t he” is the tag on. They say, “And he really would be a great addition to our company.” And you say, “Wouldn’t he!” “Wouldn’t he” is the tag on.
  3. The inverted tie down—You lead with the tie down. You say, “Doesn’t he have the experience you are looking for!” The tie down comes at the beginning. You say, “Wouldn’t he be a great addition to your company!” Again, the tie down comes at the beginning.

12. What If . . .?

The “What If… Close” brings non-overlapping situations together. Let’s say that you believe that the offer is going to come in at $60,000 and you know that the candidate won’t take anything less than $61,000. Well, you have a $1,000 problem. In this situation we want to focus on “psyticements” (psychological enticements) such as an expense account, a company car, immediate health benefits (good for candidates with families), early merit reviews, corner offices with windows, etc. We are looking for more ammunition before we fire our “offer” cannon. So, for example, we go to our candidate and say, “I was thinking about this last night and what if we go for immediate health benefits (to cover your five kids), and an expense account, but we go in a little bit lower at, let’s say $60,000, to make this package more attractive for the company. Now, in the long run, by adding those two items you will be making more that the $61,000 you were after. What if we did that?”

If the candidate agrees, we go back to the company and negotiate those two items. You see, in most companies (especially larger companies) salaries are not too movable. In many companies they are “slotted.” The last thing a company wants to do is to give a new candidate a larger than normal salary so that when it gets out to the other tenured employees (which it will—trust me), a number of them will quit. But “psyticements” are movable and we recruiters need to focus more on those and less on salaries (even though a percentage of the salary, or realistic first year’s earnings, is how most of us are paid and explains our fixation on that number. It’s a shame that we do that).

13. If I, Will You?

The point with this close was brought home to me by Robocruiter, who once told me that he didn’t mind cutting fees so much (although he hardly ever did that), it was just that he did mind very much getting nothing in return.

So, you say to the hiring manager, “If I cut my fee to 25%, will you give me a decision after each of my candidates is interviewed within 24 hours?”

Or, “If I agree to 25%, will you agree to interview everyone I present without a resume since I will be recruiting candidates who are happy, well-appreciated, making good money, and currently working and normally will not have a resume?” In other words, if you give something, you need to get something. It needs to be fair. It needs to be equitable.

14. Reduce To The Ridiculous

This close is for money problems and is based on an amortization table.

Let’s take a fee problem. The fee the hiring manager wants to pay is 25%, and let’s say your candidate makes $60,000 so that is a $15,000 fee. At a normal fee of 30%, the fee is 18,000. So we have a $3,000 problem. This is what we say to the manager: “You know Mr. Hiring Manager, the difference in our fee amounts is $3,000. But let’s think of that $3,000 in a little different way. If you take the $3,000 and amortize it over one “work” year, you get $1.44 per hour. Now, how long do your employees normally stay with you?”

The HM says four years. So you continue, “Four years is pretty much the industry average. So, let’s take the $1.44 and divide it by 4 and you get 36¢. Is it worth it to you to not have a candidate of this caliber on board with your company for 36¢?” Hence the title of the close, “Reduce to the Ridiculous.”

15. Take Away

This is used when either side cannot make a decision. With this close you are going to roll the dice and be very assumptive. You are not going to ask permission to take it away. You are just going to do it. But here is the beauty of this close: You are either going to take it away, so the deal that was not going to go together anyway dies—or you are not going to be allowed to take it away and you will make a placement. Either way works for you.

You say to the hiring manager, “Listen, I understand your predicament. Usually in our business, if a match is going to happen, the hiring manager is going to say “yes” right away and for some reason you are not. So my sense is that this is not going to go together. But I tell you what. Why don’t we wait until 3 p.m.? If I don’t hear from you by 3 p.m. today, I am going to call the candidate and tell him that it is just not going to happen. And, if you can make a positive decision by 3 p.m., get back to me and we will put the thing together.”

As I said before, you have created a win-win situation. You will either take it away by 3pm, which means it wasn’t going to go together anyway. Or you are not going to be able to take it away, they are going to hire your candidate and you are going to make a placement. But let’s not let this thing go off into space because it stops you from thinking, it stops you from working, it causes you to be preoccupied “babying” these things.

So let’s put the hiring managers’ feet to the fire. They won’t necessarily love you when you do these take away closes, but hopefully you didn’t get into this business to be loved. You got into this business to make serious money. You get that through making placements—lots of them. And you get those placements by getting decisions. The take away close is one way to get you the decisions you need.

This was the final article in “The Phone Rang…” series. I hope you liked, and learned from, all of the articles in the series. I wish you all great success in our recruitment business and I hope to talk to you again soon. But for now, I have to go. My phone is ringing…

“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.