Sales Success: The John Hammond Close

By Mark Bowser

Closing the sale is arguably the most important part of the selling process. You can do everything else right — prospecting, building rapport, need analysis, and presenting, but if you can finalize the deal with closing the sale then all you are doing is spinning your wheels and wasting the prospects’, yours’, and your company’s time and resources. 

In reality, all aspects of the sales process are equally important because they build upon each other, however, closing the sale seems to be the element that sales professionals struggle with more than the others. Why? Because the tension builds during closing to an uncomfortable level for both the prospect and the sales professional. 

That is why knowing how to close the sale is pivotal and vital for the success of the sales professional and their company. Knowing how to close the sale, allows the sales professional to use the tension as an ally instead of an enemy. 

I teach The 19 Indispensable Closes Every Sales Professional Needs to Know. You may be thinking, “Why so many?”  Well, for one reason it takes 5-7 attempts to close the sale for most industries. Second, every situation is different so you must be ready. We need multiple tools in our closing tool chest if we are really going to build the agreement with the prospect.  

Obviously, in this blog post, we don’t have time to go over all nineteen closes. I cover all 19 in the Sales Success Seminar.  But, in the time we have with this post, let me share one of my favorites that you and your team can begin implementing immediately.

The John Hammond Close

I call this the John Hammond Close because I learned it from John. John was an older, wise sales guru who I had the blessing of being mentored by several years ago. John had been in the world of selling for decades and even a founding member of the National Speakers Association. 

John developed this close because he got tired of being stuck when the customer would say something that just didn’t make sense near the end of the sales process and would literally kill the sale from the sales professionals perspective. 

Have you ever had a prospect say something like, “I want to sleep on it” or “I want to think it over” or multiple variations of the same thing? What they are actually doing is politely telling you to go away. Well, John developed a way to find out what the actual objection is for the prospect. If we don’t know what the true objection is then we can’t close the sale. So, when a customer says something that just doesn’t make sense then ask them this question, “Mr/Mrs Prospect, I know you have a really important reason for thinking that way, do you mind if I ask what that is?” Another way to say it is “Mr/Mrs Prospect, I know you have a an important reason for saying (or feeling) that way, do you mind if I ask what that is?”

After you ask this obligating question then go completely silence. In this case it is not a cliché to say that the first one who speaks loses. The tension will build in the silence. Let it continue to build like a balloon filling up with air. In all his decades of selling and thousands and thousands of sales calls, John said he had only had a handful of prospects to refuse to answer this question. In most cases, the prospect will say something like, “Well, actually, what I am struggling with is ….” 

Now, you have something to deal with. Now, you know what the real objection is. Now, you use the appropriate close to answer their question and close the transaction.  

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