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Overwhelming Verbal Persuasion

Some folks believe there is a magic phrase that if you say it, it will cause your prospective customer to be overcome with your verbal persuasion and buy whatever it is you are selling.

It’s a myth.

There is no magical phrase.  Despite this fact salespeople worldwide are willing to attempt various magical phrases in hopes of convincing their customers to buy.

Some people call these “techniques.” I call them gambits—a contrived or manipulative phrase designed to force a commitment.

How Do You Feel About Closing Techniques?

The premise behind virtually all of the advice on closing techniques is that it is effective to use these gambits when making an effort to close business. Yet, people who have a lot of faith in closing techniques might be surprised to discover that Neil Rackham tested the correlation between a favorable attitude toward closing techniques and actual sales results.

Those with the best attitude in closing techniques performed 21% worse.

Those with the best attitude in closing techniques performed 21% worse.

He found that individuals with the best attitude toward closing techniques were actually less likely to hit their sales targets. In the study, test subjects with a favorable attitude toward closing techniques actually performed 21% below those with less favorable attitudes.

Closing Gambits Are Counterproductive

In a later study of the effectiveness of sales-closing training, Rackham tested whether or not salespeople utilized closing techniques more frequently after having received training on the subject, and to what degree closing techniques increased sales success. Rackham states the results this way:

“Closing [as a technique] turned out to be negatively related to success. After the training, the sellers used more closing techniques—so in one sense the training was effective. However, because fewer calls succeeded, the overall effect of the training was a decrease in sales.”

Closing techniques decreased success 15%

Closing techniques decreased success 15%



In the study the overall success rate decreased sales success by approximately 15%.




Forget the myth of overwhelming verbal persuasion.  Selling is serving.  We are helping facilitate a decision that brings the customer closer to their desired outcome.  And when clients achieve their outcome it becomes mutually beneficial for both us and them.  In that paradigm there is no room for manipulation.

You don’t need a closing gambit or overwhelming verbal persuasion.  All that is needed is an easy, facilitative way to advance your sales to closure. It’s that simple.

Closing Tip:  Selling is serving.  Manipulation does not serve.  (and is counter-productive anyway)


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