Closing the Sale With Tie-Downs

    December 4, 2003

No matter how much time you spend with a client it will all be wasted if you don’t close the sale. Many people start off with a great presentation, but somewhere they lose the client. They will call you, they will let you know, they have to think about it, but it all adds up to a potential loss.

So how do you arrive at the successful close after the great presentation? First you must lead your client there with a series of easy, small yeses that will lead up to the big yes. One method of achieving this is through the use of the tie-down.

Tie-downs come in four styles: standard, inverted, internal, and tag-on. By mixing the four types you will avoid the sound of a slick sales pitch.

Here are eighteen tie-downs that you’ll find useful:

  • Aren’t they?
  • Aren’t you?
  • Can’t you?
  • Couldn’t it?
  • Doesn’t it?
  • Don’t you agree?
  • Don’t we?
  • Shouldn’t it?
  • Wouldn’t it?
  • Haven’t they?
  • Hasn’t he?
  • Hasn’t she?
  • Isn’t it?
  • Isn’t that right?
  • Didn’t it?
  • Wasn’t it?
  • Won’t they?
  • Won’t you?
  • There are others, of course. In the Standard tie-down you use these at the end of sentences.

    The quality of the sprinkler is important, isn’t it?

    If what you said represents truth as the client sees it, won’t that person respond by agreeing? And when they agree that some quality of your product or service meets their needs, they’ve moved closer to buying it, haven’t they?

    Selling is the art of asking the right questions to achieve the string of minor yeses that will lead to the final yes. The final sale is nothing more than the sum total of all your minor yeses, isn’t that right?

    The other tie-downs are simply variations on the same idea. With the Inverted tie-down you put the tie-down at the beginning of the sentence.

    Isn’t quality important in a project like this?

    The Internal tie-down is a bit more difficult to handle, but can be very effective. With this method the tie-down is in the middle of the sentence.

    When you have the system installed, won’t quality be very important?

    The technique is the Tag-On tie-down. In its simplest form, you tag your tie-down onto any statement your prospect happens to make that’s positive to the sale.

    Client: Quality is very important.

    You: Isn’t it?

    If the customer says it, it must be true. And each time your client says something helpful to your sale, if you tie it down you get a complete minor agreement, don’t you?

    Through the use of tie-downs you can advance the sale to the point where the customer will be ready to make the final yes, but tie-downs alone will not always do it. Next time we will talk about some alternative methods for moving toward the Close.

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    Tom Lanza is a Contributing Writer for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at