It is hard to avoid sexual analogies with the “close” but I will try. This is the part where the sale wraps up and the salesperson gets the act of commitment—a satisfying reward for handling the previous steps in a methodical and unhurried manner. The copywriting counterpart should be just as satisfying because this is where you get your reader to respond to your call to action; if you have a good and smart client, the higher percentage of people who respond, the more you will get paid.
Because it is so important and satisfying, salespeople like to linger a bit on the close and add a bit of art to it. There is lots of ink on best/proven/classic closing techniques. A good salesperson will first make a trial close in which they soften up the prospect to get them to agree to a small point before proceeding to the actual sale. (Example: “Sounds like the hatchback is a better fit for your family’s needs, am I right?”) Then they might use the assumptive close in which they act as if the sale has already been consummated and query on a subsequent point (“Will you be using a credit card for this?”) or the alternative close which also makes an assumption and gives the reader a subsequent choice (“Now, do you want that in red or black?”)
Roy Chitwood, whom I’ve quoted throughout this series, offers The Guaranteed Close: “If we can (reprise something the prospect said was important) then can you think of any reason we shouldn’t (consummate the agreement)?” E.g. “If we can get those red slipcovers you liked, can you think of any reason we shouldn’t get the paperwork started?” The beauty part is that the salesperson gets the sale by making the prospect say “no”.
Good direct response copywriters will close the sale in a manner that’s quite different but leads to the same outcome. They will sprinkle their emails, web pages or letters with repeated brief calls to action because you never know when you’ve provided the right amount of sell for some readers to make a commitment. Then, for those who have stuck with you all the way to the end (this applies mainly to classic long-form direct mail letters), reward them with a wind-up in which you:
- Spell out in detail all the benefits that are waiting for the prospect, accompanied by a description of the response options available (today it’s usually click the link or call).
- Couple this with your guarantee that proves there is absolutely no reason NOT to say yes.
- Include a limited time offer if you have one, or penalty for NOT responding. (Only 25 attendees can be accommodated to insure personal attention to each student! This guide is available in very limited quantities and when they’re gone, they’re gone!)
Then you’re done… as is this 7-part series, in which we have mused upon how good copywriting follows many of the same formulas as face to face selling. If you’ve joined us late, please go back and start from the beginning. Thanks for reading!