Remember Zippy from Rainbow?
I might be at risk of showing my age with this one… but do you remember Zippy from Rainbow?
Poor old Zippy, he had a zip instead of lips so when he went “on and on” talking too much his friends would just grab one end of the zip and pull it round to shut him up!
Do you need to be a bit more “Zippy”?
Watch the video below or scroll down to read more.
I make reference to him quite frequently on calls with my private clients so I thought it’s about time he gets a moment of fame in my video and on the blog too!
When I started out working in sales at age 23 I worked in the travel industry, but by my 30’s I’d moved to the recruitment industry, and there Zippy was a regular feature of our lives. We used to remind each other “State the price. Then zip up” and we’d make that gesture of zipping up our lips – just like Zippy!
So I wanted to introduce Zippy to you today, as understanding how to make use of him can help prevent you from doing something that’s known as “talking your way out of the sale”. This is what happens when the client has actually heard everything they need to make their decision, they are totally ready to go ahead and work with you. All you need to do is ask them directly if they want to go ahead – and stop talking while you wait for their decision. Yet, usually because of nervousness or discomfort with the sales process you just keep talking and talking, filling all of the space. And because you don’t give your potential client the space they need to process their decision, they don’t actually come to the conclusion that “yes please, I want to do this”.
Instead, you are more likely to hear “I need to think about it”.
Your client needs space:
You see, your client needs space to process if they are to make a decision – and when you keep on talking they don’t get that space.
When to “zip up”:
There are a few key places in the sales process where it is important to say what you’ve got to say – then “zip up”. Here are a few examples:
- After you introduce your offer and state the price
- After you ask if they would like to go ahead
- After you ask if they’ve got any concerns about going ahead
- After you’ve shared an important piece of information that you know is important for them to take in and process.
There are other moments too, but basically, the rule of thumb is – any time where you know your client needs space to process what you’ve just told them.
You’ve just told them that it will cost £1,500 to join your group programme for the next 6 months. Zip up.
You’ve just asked them if they’d like to go ahead and get started next week. Zip up.
Give them time to process. Their brain will be whirring and running a complex algorithm at a zillion miles per hour, weighing up all the pros and cons, whether it feels right, what they are scared of, what their husband and best friend will say, what could go wrong, how amazing it would be if it goes right – and simultaneously wondering if there’s enough money in the account or if they should put it on the credit card – or even ask Aunt Jemima if she’ll release a bit of their inheritance early.
Sometimes the decision will be easy – the potential client may have come to the call with their mind 80% made up and all you have to do is reinforce their decision and not inadvertently say something that’s going to change their mind.
But at other times the decision will be more complex – and your client will need time to process properly if they are going to say Yes.
The problem if you don’t “zip up”
So when you keep talking, either from nervousness, or because you are second guessing what they are thinking and telling yourself stories about it, and trying to jump in too eagerly with your solution or reassurance (maybe a discount before they’ve asked, or addressing a concern they haven’t voiced) you interrupt that thought process and this makes it impossible for them to come to a clear decision.
Interrupt the thought process, and they won’t find your chatter helpful (in fact the only person who feels better when you do that is you!), instead it will inhibit their ability to come to a decision.
Try too hard to help them make a decision by continuing to talk and, in the absence of the space they need they will just say “No” or (more commonly) “I need to think about it.”
In fact, not allowing people the space to come to their own decision there and then during the conversation is one of the biggest reasons why people end the conversation saying “I need to think about it” instead of “Yes please, how soon can we start?”
So what do you need to do…? Follow 3 simple steps!
That’s easy. Say what you need to say as clearly and succinctly as possible. Then stop. Think of Zippy and mentally “zip up”. Long enough for your client to process. You see, it’s easy:
- Say what you’ve got to say
- Zip up
Sometimes just a pause of a few seconds is enough to allow your point to sink in – and then you can continue talking.
At other times you need to be brave enough to zip up completely and let the client be the first one to speak.
And yes it will feel painfully…. interminably….. long….. to you…….. the one who is waiting…….
But for your client it won’t be an uncomfortable silence that they experience at all – instead, they will experience the space to process in the way they need to – and when they’ve done that they will speak – I promise!
So next time, try zipping up and see what happens!
Over to you… Do you keep talking to fill the gaps and notice you get a lot of “I need to think about it” as a result? I always love to hear from you so please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
The 7 Steps to Yes! – free video training
Watch this series of bite-sized videos and learn my step-by-step process for effectively guiding your potential client through a conversation that ends with them saying “Yes please!” to working with you in a way that feels totally authentic and comfortable for both of you. (The videos are just 3 minutes long but will have a big impact on your ability to enrol clients in a way that feels authentic to you).