The Either/Or Close

Ask Your Prospect to Choose Between Two Options, Both of Which Meet Your Objective

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Remember when I went on the sales call with Mitchell? In a few minutes I closed the sale he’d been working on for a couple of months. The “secret” sales technique I used is no secret at all. It’s the simplest closing technique available and the easiest to master. That’s why I use it.

It’s called the either/or close.

Author and blogger Peter Lyle DeHaan

The premise is simple: give your prospect two options and ask them to pick the one they like the best. It’s easy for them because it’s the simplest of decisions to make. There are only two possibilities with no variables: it’s A or B.

The beauty of this approach is that either choice meets your overall aim of closing the sale.

Here’s how this worked on the sales call Mitchell and I made: Once I established a rapport with the prospect, I asked one simple question: “Would you like to start service this weekend or wait until next week?”

She paused for only a moment and said, “This weekend.” At that point the sale was made. I only needed to finalize it by having her sign the agreement. She was eager to do so.

I told her we’d send her an invoice for the set-up fee and first month’s payment. But she waved me off and had a check cut while we waited. That’s how motivated she was in switching over to our business. And it all happened because I used the either/or close.

The either/or close is my default method of closing sales. I use it every time. And I close well over half of those sales.

Usually, my two options relate to starting dates. I’ve used this for both selling answering service and selling advertising. If they’re willing to give me an answer, they’ve mentally already decided to go with my company, even if they don’t yet realize it. The only time they vacillate and decline to pick one of the two options is if they’re truly undecided, have a concern I haven’t addressed, or aren’t a serious buyer.

Another pair of options is picking between two rate plans. But I never ask them to pick between the two highest packages. Instead, I ask them to pick between the one I feel will work best for them and the one I feel will work second best. That way we both win. I get a sale, and they get a solution that will work well for them.

There’s a variation of the either/or close that I call the special incentive close. We’ll cover that in the next chapter.

Sales Success Tip

There’s much we can learn about the sales process and selling techniques. Don’t discount the advanced skills and learn whatever you can, but also embrace what is simple and works for you. Use it as your go-to closing technique. For me it’s the either/or close.

Read more in Peter Lyle DeHaan’s Sticky Series books, including Sticky Customer ServiceSticky Sales and Marketing, and Sticky Leadership and Management featuring his compelling story-driven insights and tips.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an entrepreneur and businessman who has managed, owned, and started multiple businesses over his career. Common themes at every turn have included customer service, sales and marketing, and leadership and management.

He shares his lifetime of business experience and personal insights through his books to encourage, inspire, and occasionally entertain.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.