Closing Sales With
the Handshake Close

Closing sales with the "Handshake Close" has to be, by far, my favorite sales closing technique. It's a technique, if used correctly, that can help a salesman to increase their gross profit by $500, $600 or $700 and more.

That 5, 6 or $700 or more equates, at a 25% commission, to $125 to $175 additional income per sale. That may not sound like a whole lot, but figure that over 10 deals a month and that's a $1250 to $1750 pay raise each month. Over a year that's $15,000 to $21,000! Sounds great, sign me up...

How the Handshake
Sales Closing Technique Works

Closing sales with the handshake close is best used when a negotiation has been going on for sometime and you are right on the verge of closing the deal, but want to go for that last little payment bump to help the profit of the deal.

Let's say that you've gone back and forth with a customer for the last 30 minutes. You've talked to your sales manager presenting their figures and returning with counter offers from the customer.

I can actually remember the first time I used this closing technique as I was a little nervous trying it for the first time, because I wasn't sure how it would go once I tried it. Here's my best recollection of that negotiation and how a handshake helped me to close the deal for more money.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Once the Smith's and I had a chance to begin discussing numbers it became very clear that they had previously set out to buy a car with payments not to exceed $300 a month. Of course, being that I worked for a "for profit" car dealership, they were going to make the Smith's work to get there.

It started with my sales manager giving me figures to present to Smith's and it went like this:

1) $16,995 Sale Price

2) No Trade In

3) $2000 Down Payment

4) Monthly Payments of $399 for 72 Months.

Well the Smith's had good credit, so money down wasn't necessary and because of that they had preferred to use a $0 down approach, they weren't too concerned with sale price, but refused to take on a payment over $300.

OK, fine. Back to the sales manager I went and he knocked some of the fluff (payment packing, now illegal) out of their payment and showed them what nice guys we were to actually lower their payment while putting no money down. So now they were at monthly payments of $373 with no money down.

Good for the dealership, but still not good for the Smith's who were pretty darn serious about that $300 payment. OK, back to the drawing board...I made one more pass at the Smith's to no avail. $300 was there number and there was no getting around it.

Now, each time I go back to the sales manager there is only one way to get that payment down to where they wanted it and that's to start shaving dollars off the sales price. As you can imagine, a car salesman doesn't like to shave dollars off the sales price, because that translates into less profit and less commission.

At this point the sales manager had sent me back out with monthly payments of $327 a month after taking a little over $1000 off the sales price. Still no good...Shucks!!!

The Grand Finale
At this point I'm standing at the "desk" and the sales manager is working his magic on his computer. He then scribbles some numbers on the "four square" and then tells me to go congratulate them and shake their hand.

I did just that. I walked up to Mr. Smith (he was the most involved in the negotiation), put out my hand to shake, told him congratulations and as we began to shake hands I told him $309 a month.

For a split second he looked a little confused and then he smiled and with a light laugh he said OK!

That little $9 a month seems pretty petty to continue to haggle over for most people and after a 30-45 minute negotiation most customers are just ready to sign some papers and go show off their new vehicle to family and friends.

As petty as that $9 is at this point to the customer it's very important to you as a car salesman. $9 over 72 months equals an additional $648 that doesn't have to be taken from your front end profit.

Timing is really the key with this closing technique. You have to use it at the right time during the negotiation and what and when you say things is very important. Stick out your hand and cheerfully say congratulations. As soon as you begin to shake hands is when you disclose the monthly payment.

In addition, make it seem that they've won! If you act like it is a sales close and not a congratulations "you win" type of scenario, then the handshake close will not be nearly as successful.

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