Direct Marketing Article
The Take Away Close for Marketing
By Bob Bly
A few years ago I came across a brochure for an independent consultant,
The brochure promoting White's consulting services was written entirely in
question and answer format. But what really caught my eye was the first Q &
A in the lead:
Q: Why should I hire Sommers White?
A: Perhaps you should not.
Why is this opening so effective?
First, it is unexpected. The surprise factor gets your attention.
Second, it instantly builds White's credibility. Obviously, here is a guy
who only wants clients he can help. He won't just take any business. He has
to believe he can really help you before he will work with you. What an
Third, it actually enhances the desire to find out more about White and
possibly hire him. It's intriguing. Who is this man of mystery? Why is he so
sure of himself that he doesn't even want your business?
This technique of selling is called "the takeaway close." White did not
invent it, although his use of it as a lead is unusual.
The basic premise of the takeaway close is: People want what they can't
Think about it. Your doctor tells you, "No more candy." What do you
instantly want? Candy!
Sales trainer Paul Karasik recommends you use the takeaway method when
trying to close a sale with a reluctant prospect.
If the prospect is hemming and hawing, shut your notebook or folder, take
the contract off the table, and say, "You know, you're right. This may not
be for you."
The prospect will immediately want to know why you say this, and often, will
try to prove you wrong. In essence, they'll start selling YOU on changing
your mind and accepting them as a customer. What an ideal situation for you!
Another thing that makes the takeaway close so effective is what I call the
power of the contrary: When you do something people don't expect, it is an
A radio commercial for Seaman's, a furniture store in my area, begins:
"Whatever you do, DON'T buy furniture today!"
You don't expect a furniture store to tell you not to buy furniture. So you
listen. It sounds like you are going to get helpful consumer advice - maybe
tips on shopping for furniture.
Turns out, the tip is to wait to Saturday for Seaman's big blowout sale. But
it works. They got your attention -- and now you want to wait for their
The next time you are having trouble closing a prospect or moving a sale
forward, try the takeaway close.
One caveat: You have to be willing to lose the sale to make this work. You
must be prepared for and ready to accept the possibility that the prospect
will say, "Yes, you're right, this is not for me."
Therefore, the takeaway close should only be used either (a) when you
already have more business than you can handle -- and therefore can afford
to lose the sale, or (b) when the sale is stalled and you cannot move the
prospect forward using your other closing techniques.
About the Author:
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter with 20 years experience in
business-to-business and direct marketing. He has written direct mail
packages for Phillips Publishing, Agora Publishing, KCI Communications,
McGraw-Hill, Medical Economics, Reed Reference Publishing, A.F. Lewis, and
numerous other publishers. For information on books by Bob Bly please visit: