The Puppy-Dog Close

Favorites, Featured Aug 01, 2011 2 Comments

Letting customers take your product home on a trial basis may clinch the sale.

Modeling is not a term that applies exclusively to those gorgeous, skinny creatures who strut down the runway in the latest designer duds. Modeling is also what successful businesses do when they see and replicate what works for other businesses, no matter the industry.

Take the so-called puppy-dog close, one of the most powerful sales techniques ever invented (and it’s totally based on customer experience). This is how it works:

A customer is in the pet store with a child who is begging for a puppy. Not at all sure this is such a great idea, or perhaps not sure if this particular puppy is the right fit, the customer will not commit to the purchase. The savvy salesperson offers to let them take the puppy home for a few days, assuring the parent that the puppy can be returned, no questions asked, and a refund cheerfully given if they decide they don’t wish to keep it.

How could you say no to such a reasonable offer, especially with your child right there with those expectant eyes?

Of course, the child falls in love with the new pet, and there’s no way the parent can return the dog to the store. Sold: one puppy. It’s that simple.

A number of stores that sell area rugs have modeled this technique by allowing prospective buyers to take a rug home so they can see how it looks in their space. Most of the time, it’s a keeper. Other times, the customer tries rug after rug until he finds one he likes.

Now, an internet diamond merchant is modeling the puppy-dog close to sell engagement rings. The buyer chooses up to three ring designs, and the company sends cubic zirconia replicas, with free return shipping, for the prospective bride to wear for 10 days. And just like the puppy and the rug, the customer is under no obligation to buy.

How might you model the puppy-dog close to give your customers the opportunity to experience your product? Could you let them take the actual product home and live with it? Could you create a replica of some sort that they could try out? Or perhaps you might make up small samples like cosmetics companies do, so that after a few days of using the product, the prospect wants to return to buy the regular size.

Once your actual product is in the customers’ possession and the customer experiences the joy of ownership, the sale is all but a sure thing, particularly when there is a strong emotional component to the purchase. Sit down and start thinking about how you could entice your prospects and customers with a puppy-dog experience that will make your close ratios higher than they’ve ever been before.

Excerpted from an article by Sydney Barrows in Entrepreneur magazine

2 Responses to “The Puppy-Dog Close”

  1. Reply Lead Nurturing Revealed | Grand Incentives Blog says:

    [...] Demo/Product – If a customer clicked on a certain product page, follow up with an offer for a demo or product trial. [...]

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