The Australian Small Business Blog

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sales Technique - Handling Serial Procrastination with the Lazarus Close

by Jim Prigg

To complete any deal or agreement, to deliver an outcome or proceed to the logical conclusion for someone to buy you need to be able to employ a variety of methods to get agreement to proceed.

This can be putting pen to paper, cash money paid (and receipted), a credit card number obtained or a memorandum of understanding to complete the transaction. That quite simply is about closing the sale.

A close can be tacit, by handshake, verbal, implied, written and signed for or by an agreement to deliver on or by a certain date.

People continually ask how do they “just get on with closing the deal?” Closing is part of the sales process that should never be under estimated or taken frivolously by the person looking to gain the business.

The Lazarus close is a very simple close that allows you to revisit the position and check the warmth of someone who has gone off the boil in proceedings.

This close is ideal for a deal which may have been going on for some time and you are finding it hard to reach decision time. As the name implies it is an attempt to bring a deal “back from the dead” as Lazarus was raised from the dead in biblical times.

It is a call-to-action close. It can be used to get back on track. It can be used to define just where you stand with this particular person. It can be used to get a final NO. Even more importantly it can also be used to find out when the NO runs out.

Build your preamble to the Lazarus close with statements such as:

•“Mr Prospect, you may recall at our last meeting, on (insert date) we looked at some of the important issues and concepts around your wealth protection strategies.”

“You may recall this seemed an eminently sensible idea to (insert the benefit for your prospect if they act)”

“John perhaps you got busy or maybe I should have followed up with you quicker. The truth is I’m not sure where we stand at the moment. Perhaps you can help me here.”

At this point in time we put in a range of options that are realistic and fair, both to you and the potential client with questions like:

•Is this protective component of your planning still important to you and your family/business in your overall planning?

Would your lenders feel more comfortable if the protection you looked at was in place?

Are there any other issues or people that will need to be informed that we need to take into account to help you get this completed?

When is a convenient time to have another chat with you?

Have you resolved (insert the issue that you think was holding up completion of the deal)?

Then create a decision oriented set of questions that put the issue fairly and squarely up for action or refusal to act.

•“If you do not wish to take the concept any further could you please let me know that too? Under new rules I do have to sign off on all propositions and offers I make.So should we begin again or do I have your permission to close the file at this point in time?”

This should gain you a result one way or another. If they do say yes to further dialogue then you go into close mode again to get a commitment to action by a specific date and time.

If they say NO, find out if that NO is forever. If it isn’t forever then ascertain when the NO runs out. Start to mention timelines with questions like:

"Is it in the next hour, by the end of the week, by the end of the month, before Christmas, by the end of the tax year, before their birthday, before they go on holidays or before they changes jobs? Try and put a memorable event or time frame on the time that the decision will be made by.

The beauty of this particular technique is that it calls for action to get a decision one way or another. You now that you do not win every deal. This allows you to move forward with the prospects approval even if they don't agree to deal with you immediately. And of course having written or electronic confirmation of a decision to act or not act is very good from a compliance perspective!

Activity One: Create your own Lazarus style questions that apply to your industry or product that can be used as a simple close.

Activity Two: List all your existing business deals that are being held up or have reached log jam status. Contact them with your Lazarus questions either verbally or by the written electronic word.

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This article is reprinted with permission from Jim Prigg CEO and founder of Knowledgemaster Pty Ltd. Knowledgemaster is an online resources company that delivers practical communications, interaction, sales and soft skills tips, tactics, techniques. Learn more about winning business programs and tactics by calling, Jim Prigg at 03 5232 1500 mobile 0408 520453 or or visit

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