When my wife purchased a new vehicle several years ago, she experienced the puppy dog close in action.
The dealer told her to take the car for the weekend!
Of course, if she didn’t like the car there was no obligation to buy it.
But, the dealer knew, that driving that new car over several days, all clean and smelling fresh, would likely be enough to close the deal.
What is the Puppy Dog Close?
Not to be confused with the guilty stare that a dog can use on its owner to get what it wants, the puppy dog close has been around for as long as I can remember.
It’s a technique where salespeople allow their buyers a chance to test their product or service. The premise of the puppy dog close is that, once a buyer has a chance to test the product for themselves, they will be sold.
Unfortunately, this can’t be used for every product or service. Its value comes when there is an experiential aspect to the purchase.
Examples of the Puppy Dog Close in Action
There are examples of the puppy dog close in action all around us.
Costco hosts taste testing throughout their store, starting right around lunchtime.
Many car dealers will let you test drive a car before you consider buying it.
Restaurants will often let you sample a wine before you decide to buy a glass.
Supplement stores like GNC will often include samples of new products when you visit their store.
Why It’s Such a Powerful Close
A purchase that offers the buyer an experience is ideal for the puppy dog close.
It shifts a buyer away from approaching the decision logically, and instead, it appeals to their emotions.
Most people who buy a new car don’t really need one.
Their existing car might need some repairs, but the cost of the repairs would be far less than buying a new car.
The shiny new paint, new car smell, and updated technology can and often will be enough to sway a buyer into purchasing the car.
Puppy Dog Close: How to Use It
If you want to use this type of close in your sales process, ask yourself these six questions.
1. Does my product or service offer an experience?
If there is an experiential component to your product or service? If so, and the experience will influence the buyer’s purchase decision, then a puppy dog close likely makes sense.
2. How will they demo the product or service?
What are the ways in which your customer can demo your product or service? Are there risks associated that you should address?
3. What will the time frame be for the demo?
How long would be needed for a demo to have an influence on the buyer? Would something quick suffice or would a longer-term demo make sense? Typically, the larger the purchase value, the longer the demo should be.
4. Would you realize a competitive advantage by offering a demo?
Are your competitors offering a demo of their product or service? If they are, you should be too. If they aren’t, offering a demo might set you apart and provide a competitive advantage.
5. When would the right time be to make my offer?
Where in your current sales process would a demo make sense? Is it after you’ve made a presentation, or before? In some instances, to reduce risk and speed up the close, you may wish to wait until an objection has been raised before using the puppy dog close.
6. What would the sales process look like?
Next to timing, consider how including a demo would impact your sales process. Is a deposit required? What steps will you take after the customer has the demo to move towards the close?
Will the customer want the close?
The question you might be wondering is, will my customer want me to use the puppy dog close?
If your product or service has an experiential aspect to it, then a buyer will typically want to have this experience as part of their buying decision.
They can always choose the turn down your offer but will find value in the fact you offered it in the first place.
If you’re in doubt at all, ask a few customers if experiencing your product or service would be beneficial to their buying decision.
Introducing Your Puppy Dog Close
In my experience, the benefits of using this far outweigh any risks.
Appealing to a customer’s emotions can shift the discussion away from price and move it towards benefits and value.
Using the questions above, determine whether a puppy dog close makes sense, and then test it.
Ask new prospects if a demo or test would have an influence on their buying decision.
Using the puppy dog close you’ll spend less time negotiating, and more time closing.
© Shawn Casemore 2022. All Rights Reserved.