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The Thermometer Close


Guest articles > The Thermometer Close


by: Niall Devitt


I’m not a big fan of so-called tricks of the sales trade but here’s one that is worth mentioning called the thermometer close.

This is what I would call an upfront closing technique, by using the technique the salesperson is not trying to close the sale out but merely attempting to move the conversation and the opportunity forward.

It goes like so:

Salesperson: Hi (Prospect), this is (Salesperson). How are you today?

Next the stall:

Prospect: Oh Hi (Salesperson) I’m good, unfortunately I didn’t make a decision yet so perhaps if you could leave it till next week that would be great.

Here comes the upfront closing technique, which allows the salesperson to test where the sale is relative to a successful close.

Salesperson: No problem, I will put you down for a call on Tuesday. Obviously (Prospect) I would like it be a yes on Tuesday but if was to ask you say on a scale of one to ten, ten being we definitely will be doing business and one being we definitely won’t be doing business, where would you say you are right now?

Depending on the number, the salesperson knows how much convincing is left to do. An Answer of five or less means lots and an answer of six or more means not so much.

Prospect: Oh I say a seven or eight.

This is good, but there are still some issues/objections remaining, next the salesperson needs to find out what these concerns are.

Salesperson: Great, can you tell me what are the concerns that remain or how might I help to get you to ten.

Prospect: Well (Salesperson), really the concern relates to delivery times, and while you may have a more cost effective solution, our current supplier never misses a deadline so we feel there is an element of risk involved.

Now the salesperson has found out the remaining concern(s) and has an opportunity to do something about that.

Salesperson: Thanks (Prospect) for your honesty and I appreciate and understand your position, How’s about to help you resolve this concern, I set up a call between you and one or two of our major and longstanding customers, you can ask them how we have performed in relation to meeting their deadlines.

Prospect: Yeah, for sure that would help.

Salesperson: OK so, Ill speak to them immediately and set up the calls before the weekend. That should leave you with enough time to consider what’s been said before our call on Tuesday. Does that sound reasonable to you (Prospect)

Prospect: Yeah, that sounds good, Ill look forward to speaking to them.

Try the thermometer close for yourself. Remember its most effective in situations where the opportunity is stalled or when the prospect is not forthcoming with concerns or issues that they still may have.

About the Author: Niall Devitt is a training consultant and business mentor. With over a decade of experience working as senior sales manager and trainer for some of Ireland’s top companies his expertise lies in creating and implementing performance driven sales programmes. Niall is regularly asked to contribute business articles and his advice has been published through the Irish National Press and broadcast on Radio. Visit his blog on business know-how at

Contributor: Niall Devitt

Published here on: 16-Mar-08

Classification: Sales


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