It’s a long, expensive process to get your leads through the sales funnel.
You’ve introduced yourself and offered something of value in exchange for an email opt-in.
Then you followed up with an email or two, building rapport with some free info.
The last thing you want is for your hard work to go waste by not having a solid closing strategy. Allow me to introduce one of the oldest and best sales techniques out there.
What is the Yes Set Technique
The basic structure is: ask several questions that are easy to answer and the answer yes. Then, at the end, tag on the question you want them to say yes to.
It might look something like this:
I noticed you looking at our selection of loafers, do you like wearing loafers?
Were you able to find what you were looking for?
Does the pair you’re trying on now feel comfortable?
Are you ready to buy them?
This pattern works best when there are at least 3 questions. If you can work in more questions – even better – but keep the conversation natural.
Like many strategies of persuasion, if you alert your prospect that you’re manipulating them, it won’t work. This is because the most persuasive techniques involve bypassing the critical faculties.
How it Works
The Yes Set technique works by building a pattern of ‘yes’ answers that gets the other person into a habitual response.
Once the pattern is established, and they’re automatically answering ‘yes’, you slip the question that you really want a ‘yes’ to.
You’re building ‘yes’ inertia so that they say ‘yes’ to your real question without thinking about it. Psychology says that people do things and justify their actions afterward. In other words, once they say yes – they will justify that decision, rather than change their mind.
Real World Example
Would you like to become a better writer?
Would you like to create content that people will remember, tweet, and plus?
How about content that inspires your audience to click, subscribe or buy? That’s the Holy Grail, right?
…Are you ready?
This bit from Copyblogger is a great example of the Yes Set.
Would I like to become a better writer? Sure, why would I be reading an article titled “58 Ways to Create Persuasive Content Your Audience Will Love” if I didn’t want to be a better writer.
This is an obvious question, but it’s relevant so it works. You shouldn’t ask unrelated questions (though they can work to some degree) like “Do you breathe air?”.
The other questions are similarly easy to agree to, building that yes momentum. This was the first paragraph in their listicle and it builds anticipation around the benefits of reading more.
Traditional Use of the Yes Set Technique
Traditionally the Yes Set has graced sales-heavy environments.
Have you walked into an electronics store or onto a car dealership parking lot?
A sales representative will approach you and ask a question like “Do you know what you’re looking for?” or “Can I help you find something?”.
If you engage with them, they’ll likely use the yes-set technique. They’ll follow up with:
“Yes, we have those over here. Do you know which model/color you’re looking for?”
“Do you like how that one looks/feels/drives?”
“Are you ready to check out?”
This is how the Yes Set has traditionally been used. This direct approach is still feasible in many environments, but today’s consumers are more privy to those marketing tactics so it may not work as well for you.
Modern Variation of the Yes Set Technique
While the traditional version still is a must-learn sales tool, there are more passive ways to use the Yes Set.
This variation on the Yes Set technique is to get agreement without explicitly asking a ‘yes’ question. Rather than asking any question, you can get agreeance by stating something your audience would agree with.
Consider the following statement:
Writing your first blog post can be a daunting task, fraught with self-doubt and overwhelm.
The internal reaction to this is still a ‘Yes!’ if your audience has relevant experience and interest in the topic.
So you can still build a Yes Set without questions, so long as your statements induce an internal ‘yes’.
When You Should Use the Yes Set
This technique is profoundly effective when applied properly. It will always work, and it’s a versatile tool to get prospects to take action.
Before using it though, you should know your goal and environment. If your environment is your website, and your goal is to get signups, you want to start with a strong introduction, build a Yes Set throughout your copywriting, and have your final ‘yes’ question be a Call-to-Action. (i.e. Sign up now for a free xx)
If you’re working face-to-face sales at a physical location, and your goal is to close sales, use the Yes Set technique to close on the spot or use the Yes Set variation to make statements that are guaranteed to be agreeable.
The Yes Set is a sales technique because ultimately you’re asking a question that requires them to take action. Use this technique when you need an elegant, unobtrusive way to get prospects to take action.
Closing sales can certainly seem like rocket science, but it’s really simple to use the Yes Set technique.
Assuming you’re building rapport like a pro, simply elicit a ‘yes’ reaction to get ‘yes momentum’, and make a ‘yes Call-to-Action’.
Do you have experience with the Yes Set Technique?