When to use it?
Before deploying the Utility Close or even presenting terms, first question asked when pitching Approval.
What does it sound like?
“With funding in place, what date are you looking to start your project (Key Business Outcome)?”
“With funding in place, what date are you looking to buy that inventory?”
How it works?
Before you present the terms of the approval, you are getting the merchant to reiterate and reinforce valuable information you should have already elicited earlier in the Sales Process. This is for the merchant and for you.
Its best to get the merchant talking about the project and the Business Outcome he is aiming to achieve, because at the end of the day, this is the ultimate goal all of this is driving at.
The funding is only a means to an end, your Approval is a vehicle that helps the merchant get to their end-destination (project/Key Business Outcome), which will create an expected impact in the business (raise revenue/profits, cut costs, etc.).
Funding = Vehicle Goal
Obtaining the funding now allows the merchant to buy that inventory.
Purchase of inventory = Destination Goal (Key Business Outcome)
New inventory allows them take advantage of a seasonal spike that increases revenue for the quarter by 25%.
25% revenue increase = Business Impact
The more the merchant speaks about these with you, the better you understand their objectives, and the better you can consult them through the process as their Trusted Advisor.
Why it works?
Starting with this question opens the merchant up, gets their mind beyond this conversation and transports them to how and when they will put the funding to work. In the process, they are also implicitly re-qualifying themselves for the Approval you have to offer.
For merchants to answer this question, they must give you a specific date or a general date range. This in itself is very valuable, because it will either reinforce what you already knew from earlier in the Sales Process, or there will now be a discrepancy in timing.
If timing has changed, potentially other circumstances have changed as well. It is imperative for you to know this valuable information and address it now, not later. Time kills deals.
With this close, you are really starting with the end in mind and working backwards from there. The objective is to get them talking about the end destination and then working back to the vehicle (funding product terms) that will help them close the gap from where they are to where they want to be –> setting the proper foundation for presenting terms followed up with the Utility Close.
Put the Backwards Close to work and Fund on!