Mark Zokle on “Golden Bridge” Close

A famous Chinese general once said the best way to defeat your enemy was to build them a golden bridge. According to Mark Zokle, this suggests that paving a path for an enemy is more desirable than starting a fight. We can borrow this idea for sales strategies by pointing out undesirable options or nearly impossible circumstances, which are likely to gently guide the customer to pick out exactly what you want them to want.

Mark Zokle uses the following scenario as an example:

I’m sorry, we’re out of the pool with the powder coated steel frame. Oh, no, I don’t recommend the 18-foot option, all of our other customers say they wish they had purchased the 30 foot pool. What’s that? Yes, we have our newer model in stock, I will show it to you.

In this example, the salesperson is steering his customer to a better product at a slightly higher price. Mark Zokle explains that the customer will benefit from having a better swimming pool and the salesperson will likely receive a higher commission for selling one of the newer models.

Mark Zokle notes that in order for the Golden Bridge closing technique to be effective, you must close off other options that your customer might consider, so that they have no choice but to move in the direction of the item you are suggesting.

Your job is to help the customer lose interest in alternative products, notes Mark Zokle. This tactic is effective when there are a number of options to choose from but you only have one or two that you truly believe in. Another benefit here is that you can take some time and acquire more in-depth knowledge about your most reliable products so that you can answer the customer’s questions in depth. After all, points out Mark Zokle, a customer will be more likely to buy the item that you can offer the most information about, especially if it is comparable cost-wise.