Zig Ziglair's Marriage Certificate sales close

In Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglair tells the story of the marriage certificate. There is an abundance of great stories and learnings in this book, but if I had to choose just one, I’d choose the marriage certificate.

When he was working in the insurance business, Zig Ziglair had a hard time closing a sale. 

“After conducting the fact-finding interview, I would go back for the presentation, tell the story, and sell the product, the need, and our service, only to have the prospect look at me and say, “Mr. Ziglair, you know I’m embarrassed we’ve permitted you to come back. Although we recognize our need for insurance, if we buy any, we can’t buy from you. My wife’s second cousin’s next-door neighbor’s best friend’s uncle’s son’s classmate has a friend whose daughter’s husband is in the insurance business [maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but it was pretty farfetched!], and if we buy any insurance, we’ll have to buy from him.”

Zig Ziglair wasn’t happy with this roadblock, but he didn’t give up. He used his imagination and came up with a clever idea. He created a document that showed his prospect that this sale represents just the beginning to a long lasting relationship and a true win-win partnership (just like the relationships I teach inside Lifelong Customers).

“I designed a “Marriage Certificate” and had it printed on beautiful parchment paper. When the prospect stalled and said, “I like the idea but I’ll have to buy from___,” I looked him in the eye and replied, “I’m confident the individual you mention is competent and the company he represents is legitimate, since it is licensed in this state. [Never make a negative or antagonistic comment.] But, Mr. Prospect, I can do something for you at this moment that no other insurance man in America can do.” Obviously, that’s going to elicit the question “What’s that?” At that point I would reach into my briefcase, pull out the Marriage Certificate, and say, “I can marry you.”

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The Marriage Certificate was a document that outlined the pledge Zig Ziglair made to Mr. Prospect, to be available in time of need, to stay abreast of trends and to provide informed advice for as long as Mr. Prospect chose to remain in this “marriage.” 

“Mr. Ziglair, now this is legal, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not bigamy. You’re not going to get us in trouble?” 

“Many times the man would chuckle and say, “Well, why not?” He’d grab his pen and with a real flowery twist he would really sign it. But a funny thing happened on the way to the bank. Never once did I get the Marriage Certificate signed that I did not also get the application blank signed. 

By using the Marriage Certificate I’m doing two things. Number one, I’m using a trial close. When they bought the first idea (signing the Marriage Certificate) it made the second one a great deal easier to buy. Number two, I’m saying to the prospect, “I’m not selling you just for today. I’m selling you for the future. I’m going to be part of your life. I’m going to be your insurance man.”

Everyone wants to feel supported. Everyone wants to have real partners. Everyone likes to feel heard, respected, acknowledged and appreciated. Not just today, but for life. Not just before they buy, but after they buy as well. 

When people buy from you or when they sign a contract with you, they don’t want to get in bed with you. They don’t really want to “marry” you. But when you tell them that you have their back, that you’re not going anywhere anytime soon and that you will be there for them for life, they will listen and you will stand out in their eyes.

Mihaela Akers