What Are Sum Ups and How Can Sum Ups Help Improve the Number of Clients That You Sign Up?

By: Scott McEachern, legal practitioner coach

Strangely, when selling, and everything is selling, people often fail to mention the benefit expected via what is offered.  Sometimes it may be that the seller presumes the benefit is plainly obvious, and perhaps so; however, there are always strong reasons to always mention the available benefits regardless of whether the benefit appears as obvious.

Why Use a Sum Up?
  1. The benefit may be less than obvious.
  2. The benefit should be confirmed as a pre-close to weed out hidden objections that may hinder closing of a sale.

A good salesperson will have thoroughly qualified the buyers needs and wants using exploratory questions to uncover more than just the features of a product or service that the buyer is shopping for.  The good salesperson will know the benefits or results that the buyer seeks to gain from the features of a product or service.  Accordingly, after the seller uses Sum Ups to confirm understanding of needs and wants (desires), while the seller is demonstrating the features of a product or service, the good seller will explain each by stating what the feature is or does while matching such to a benefit or result that was earlier stated as a need or want by the buyer.  This can be done easily in many ways such as by using a So To segue.  For example:

With password secure login, our legal case management software will enable you to have 24/7 access to your files so to give you with a full, anytime and anywhere, ability to receive an instant update on the status of all your files, the expenses incurred, and the debt amounts collected, from which you and your receivables team can then perform your internal cost-benefit analysis, which you did say was a key expectation, correct?

In the example above, the two little words so to were used as the segue into the sum ups of needs and wants and deliverable benefits.

Using sum ups, following a series of genuinely concerned exploratory questions to discover the needs and wants of a potential client, helps to confirm that you indeed understood the needs and wants of the potential client while assuring the potential client that such needs and wants were understood and that such needs and wants will be delivered upon hiring you.  The sum ups technique works well whereas, firstly, only an irration person gets upset or feels pitched by a seller that confirms the stated needs and wants as stated by a prospective client, and secondly, with each confirmation of needs and wants being deliverable, the potential client receives assurance that what is being offered is the right solution.

Additionally, have you noticed how easy and natural the so to segue flows and converts the statement about a feature into a benefit statement?   Remember, people buy benefits rather than buying features.  Think carefully about that and ask yourself if you have actually every felt a want to buy all seat airbags or if you have enjoyed the feeling of buying an assurance of safety and security for your entire family.

The same technique can be used with intangible services, such as legal services, rather than tangible products, such as airbags.  For example:

Our legal firm uses both an electronic reminder system redundantly backed up by an old-fashioned diary card system to ensure deadlines are met so to enable you to avoid worrying about missing document filing dates or other important concerns within the legal process.


Of course, there are many ways to naturally convert a feature statement into a benefit statement.  The So To segue is just one easy example.  Here are some other segues (feel free to add your own - as you should):

... so to ...

... which allows you to ...

... providing you with ...

... to ensure that you receive the ______ result you said you want.

People dislike being told the features of a product or service; however, people prefer being sold on the benefits or results gained via the features of a product or service.  A good seller cares enough to help show or explain the features and will confirm with the buyer an understanding that the feature will provide the benefit or result or solution to that which was earlier stated as a want or need.

Can you see how these techniques can be used so to help you improve your closing ratio and retain more clients?

Do you see where retaining more clients means less time wasted on unproductive initial consultantion meetings that can provide you with more time to get productive work done?

Did you notice that the last two questions, as well as this question, are sum ups that pitch the benefits of the sum up technique while doing so in question form?

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