The Ben Franklin Balance Sheet

The Ben Franklin Balance Sheet is used by some top sales people to help clients make a yes or no decision.

Tom Hopkins a famous sales trainer calls it: “One of the most magnificent closes that have ever come into the selling profession.” It is also a great tool for individuals to use.

Known for his common sense, Ben Franklin originally developed the balance sheet for making yes and no decisions.

He made thousands of wise decisions and used this method to make many of those decisions.

To use the Ben Franklin Balance Sheet take a clean sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left side of the line near the top write the word “Yes.” Underneath it write all the arguments for the decision. On the right side of the paper write the word “No.” Underneath it write all the arguments against the decision.

When completed, count the number of arguments for the decision on the left side of the paper. Then count the number of arguments against the decision on the right side of the paper. Frequently, the decision becomes obvious, especially when one of the sides clearly has more arguments listed. 1

Here is an example taken from the book: The Re-Discovery of Common Sense showing the Ben Franklin close for a man named Jack who is trying to decide whether or not to purchase a new car.

The “Yes” column is for reasons to buy a car. The “No” column is for reasons against buying a car.

Ben Franklin Balance Sheet

The Ben Franklin Balance Close Sheet

Jack’s decision in this case is straight forward. There are nine good reasons to buy a newer car and only one reason not to. However there are some caveats.

If Jack did not have as good paying job, or his existing car was newer and more reliable the decision might be more difficult. Then, a strong "no" reason would trump several yes reasons. This would be especially true if the "yes" reasons were weak.

4 Hopkins, Tom. How to Master the Art of Selling (Warner Books Edition, Champion Press, Scottsdale Arizona 1982).

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