Selling Past the Close; or When to Shut UP!
I may have mentioned once or twice that I have twin (now 2.5-year-old) daughters, right? And that means that I hear a lot of repetition in my house. They literally say the same things over and over—to each other, to the dogs, and to me.
They also ask a lot of questions, so in that respect, they are not unlike a good sales rep. (In fact, I fantasize that I will be such a good influence on them that they will both be great salespeople and even make great presentations in grade school.)
But here is where they lose their great sales acumen. They often sell past the close. A simple definition of this phenomenon is:
“To continue trying to convince a customer of the benefits of making a purchase after the customer has already decided to make that purchase; to oversell.”
So here’s my question. Do you ever sell past the close? To put it more bluntly, Do you know when to shut the hell up, recognize that you have won, and get the hell out of there?
With my girls, it’s simple. They ask for something. I say yes. And then they ask again. And again. And again.
Maybe because I didn’t move fast enough, or because they just have no sense of time and space. Maybe it’s both. But I suspect that with a salesperson today, this issue gets more complicated. Especially because we sell a service as opposed to a tangible product (most of the time), we often close with a verbal commitment to “give us a shot” the next time a project comes up.
But I know better. Salespeople are talkers, and sometimes too much talking can finesse us right out of a deal. We say too much, or say the wrong thing, drop the wrong name, or bring up an aspect of our selves, our service or our company that sours the customer on us before they’ve even had a chance to act.
So here’s the takeaway. Remember that you can screw up even after the customer says yes. If you get a solid yes, shut up and get out. Think very carefully about what you say, and say as little as possible to avoid getting yourself into trouble.
We are driven by ego, and that is part of what makes us great and successful salespeople. But ask yourself, “Have I ever lost business I thought I had in the bag?” And if so, do you know why?
It just might be because you didn’t know when to shut up and take the win.