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.

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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  • Raven

    I could not agree more. I sat in on a sales presentation with my boss, and he had the prospect ready to switch to us. Everyone was happy, convinced. We were preparing to leave on a very high note and he said something to the effect of, "Tell me what I can say to convince you to switch to us." What? He had already done that! The energy in the room immediately flatlined. The client had that deer in the headlight look on their faces. It took two more years to get them to consider us again.