In a professional sales process, if all the previous steps have been done properly, the close should happen naturally. I’m convinced that some salespeople are so busy talking, that they either miss buying signals or even worse, talk buyers right out of buying!

When I was the ripe old age of 20, I was preparing to venture out on my own. During my days of packing, an acquaintance from high school, whom I hadn’t spoken with since graduation, called and asked if he could practice his “sales pitch” on me for his new job selling pots & pans door to door! As busy as I was, I reluctantly said yes, feeling badly for him as I imagined how many “no’s” he must have already gotten, that he was now reaching out to his  ‘said ‘hi’ to her once in the hallway’ list.  

He arrived to our family home right on time and proceeded to line up his products across the kitchen table as he read from his script, pausing to make uncomfortable eye contact with me before flipping his presentation book to the next page. I watched and listened like a good prospect. Then, when he was almost done, he looked at me and intently said, “Do you like it so far?” I replied, “Yes. ’ll take them.” He nervously said, “What do you mean?” Trying to explain, I repeated, “I’ll take them. I need a set.

They seem like really good quality and I trust you.” He shook his head dishearteningly and stated, “But I’m not done yet.” To which I replied, I don’t need to hear any more, I’m already sold.” With all sincerity he responded, “I’m not sure if I’m allowed to skip ahead; nobody taught me that. I really don’t know how to.”  I agreed to sit through the rest of the pre-designed presentation. I can still remember being really tuned out at that point and anxious for him to get to the part where he would say something to the effect of, “Press hard when you sign, there’s four copies.”

That was a long time ago, but it made an impression on me as a customer and clearly made an impact on me as a Sales Professional. At that time, I saw the value to meet a need I had and I trusted the person presenting to me, so it was a match. If I didn’t have that need t that time, it would have been just practice for him. Or if he persisted beyond a dress rehearsal of sorts, with all of the additional sales pieces and mumble-jumble of trying to actually sell me something I had no interest in, it would have been more of a typical interaction of a salesperson wearing down a prospect. Fortunately for me, I was spared the high-pressure sales pitch. Unfortunately for him, that career was a very short lived, as I was his only sale. Forty years later, I still have and use those pots & pans, as well the free cutting board that came with them for buying on the first visit!

With as much as I encourage you to initiate the sales process to start selling, it is equally as important to know when to stop selling!

As in my example, timing is everything!

That’s because of my passion for teaching and encouraging sales executives to always use integrity and to be professional and all times. As a result of that commitment, I expect the same from representatives that are attempting to sell something to me.

Diane Ciotta
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