Last week I wrote about the often forgotten,cardinal rule of sales: You must ASK for the SALE. This week is the equally important follow up: once you’ve asked, SHUT UP!
Good sales people who have talked themselves right out of their own sale probably outnumber the stars in the sky. They’ve asked all the right questions, checked for understanding, and built value in their offering. They do all the right things up to that point. Then they get up the nerve to ask that question, but are seemingly afraid of the answer or their own chances of success, so they torpedo the sale by continuing to talk. They start blathering, “you don’t have to let me know right now, just think it over and give me a call in a day or two. I know you guys will want to talk it over and that’s cool. Just shoot me text if you have any questions…”
That’s all folks! You’ve just escorted your sale is right out the door. You might just as well have given them directions to your competitor while you were at it. It’s the Hollywood equivalent of three teenage girls who sneak out to meet their boyfriends at the old abandoned Wallace house on the edge of town on Halloween night. Nobody gets out of that movie alive and your sale dies a miserable death too.
When you ask for the sale, just shut up! Awkward silence is way better than you gabbering away, slicing and dicing your sale into oblivion. Instead, listen very closely to everything your prospect says after you’ve asked them outright to do business with you. You’ll either get a yes or a no or you’ll get more questions, which signals you’ve got more work to do and that you’re still in the game! If they just want to “think about it”, ask them what specifically has them feeling unsure–and then shut up again being careful to listen very closely for the answer. If the decision is no decision, let them know that their event is important to you and that you’ll be following up with them in a couple days after they’ve had some time to sleep on it, and then do it!
In the end, sales is truly about solving problems for your clients and meeting their needs. If by the end of your consultation, you don’t know what those things are (or you wrongly assumed the prospect was just like every other bride-to-be), it may be that you were too busy waxing eloquently about your f/2.8 glass and not listening. As the old saying goes, it’s why we have two ears and only one mouth.