I had an old employer who had built an amazing business, incredibly successful guy, and he loved to go on sales calls. He was actually quite talented at building rapport and getting the customer to want what we were selling. The only issue was that he loved to talk and often times when, as a salesperson, we should not be. Many times we would get a verbal yes for another meeting or to close the deal and he would begin to talk in circles unsure of where the conversation was going. It was often easy to tell that the buyer, on the other side of the table, was ready to be done with the meeting (Fidgeting, looking at watch, changing posture). This is quite common after receiving confirmation of your objective for new or out-of-practice sales people.
Just about everybody in sales has heard the expression “Don’t talk past the close”. But I have found that many people do not really understand what it means and more importantly forget what it means when in a pitch meeting.
Like I have said in the past your buyer is like an 8 year old boy and that means that the decision window is very small. You have to be able to recognize when the buyer has said yes and when you begin to lose them. Odds are if they said yes and you are still the one talking then you are talking past the close.
Every pitch should end with asking for the business and once there is a concrete yes (or something similar, typically it is not just a yes) then affirm the buyers decision to choose your product or service and get out of the office. The only time that you want to stay in the office is if the buyer is talking.
Two things can occur in a pitch meeting that can cause a sales person to talk past the close:
- Nervously excited about closing the deal
- Is oblivious to the fact that the deal is closed and that the buyer is losing interest
There is an old sports saying that goes “Act like you have been there before”. Don’t get me wrong you should be excited about your success as sales is a very difficult job and every victory must be celebrated but wait until you get in the car. You got the answer you wanted now leave before they change their mind. The second reason is sometimes tougher than it may sound and is why I always recommend two people for a sales call. When someone is performing a pitch it is easy to get lost talking and when you get to the end of the presentation you are in a word vomit. The counterpart to your team can recognize the buyers body language better as they are not focusing on the pitch and they are able to real you back in. (Post coming soon about how two is always better than one)
Just remember to be confident in your ability, once you get the answer that you are looking for get out of there and do not get sick with word vomit. It is far too common.