Don't Step on Your Close

Last week I was waiting in a line to order shaved ice. There were two clerks who handled all the duties in preparing this tasty treat. This includes, taking your order, shaving the ice from an ice block, packing the ice down, putting your choice of syrup flavoring on the ice--and finally, ringing you up at the cash register.

While I was being helped by one of the clerks, the other clerk was finishing a small shaved ice for a family of four. As he finished adding the final syrup, I overheard him ask: “What would you all like next, or are you going to share this one?” The family paused for about a second and a half and then said, “we’ll just share this one.” And there I had just witnessed a critical sales mistake on display---stepping on your close.

When you ask a question, wait for the answer. Often, inexperienced sales people will ask a question and then close the question by adding “or.” This is a massive mistake. If you ask a question in sales, wait for the answer. Don’t assume you know the answer. Don’t try to predict what the customer might say--people hate a smart-ass. And don’t close yourself by adding “or” to the rest of your sentence. Simply wait patiently for the prospect to answer the question.

By allowing the customer to answer your question you demonstrate confidence, you demonstrate the ability to listen, and you demonstrate you willingness to hear the word “no.” These three points are critical to being successful in sales. So the next time you ask a question, where you feel uncomfortable because it was not the best question, do yourself a favor and stay silent to see what happens. You might be surprised with the answer given.