Sometimes you should sell past the close

by on July 27, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Top Sales Dog

Conventional sales wisdom says you shouldn’t sell past the close. Once you have the buyer’s commitment, just say thank you and move on to logistics like delivery and payment terms.

However, a conversation I had with a talented sales manager named Scott Kaplan made me think otherwise. He explained that even after you’ve closed the sale, there’s often one more great big land mine sitting out there. And if you don’t defuse it, it could get your “closed” sale unclosed in a hurry.

After the customer has told you yes, there’s still one unfinished piece of business they have to take care of: saying goodbye to their present vendor. And if that vendor has any gumption at all, they’re going mount a last-ditch effort to save the business. They’ll apologize and promise to do better. They’ll sweeten the deal. They’ll remind the customer how difficult it will be to untangle all their business and move it over to you. They’ll pull out pictures of their starving children. They’ll do whatever they can to get the decision reversed.

And sometimes they’ll be successful — especially if they catch the buyer off balance. Not knowing what to say, the buyer might well decide to postpone the switch and give their current vendor one more chance to make things right.

Scott described the technique he uses — the Post Close — to protect himself from a competitor’s last-ditch effort. It’s simple and brilliant. In a nutshell, you rehearse the conversation with your buyer: “So, Ms. Buyer, I’m sure your current vendor will try to convince you to stay with them. They’ll probably offer discounts or other incentives. What are you going to tell them?”

This discussion achieves two things: It prompts the buyer to reiterate their commitment to you, out loud and in public. And that will make it far more difficult, psychologically, to back out later. In addition, it helps the buyer rehearse that difficult conversation, so they’re less likely to get thrown off track at the last minute.

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