Home > Closing > After You Ask for the Sale, Do You Shut Up?

After You Ask for the Sale, Do You Shut Up?

Most salespeople have heard the rule about closing a sale: after you ask a closing question, you shut up and be quiet until the prospect answers or raises an objection, or whatever. The fact is, this technique works.

If you have followed this advice...

What's the longest period of time that you've been silent after you asked for an order while you were waiting for the prospect to respond? - by Skip Anderson
Rarely do I ask for a sale - the people I meet with have already indicated they want what I sell BUT I understand the question, Skip, and it's one of the most important considerations as you and I know.

The questions I ask along the way toward closure are questions I need answers for - spelling out the details and conditions of mutual satisfaction. I've never timed how long I've remained silent but I remain silent when I've asked a question until the other person speaks - rare exceptions only.

When I've asked: so do you want to get started? those times the question if fitting I wait as long as it takes for an answer.

MitchM - by MitchM
Most salespeople have heard the rule about closing a sale: after you ask a closing question, you shut up and be quiet until the prospect answers or raises an objection, or whatever. The fact is, this technique works.

If you have followed this advice...

What's the longest period of time that you've been silent after you asked for an order while you were waiting for the prospect to respond?
There's a big twist to this Skip (you may find Tom Hopkin's How to Master The Art of Selling interesting reading on this point). - by Wonderboy
There's a big twist to this Skip (you may find Tom Hopkin's How to Master The Art of Selling interesting reading on this point).
Care to share the big twist, Wonderboy? - by Skip Anderson
Care to share the big twist, Wonderboy?
Stay tuned. - by Wonderboy
Longest time I had to shut up after asking for sale on first pencil was 48 minutes. My manager was even walking back and forth in front of office trying to figure out what was taking so long. I am white in a hispanic dominated area. Most customers do not know I speak spanish. I asked for the sale and the husband was quiet for about 30 seconds then began talking to the wife in spanish. He was trying to sale her on the idea and she was bringing up objections. I just listened to it all and was mentally taking notes. Finally when the husband directed the wifes concerns to me, (as his own ofcourse) I had already figured out what to tell them, and I re-emphazised the points the husband had pointed out while adding hitting on some other key issues the wife was worried about. They closed on first pencil. :) - by jrboyd
I do, but I'm afraid I do it wrong. I'll bring the proposal to the customer(s) and show them the different payment options and ask, "Now, which option works best for you?"
Then I shut up. - by wesbound
Wait your in car sales right? How do they do your first pencil.. They shouldn't be giving you options on first pencil. Its all on the set up of the presentation.
Once you get them to test drive the vehicle you sit them down at desk and tell them:
"Let me check availability of this vehicle."
Then go to the manager get the first pencil. When you come back
you say:
"GREAT NEWS!! The vehicle is still available! While my manager was checking availability for the vehicle, he put together some numbers based using the short term equity program.
Now selling price of the vehicle is thirty six five forty nine. Minus three THOUSAND in rebates total price of the vehicle comes to thirty three five forty nine.
Fair market Value of your trade is five THOUSAND with the tax savings of four HUNDRED and fifty one dollars, your total trade in value comes to five THOUSAND four HUNDRED and fifty one dollars.
With an initial investment of seven (*note this is seven thousand but you never want to use thousands or hundreds when talking about money the customer will pay)
You are looking at payments of Six fifty to six sixty on a SHORT term of 48 months.
Sign here. (put pen on paper, slide paper to customer, sit back and shut-up)

Dont give them options on first pencil.. you will lose to much gross - by jrboyd
Five and a half years. I waited five and a half years for my sister to call me and ask if our products would help with her hot flashes and being tired all the time and other mid life changes. I said, "Marilyn, they will but you will first have to beg your big brother for them to get them." Of course she begged.

For the past eight years she's been a consistent user now with her husband and children.

It was worth the wait. I'd be silent for a few months then in a conversation on the phone tell her a story and drop it. Sometimes I'd be silent about it for a year.

I'm a patient man. When you combine the urgency of making every day your best with absolute patience you have power - you become power itself in action.

MitchM - by MitchM
Five and a half years. I waited five and a half years for my sister to call me and ask if our products would help with her hot flashes and being tired all the time and other mid life changes. I said, "Marilyn, they will but you will first have to beg your big brother for them to get them." Of course she begged.

For the past eight years she's been a consistent user now with her husband and children.

It was worth the wait. I'd be silent for a few months then in a conversation on the phone tell her a story and drop it. Sometimes I'd be silent about it for a year.

I'm a patient man. When you combine the urgency of making every day your best with absolute patience you have power - you become power itself in action.

MitchM
Five and a half years is a long time between pencils.

Anyway--to answer Skip's question. Yes, I DO shut up. How long have I waited? In an actual eyeball to eyeball scenario, I think the longest was about 6 minutes. But in those scenarios, I have NEVER broken the silence.

The platitude continues "...the first one that talks LOSES."

I don't accept that "losing" part. But the momentum will go astray in most cases, and you are burdened with having to bring it back on track. Yes-the sale could get away in some cases. - by Ace Coldiron
Yes sir, I am in auto sales...But, how did you know? Are you a mindreader? HA!

The way we do the first pencil is (we don't do the checking on availability thing) I go to the desk and come back with the proposal form that outlines the price, the taxes, doc fees, etc and what their payment would be at 48 months, 60 months, and 72. I might have different numbers with different down payments as well, so, when I say options, what I'm asking is, do they want 48, 60, or 72 months (I feel it gives them the illusion of picking their payments, i.e. having some control). - by wesbound
Waiting for her answer, I doodled myself into a yearly sales volume of a million dollars which is a fairly huge feat in my business.

The rule-of-thumb is to shut-up and wait for an answer if you ask anyone a question otherwise you're rude interrupting thought when you asked a question. I don't remember ever waiting more than a minute before something was said - so there were silences between multiple quesitons - it still works that way.

I don't accept that platitude either - I look down from a lofty place condescendingly on those silly platitudes, Ace.

OK - I know there is a seed of truth sometimes of great magnitude in every platitude, BUT they must be viewed with extreme caution lest one becomes a speech maker of the most tribe balming kind.

The best to all.

MitchM - by MitchM
I don't accept that platitude either - I look down from a lofty place condescendingly on those silly platitudes, Ace.
But I DO accept it, Mitch. It was I who mentioned the second part of the famous quote, "The first one etc,"

I don't think it necessarily loses to speak first, but it is poor selling. I think the principle that Skip mentioned is solid. - by Ace Coldiron
Skip's principle is solid - you don't ask questions then interrupt the thought/decision making process.

OK Ace, I gotta read slower - I missed your point. BUT I do not accept platitudes without taking them apart as I continue to purge my thinking of them unless I can define them, see how they effect my decision making, and keep me in charge of them not visa versa.

Which is a challenge.

Robert Frost has a great essay on language being metaphor.

All that's an aside but maybe not besides the point.

Good luck everyone.

MitchM - by MitchM
They grid you on first pencil? Thats dumb. You will never hold gross that way. You should always use the 10% down for 48 months on first pencil while holding back atleast 1 grand on trade. This will automatically make the customer bump themselves. Every customer wants to do zero down. You show them 7000 down on first pencil you are more likely to get 3-5 thousand commitment from them. They all want payments of 300 a month. You show them 600 a month and they begin to think well I could do 350 and maybe even 400 a month. You need to explain to them when they only put 3 thousand down instead of the 7000 down that as down payment goes down monthly payments go up. Don't go into terms of financing yet (ie 36, 48, 60, 66, 72). We never show them payment grid until around 3rd pencil, after we have gotten commitment. - by jrboyd
Five and a half years is a long time between pencils.

Anyway--to answer Skip's question. Yes, I DO shut up. How long have I waited? In an actual eyeball to eyeball scenario, I think the longest was about 6 minutes. But in those scenarios, I have NEVER broken the silence.

The platitude continues "...the first one that talks LOSES."

I don't accept that "losing" part. But the momentum will go astray in most cases, and you are burdened with having to bring it back on track. Yes-the sale could get away in some cases.
I sell homeowners the replacement of plumbing systems, furnaces, etc. for $5,000 to $30,000. I shut up and remain silent when I am positive I made every detail as clear as possible and it would be a waste of time to say one more word. For 99% of my sales, the customer agrees to close without asking for the sale, but some people just won't bite the bullet. I've got them real close and more talking would imply that I am using pressure. The customer and I probably stare at each other, in silence, for about 1 minute. It seems like an hour. The longest silence was probably 2 to 3 minutes. After you sit through one of my presentations a silence is very refreshing. I will break the silence when the customer's body language tells me he is not processing the information I told him. - by pcplumber
I sell homeowners the replacement of plumbing systems, furnaces, etc. for $5,000 to $30,000. I shut up and remain silent when I am positive I made every detail as clear as possible and it would be a waste of time to say one more word. For 99% of my sales, the customer agrees to close without asking for the sale, but some people just won't bite the bullet. I've got them real close and more talking would imply that I am using pressure. The customer and I probably stare at each other, in silence, for about 1 minute. It seems like an hour. The longest silence was probably 2 to 3 minutes. After you sit through one of my presentations a silence is very refreshing. I will break the silence when the customer's body language tells me he is not processing the information I told him.
Excellent and instructive post. I recognize it as an example of very real world experiences. - by Ace Coldiron
I do practice the silent close. Mostly I use it in combination with other closes and questions. The time period varies. I am in B2C sales,clients do not stay quiet long when they are invovled.
The longest time probably was about 15 minutes. The point by the client he did not need our services. I simply stated Mr Client would you agree that it is not that you have not needed serv ices but you have not wanted our services in the past? I pushed my prsentation over to him and clicked my pen as I handed my pen to him. He smiled and laughed . He re read my presentation close paper and he laughed out loud and said yes you are right .

Normally silence is relatively short as I give them a owning suggesstiion prior to asking for the close. some of these are but not limited to.
would you agree you deserve the best
quality is rarely cheap and cheap is seldom quality
Would you agree it is better to spend more then you thought than less then you should
Does this sound good to you?
Lets make this a thing of the past authorize this and we can get started right away. - by rich34232
I do practice the silent close. Mostly I use it in combination with other closes and questions. The time period varies. I am in B2C sales,clients do not stay quiet long when they are invovled.
The longest time probably was about 15 minutes. The point by the client he did not need our services. I simply stated Mr Client would you agree that it is not that you have not needed serv ices but you have not wanted our services in the past? I pushed my prsentation over to him and clicked my pen as I handed my pen to him. He smiled and laughed . He re read my presentation close paper and he laughed out loud and said yes you are right .

Normally silence is relatively short as I give them a owning suggesstiion prior to asking for the close. some of these are but not limited to.
would you agree you deserve the best
quality is rarely cheap and cheap is seldom quality
Would you agree it is better to spend more then you thought than less then you should
Does this sound good to you?
Lets make this a thing of the past authorize this and we can get started right away.
This sounds very good! - by pcplumber
The clock was right behind the buyers desk, I happened to glance at it when I asked, so I know. It was 5 minutes approximately 30 seconds when he picked up the pen and started writing the check!

You could have cut the tension in the room with a knife.

The odd thing about it is; he never left my gaze the whole time. And somehow I knew if I dropped his I would not get the order. Don't ask me how I knew but that is sellign isn't it? It is about sensing people as much as it is about what you say.

As I sat there I thought about the great J. Douglas Edwards tape on closing - the story where the President who had sat in on a session for his sales group and heard SHUT UP screamed at them to make them remember then decided to test the theory. As the story goes, that poor sales rep waited 20 minutes!

I somehow doubt the he had to lock the eyes of the buyer throughout Like I did. Still, twenty minutes is an eternity. - by Gold Calling
I am a ask questions and shut-up and listen kind of sales person but, there have been times when I have asked for the sale and the client still needs some clarification on a point or two. However, if the client is quiet so am I. If I interrupt his train of thought I have talked my way out of the sale. - by MPrince
"It is about sensing people as much as it is about what you say."


I believe this is the mosty important part of the process. Knowing your client what they will do and will not do. When we know our client what we say comes naturally.Often times we forget this and hurry the presentation and receive what you came for but leave additional dollars on the table . - by rich34232
Based on car sales experience, the reason the "who talk first loses" comes into play is real simple. Whoever sets the first number, is at disadvantage, in most cases (unless you are using the split in middle close).The customer says he wants 300 dollar payments, you will come back ok so 300 to 350? Customer says yeah. And if we had to really stretch you could do 375 right? Probably yeah. You have bumped the customer from 300-375 pretty easy and then if you show them a payment of 400 then its alot easier to bump from 375 to 400. Now if you were to set first number at 400, its pretty easy for customer to bump you down than it is to bump him up from 300.

*Split in middle close* This close works great when you are off on numbers.
"Mr. Customer I know you want to be at 300 and I am at 400 currently. How about we split the difference? (Customer) ok. (Salesperson) Ok so since your at 300 and I at 400 lets split it and say 375. (Customer) Wait 350 is the middle. (Salesperson) Ok so 350, and if you had to stretch you think you could go 10 more dollars to 360?"

Again Soft bumps on custmer to maintain most gross - by jrboyd
jrboyd,
so, how do you even get them to that place when they're asking "What's the price, what's your best price, give me your best price" over and over and over? - by wesbound
"Mr. Customer, I do understand price is very important to you, as it is me when I make a big purchase. Now when you talk about price, are you looking at paying this all in cash, or are you on a budget like the rest of us, and will be making monthly payments? (90% say monthly payments). Perfect! So what payment range are you looking for, because honestly I can show you whatever it is for the price, but if you aren't happy with the monthly payments you wouldn't be buying the car right?"

You can use this on price or on trade works well either way. - by jrboyd
John,
You have a sick closing ratio, don't you? Remind me never to step foot on your lot, otherwise I'll be leaving in a new car, which I'll inevitably have paid sticker for. - by wesbound
My closing ratio is great, just sometimes hard to get bank to buy the paper. Face to face I close probably get 3 of the 4 people I see submitted to finance. Unfortunately not all get bought by bank :( - by jrboyd
My closing ratio is great, just sometimes hard to get bank to buy the paper. Face to face I close probably get 3 of the 4 people I see submitted to finance. Unfortunately not all get bought by bank :(
thank god my credit sucks. i can fall into your web and still not buy a car.... - by wesbound
Your credit has to REALLY suck, bcs during customer interview I already am able to get a general idea on what type of financial situation they are in and know what type of vehicle to land them on. People with bad credit 90% of the time tell you up front in interview without u having to ask - by jrboyd
That's true, we do let it be known up front. As to the question asked, I do shut up, as I said, when I ask for the business, and I've heard the saying, "whoever speaks first loses." I don't quite get it, though, because, usually when they speak, they're bringing up objections like, "what's the interest rate?" or they immediately say that some other dealership (always a different brand) can do X dollars better, etc. - by wesbound
Customer: "XYZ dealership is giving me $3000 more for my trade."
Saleperson: "Wow! Thats a great deal there. Just wondering, what kept you from buying at XYZ dealership?"

90% of the time the customer will say:

Customer: "Well I didnt like the monthly payments."
Salesperson: "Oh ok, so what type of monthly payments were you looking for? So what your saying is the most important thing for you is the payments right? And if I can get you close to those payments is there any reason we can't do business today?" - by jrboyd
What do you say when they begin to question the interest rate? - by wesbound
"I understand intrest rate is important to you Mr. Customer, as it is important to me when making a big purchase. At the moment I don't have your exact intrest rate because we still have to have it submitted to the bank. I would hate to guess on what it is because if I guess to high than I will probably scare you off and if I guess to low and it turns out to be higher, you will be upset. I'll make a deal with you though. Before you sign my Finance Manager will go offer the interest rate with you, and if your not happy with the interest rate, by all means, we don't expect you to sign. You can go to your bank and we will fax them the purchase order so you can see if they can give you a better rate."


Interest rate isn't really a true objection most of the time. The interest rate you as a saleperson has no control over. It's kinda like a customer saying "I want a lower sales tax." We don't control the sales tax just like we dont control the Interest rate. And regardless where they go the interest rate will be the same because their credit score is the same. - by jrboyd
I do not know about anyone else with cars I deal from the bottom up instead of top down.I go in tel them I want the best deal possible and watch them give me an outragious price I then tel them what i want to pay.

They leave the room come back with another idiotic price and I get up and walk. They run after me asking me what I thought and I must not have purchase any cars lately.Nope not at all. I have 3 kids my wife and myself only 5 cars in the past three years.

Normally they call me back in a few days and I get the price I want and need. When I look for cars it is a want not a need if it happens it does if not oh well.

I realize not all car buyers have that luxury and need a car and those are the ones who are in trouble. - by rich34232
I do not know about anyone else with cars I deal from the bottom up instead of top down.I go in tel them I want the best deal possible and watch them give me an outragious price I then tel them what i want to pay.

They leave the room come back with another idiotic price and I get up and walk. They run after me asking me what I thought and I must not have purchase any cars lately.Nope not at all. I have 3 kids my wife and myself only 5 cars in the past three years.

Normally they call me back in a few days and I get the price I want and need. When I look for cars it is a want not a need if it happens it does if not oh well.

I realize not all car buyers have that luxury and need a car and those are the ones who are in trouble.
You are talking about general car sales. My dealership has strayed away from that. If you go to walk from us, my manager comes out and thanks you for your time and tells you to call if there's anything we can do to help you out further. Goes back to the part where he who talks first loses. I will call you to thank you for letting us try to earn your business and to let us know what we can do to help you out. Generally you will be one calling back and then you will have usually bumped yourself. We don't believe in pressure sales and it works great for our dealership. We have consistantly been in top 6% of all Chevy dealerships for past 8 years in a town with about 500,000 people. - by jrboyd
I do not know about anyone else with cars I deal from the bottom up instead of top down.I go in tel them I want the best deal possible and watch them give me an outragious price I then tel them what i want to pay.

They leave the room come back with another idiotic price and I get up and walk. They run after me asking me what I thought and I must not have purchase any cars lately.Nope not at all. I have 3 kids my wife and myself only 5 cars in the past three years.

Normally they call me back in a few days and I get the price I want and need. When I look for cars it is a want not a need if it happens it does if not oh well.

I realize not all car buyers have that luxury and need a car and those are the ones who are in trouble.
And how do you define a good deal? Let me ask you, I just sold a car today where the markup is $913. That's it! MSRP is $17,565.00, our invoice is $16,652.00. So, let's assume it's the right car for you, you like the car, how it handles, color, equipment, etc. You tell me, what's a good deal for this car? - by wesbound
A good deal is all how it is presented. To be honest the happiest customers I've sold are the ones that I have made the most comission off of. Sold the Corvette ZR-1. Thats a 118 thousand dollar corvette. It has a $14000 dollar mark up. At 30% commision I made about $4200 dollars. The customer was ESTATIC about her car. She loved it and currently came back to me to purchase 4 more Malibu's for her Home-health care agency + has sent me 3 referrals.

Also sold a Suburban, that we gave away at $100 over NET NET. The customer wanted everything thrown in for free, wanted this and wanted that. We did everything to help him out, and then some yet when it came down to the Customer Satisfaction Survey, we got horrible marks, saying that we werent intrested in helping the customer and they were unhappy with the deal etc...

So a good deal is based on the customer and how it is presented. And trust me when you know you going to make ALOT of money off the customer, you are happier and that happiness rubs off on them. - by jrboyd
Now wes, did you get the D.I.S.C. personailty profiles I sent you and the different styles to use with each. Going to use as an example rich but dont take it wrong way. Honestly we run into alot of people like that in car sales.

From what I've read from the posts and since you are in sales, its pretty safe to say your a high D personality (Dominant) with the I personality (Influencing) second. Trick to dealing with a High D personality here wes is let them think they are in control. You are going to run into ALOT of people with that personality. So don't try to align with them to much because they are going to see you as being full of Cr**. What you want to do is quick an effective transitions and don't keep them waiting. Again let them think they are in control. Dont get nervous with that type of personality though because its just a person. Now Rich said something that you will hear alot from customers with a high D. The part about "I've bought 5 cars in the last 3 years". Again a high D will say something to that effect. Or may say "This is the 15th new car I have bought!"
It's an intimidation factor used by consumers but I want u to remember one thing. He may have bought 5 cars in the last 3 years, but You've sold 5 cars in the last week. Again a high D wants the illuision of control. So give it to them, just dont be so ready to give away everything and the kitchen sink to sell them.

Ofcourse a customer will come with an outrageously low first offer. And ofcourse the dealership will come with an outragously high offer. When in a buying situation people will think an object is worth alot less than if they were put in the same situation and trying to sell it. It's all an illusion. Stay in control and follow the process.

Yes they may tell me that they bought 3 cars Last year so they know all the tricks. Little do they know that I sold 117 cars last year. Who really has the advantage? Of course it may not work with rich because he is in sales but 90% of the others it will - by jrboyd
"It is about sensing people as much as it is about what you say."


I believe this is the mosty important part of the process. Knowing your client what they will do and will not do. When we know our client what we say comes naturally.Often times we forget this and hurry the presentation and receive what you came for but leave additional dollars on the table .
I totally agree with with this. It is all about being patient and listening to your client. If you slow the process down; allow the client to talk and really listen to what he is saying he will tell you what it will take to close the sale. People love to talk about themselves but for it to work you have to REALLY LISTEN.

MP - by MPrince
I am sorry my fingers did not go as fast as my head. Jr KNows his clients and that is why he can do what he does.When you have successfully built a relationship you have an understanding of what your client wants to do and will do - by rich34232
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