Have you ever talked yourself out of a sale

(and what should you have done differently?)

It is important to understand when to talk and when to stop. When we are being sold ‘to’ none of us likes to be with someone who talks constantly; it is irritating and it can make us feel resentful because it is taking up our time. This is especially true if we have already made our mind up to buy.

When you are the one doing the selling, you should also be aware that not every customer needs to know everything about your product or service – all they really need to know is whether it will solve their problem or meet their objective and how. Anything else is just clutter and can put the sale at risk.


1. Once the customer has confirmed they want to buy, then stop talking and deal with the practicalities In other words, sort out the payments, the order form, the invoice or whatever, and conclude the transaction.

2. Don’t try and fill the silence It is human nature to try and fill uncomfortable silences with words, especially if you are nervous. Resist the urge.

3. People buy from people they like and trust. If you start to become irritating through talking too much, they may still walk away because they can’t bear the thought of having to deal with you again.

4. Write it down. If you are prone to nervous chatter, write a checklist of things you can do to conclude the deal. That will keep you on the straight and narrow and stop you waffling.

5. When you are buying something, observe what other people do when they sell to you. Once the sale has been agreed, what do they do or say and is it something you could do too?

Case Study

Michael ran a photography business and believed passionately in what he did. He was versatile and could do portrait and architectural photography so had a good base of potential clients. However, because he was foremost an artist, he struggled with the business transaction side of his work, much preferring to discuss techniques, composition, lighting and colour.

When a potential client was interested in engaging him, he would talk passionately and with knowledge about what was required, taking trouble to understand the requirements of the project. Although he never seemed to directly ask for the work, he often got jobs because he was so clearly a good fit and because people loved his enthusiasm.

One day he did just this – he met a potential client, who liked him and the project was his!

Michael should have concluded the deal, shaken hands and arranged the start of the job right then. Instead, because he couldn’t quite believe his luck, Michael continued to talk about photographs, previous clients, his working techniques and anything he could think of. It was during this nervous chatter, that he revealed a previous job he had worked on. His new client was familiar with it (he was in the same industry) and it turned out that he didn’t think much of the final pictures. To make matters worse, he knew the person who had overseen the project and had heard from her that the photographer had been difficult to work with – rather too fussy and had taken a long time to set up the shots.

The new client quietly made his excuses and left. Michael never heard from him again.


This is an excerpt from my new book “Small Business Sales Dilemmas – 50 real life case studies to help you sell more”. it is available now on Amazon, both as paperback and Kindle version. Please check it out here

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