How To End A Sales Call And Leave A Lasting Impression

As a salesperson it is always up to you to take the initiative to end the sales call. But saying goodbye to your conversational partner remains a delicate affair. You never get a second chance to make a last impression. There is a huge difference between closing the sale and closing the sales call. So ask yourself, when is the right time to say goodbye and what’s the best way to do it?

First of all I recommend you to stick to one of my guiding principles: the goal of the contact is not the deal or the order, it’s the customer. The deal or order is merely an expression of the good relationship and fruitful collaboration between the customer and your company. The main objective is to build a lasting, profitable relationship between both parties. No need to say the first step is to leave a good impression. Here is how to do it, whether you got the order or not (yet).

You got the order

One piece of advice: don’t leave right away. I know you have tons of other clients to visit, but  courtesy demands that you keep the conversation going for a while. The topic of the conversation is not really important, just make sure there’s no awkward silences as these can create tension and distrust.

So what can you do?

First of all thank the customer for the business. When customers buy, their decision is for a major part based on emotions. Right after they want to see this decision justified with logic, so give them a little help. Do this in an easy, relaxed, confident way and seal with a handshake.

Mr. Jameson, you made the right choice. I’m convinced that the lawn mower will be very comfortable and will save you a lot of time.

After you have thanked the customer and confirmed their decision, stay a bit longer. Not to talk business, but to discuss hobbies, interests, sports, current affairs,… whatever. Show some interest and treat the customer as a person, or even a friend, instead of only a client. This will increase mutual respect and appreciation.

You didn’t get the order (yet)

If you didn’t get the order, make sure at least the following elements are clear to you:

  • Which elements of your offering does the customer appreciate most?
  • Which elements have already convinced them?
  • What keeps them from saying yes to your offer?

The response to this last question will give you the opportunity to identify the main objection and pick up the thread of your argumentation again.

Also try to disarm your conversational partner, as he or she is in a state of tension. Remember that you’re currently not on the same wavelength. While you are 100% positive about your offer, the customer’s attitude towards your product or service is still rather negative since they’re not convinced yet. This negative attitude creates some sort of tension that hinders communication. By ‘disarming’ the customer, you try to get them out of this tense, negative state of mind so that they are prepared to fully communicate with you again.

The following three techniques can help you to disarm the customer.

1. Neutralize the conversation

By neutralizing the conversation we simply mean you should change the conversation to a neutral topic, preferably one the customer is passionate about e.g. hobby, sports, vacation, family,… This technique takes the conversation away from business and allows the customer to relax. The perfect time to get down to business again!

2. Blame yourself

It’s no use trying to force or push things. Instead just blame yourself in a humorous way and never lose your smile. If you get a ‘no’ from a customer you could, for example, make an apologizing gesture and say “Still I’m convinced, Mr. Daniels, that this offering will open up amazing opportunities to you and your business. I must be a worthless salesperson and have dealt with this completely the wrong way if I didn’t manage to convince you of the amazing value of our offering to your company.”

3. Do the Columbo

If you don’t know Columbo, he’s a fictional homicide detective from an old crime fiction TV series of the same name. Not only is he great at asking the right questions to get the suspect talking, he is also famous for getting them off-guard and then coming back with a sentence like “oh, just one more thing”. This is a very powerful technique that can get you a lot of valuable information. Key is to make it seem truly spontaneous and unrehearsed. It’s just an afterthought really. You finish the conversation, pack your things, talk a bit afterwards and then in the doorway come back to business once more with a final question. Because the conversation is already over, the prospect is relaxed and caught off-guard. Either you will learn valuable information about their objections to buying from you or, who knows, you may even still get the order after reentering the office.

After all, a first impression matters most but a last impression stays forever.


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2 Responses to “How To End A Sales Call And Leave A Lasting Impression”

  • Sophie A. on April 26, 2011

    That Columbo thing, is that something you made up yourself? I remember watching the series when I was younger. Love Peter Falk, great charisma.

  • Wim on April 30, 2011

    Hi Sophie,

    I didn’t invent that Columbo tactic to be honest. It’s been around in sales training for quite some time. Learned it during a seminar a couple of years ago. Can be very effective if you do it right. You should give it a try!

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