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Does Your Business Know When to Stop Selling?

Stop SellingEverywhere we turn these days, online and off, we're being sold. It's a din of sales messages.

For business owners, everywhere you look there's another course or Webinar or blog you should read that aims to teach you how to sell better. But after watching a preview copy of this week's upcoming Shark Tank episode, I wonder if entrepreneurs might do better to learn one overlooked skill: When to stop selling and close the deal.

On this Friday's episode, one of the entrepreneurs blows a chance to have Shark Mark Cuban invest in his business. (You'll have to tune in to see what type of business it is...I'm sworn to secrecy.) After hearing his pitch, Cuban offers the business owner $90,000 in return for a hefty equity stake in the enterprise. 

Investors don't get much more influential. But instead of jumping on the deal, the entrepreneur doesn't respond. Instead, he goes back to selling the other Sharks, no doubt hoping to get another offer that doesn't involve giving up so much ownership.

But there are no other takers. And I bet you can guess what happens with Cuban.

While most business owners aren't playing this level of high-stakes poker, I see blown sales every day. 

If your website doesn't have an easy way for customers to contact you, you're failing to close sales. They may love what they see, but frustration sets in when they can't find your phone number and poof, they're gone.

How often have you stood at a checkout counter practically waving your wallet in the air, but you can't get the checker to notice you? Sometimes when that happens, people walk out. No sale.

I once had a salesman come to my home because I was considering using their bathtub-installation products. He said he had a 30-minute presentation to make. I told him I had 15 minutes, and I wanted him to get it done in that long. He couldn't do it, and made me late for an appointment. No sale.

It pays to know when you've got a customer ready to buy, and to make the deal right then. Toss your proven system for selling and your 10-point feature plan you need to highlight, if you see that customer already gets it.

Sell a little longer, and you might end up with nothing. Let other prospects wait while you write up that contract, because this one is already in the bag.

How do you close the sale? Leave a comment and tell us your approach.

Carol Tice, a freelance writer, is chief executive of TiceWrites Inc. in Bainbridge Island, Wash. She blogs about freelance writing at Make a Living Writing. Email her at carol@caroltice.com.

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