The art of the “no-close” sale

A gentleman walked into my store and after I introduced myself we chatted about the weather and several other things for a good 10 minutes. Finally he said that he needed a bracelet for his wife but hoped he would have a better experience he had at a store down the street. That made me curious as I knew all 7 of my competitors and they were all nice, well qualified professionals. So I asked him what the problem was.

He told me the salesman at the other store was very friendly and quite knowledgeable. He did every part of the sales process perfectly. He pointed to a 3ct bezel set bracelet in my case and said that he was ready to buy an identical bracelet from my competitor and even had his credit card in hand. When I asked him why he didn’t buy it he said, “The salesman never closed me.”

He went on to say that he was an independent sales trainer specializing in automobile sales. Not one to pass an opportunity to learn from a pro, I got him into a discussion about selling. He believed in classic selling techniques and his mantra was the good old ABC…Always Be Closing. He would drill his students on closing phrases until they came without thought. In the car business if you don’t close, you don’t eat.


I excused myself for a moment as one of my sales team needed me. After answering her question, I asked her to quietly take that 3ct bracelet back to the bench for a quick clean and polish and then start gift wrapping it. I went back to continue our conversation. We had a great time swapping stories about difficult customers other experiences we both had on the sales floor.

Finally he said that he had a lot to do and needed to get going. I told him, “Just give me your credit card and we’ll get you on your way with that bracelet.” Without hesitation he gave me the plastic. As I wrote up the receipt he gave me a strange look and asked, “What just happened here? You never once showed me the bracelet and never made a closing statement. Why am I buying this from you?” I explained that the other store already pre-sold him on the same item so I knew he was going to buy it. I just assumed the sale was a done deal and had it wrapped to go.

He looked at me for a while and finally said, “Damn, that was slick! I learned something new today.” I just smiled and said, “Now, what about a nice pair of matching earrings to go with that bracelet?”

Although this occurred before most Millennials were born, it is a relevant concept today. Millennials don’t like pushy salesmen and constant closing turns them away. Instead they want to get to know you and become friends. The more you let them talk, the more they feel they know you. And every word they utter is a clue that tells you what they want and how they wish to be treated. Once you have engaged them as a person they will look to you for guidance. Then all that is left is to assume the sale and start the paperwork.

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