Shut up and Take the Money

March 12, 2007
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While shopping one of the big box home store discounters for a client, I watched a perfect example of overselling.

A woman standing by the store’s bathroom sink display asked the salesperson, “Does this sink come in rose color?” Immediately the salesperson replied, “It comes in rose. It comes in white. It comes in green, red, blue, almond, black, brown, gold ...”

He proceeded to name at least another dozen colors. He then, without taking a breath, opened a book and began to read to her how the finish was applied and why it would never mar or discolor. This all took less than a minute and a half.

The women said thank you, turned and left. As she passed me I said to her, “Why didn’t you buy that sink?” She replied, “He would not shut up and sell it to me.”


Are you overselling? Are you listening for the customers’ closing statements? A closing statement is anything the customer says that is positive about your product, service, business, or you.

I first learned to shut up and take the money when my father taught me to sell tires. In the early 1970s, Michelin tire company introduced the radial tire to the consumer market. It cost four times as much as a nonradial tire, with a starting price around $150 each.

Even though the cost was extremely high, my father sold well over half of his customers Michelin tires. I know sometimes the tires were worth more than the cars we put them on. He did it by listening for the customer’s closing statements. When he told them, “This tire will last 40,000 miles, over twice as long as a non-Michelin radial tire, and give you a much smoother ride.” They would say, “I like that.”

My father then shut up and wrote up the sale. He taught me to listen for closing statements like, “That will work,” “My wife will like that,” and “I like that.”

Some closing statements are questions: Can you deliver it today? What is the guarantee? Can you put them on the car right away? Do you have financing? Do you take credit cards? (Of course, you answer them as you are writing up the sale.)

Make sure you listen for closing statements with your eyes. Watch the customer’s facial expressions. You will know when they are pleased by something you say.


Another approach is to get the product in the customer’s hands. As soon as the customers take the product I am handing them, I start writing up the sale. Possession becomes ownership. Writing up the sale transfers ownership.

Sometimes the closing statement is, “Your price is higher than the competition’s.”

Yes, that is a closing statement. They are telling you they like your product and/or service. They want to buy it. You have simply not given them the right information to let them justify spending their money. You have not proved to them that buying from you is worth more than buying from the competition.

All you have to do is use the “Higher Price Agreement Close.” Here is how it works.

They say, “Your price is higher than the competition’s.” You do not get defensive. They can sense your fear. You simply nod yes and say, “I understand how you feel, and yes it is a few dollars more. That is the same way other customers felt before they realized when you purchase your (name the product -service) you also get ____.” (Here is where you name three things you give the customer the competition doesn’t.)

Example: I was always the highest-priced dealer. One of the television lines I sold was GE. Everyone and their brother sold GE televisions. It was the easiest product for the customer to compare shop.

Every time I heard, “Your price is higher than everyone else’s,” I immediately started writing up the sale while saying, “I understand how you feel, and, yes, we do charge a few dollars more. That is the same way other customers felt before they realized when you purchase your new color television from us, you get 7 days-a-week service, not 5; we give you a free, extended warranty; and we guarantee you the top trade-in value, in writing, for your television five years from now, whether it is working or not.”

Then I shut up and waited for the customer to say something. The first one who talks loses.


Stop thinking you have to tell the customer everything about your product and/or service. You don’t.

All you have to do is inform them enough for them to think your product and/or service will help them solve their problem, need, or want. And when they think it, they usually make a closing statement.

Shut up and take the money.

Publication date: 03/12/2007

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