When to Summarize?

With this new skill of summarizing, it is helpful to know when to use it. As you read this, put yourself in your most recent ineffective sales interaction…and by ineffective, I mean that you did not produce a sale or an appointment. Without defense or blame, let’s explore if any of these things happened and if a different outcome might have been achieved if you had summarized.

Did you or the customer get distracted, confused, or overwhelmed? It’s easy to do when there are a lot of details and things that seem important…without identifying priorities early on and staying focused on those. It will help the salesperson reel in the conversation and identify what matters most.

Did you need to clarify what was desired, what the problem was, what has already been tried, and what the problem was in the simplest form? Without clarity, it’s easy to go in several directions to try to corral the problem and raise a solution.

If and when either of these happens, stop the action. Breathe. And say, “Let’s recap where we are now.”

In addition to looking back at what might have been missing from a sale that didn’t close, let’s look forward to WHEN we can use summarizing to lock in what is in place now.

Before you make an appointment.
If you are making an appointment instead of closing the sale now, it’s likely because there is still something missing in the customer/client’s buying process…or else you would be asking for the sale, right? Given that, recap what HAS been decided so that all that remains is one or two things that need a decision…not everything! And you can repeat this in your confirming email and confirmation call if you are going to meet in person.

Before you ask for the sale.
It’s a ‘settling’ action. It reminds the client/customer and the salesperson that these are the criteria that were expressed and met. It eliminates confusion and second-guessing.

Now, go look for opportunities to summarize!



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