Older prospects, in particular, often say: “I’m not signing anything tonight.” I then review the value of what I’m selling and the added features, and I try to close again, but the response is the same. Any suggestions? —Roscoe Shorey, People’s Choice Contracting, Vancouver, Wash.


This is a common buying tactic among “seasoned citizens” as well as many multicultural customers. If you’re accustomed to the one-sit close, you’ll need to adjust your practices for these groups.

Both lack trust in salespeople, but for different reasons. Older buyers read about seniors being ripped off by contractors and telemarketers. Immigrant buyers, especially, may not be familiar with U.S. construction techniques, contracts, or financing.

Neither group responds well to what they perceive as high-pressure sales tactics. You must build trust, which takes more than one visit. The more knowledgeable they are, the more they will trust you.

Both groups are likely to offer you refreshments, which you should accept. Spend your first visit educating them about your products, the job, and how you earn your money. Speak respectfully about your competitors to provide a basis for comparison.

You can try to close these sales at the end of the first visit, but usually the best you can hope for is to make an appointment to answer more questions and build more trust. Don’t think that multiple visits reduce your effectiveness. In fact, when you serve these customers well, they will give you endless referrals, and people who are referred have a built-in level of trust and are more likely to buy on the first visit.

Referrals also reduce your marketing costs, so in the long run, seniors and multicultural clients can be a very efficient client base. —Michael Lee consults in selling to the multicultural market. Have a sales challenge for Michael? Send a description to