The Best (And Worst) Time Of Day To Close A Sale

Just like you, your prospects make decisions all day on all kinds of things. Does this offer make good business sense? Where are we going for lunch? Should we go with the new company or stay with the one we currently use? Good decisions lead to good results. The opposite is true for bad decisions.

With all the decisions that your clients and prospects make each day, it's no surprise that decision fatigue can set in. Unlike physical fatigue, decision fatigue is when a lack of energy and focus leads to making poor decisions. As the day wears on, people aren't as effective at making difficult decisions.

Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, says this is why it's important to consider the time of day when you're asking for a decision. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight James' tips on how to time your asks.

Go for the "big asks" early in the morning. If the decision entails a significant commitment of time and effort on the part of the decision-maker to understand the decision, do your asking in the morning, ideally while your decision-maker is enjoying a fresh cup of coffee. To close a big B2B sale, you need all the stakeholders to publicly commit to support the project, so mornings are when people are most likely to be receptive to a decision that requires deep thought. If you attempt a big ask at the end of the day, these stakeholders will likely be too fatigued to clearly think through the situation. They may even be annoyed that you're pitching them so late in the day.

Make "small asks" in the late afternoon. If you're asking for something simple and straightforward that entails little commitment of the decision-maker's time and mental effort, James recommends asking late in the day. At this time, your clients and prospects are likely to agree simply to avoid having to think about it too much. For example, if you have negotiated a big sale and you're working with a customer on the contract details, the late afternoon is a great time to suggest an upgrade. This is a small ask relative to the entire sale, and chances are, your client will agree to your suggestion.

Over-correct when making late-in-the-day decisions. James encourages sales professionals to monitor their own decision-making to consciously overcome the tendency themselves. When an important decision comes up at the end of a long day of decision-making, take extra time and care to make that decision. Otherwise, he says you could end up making the easiest decision rather than the best decision, simply because you're tired.

Whether you're asking for something big or small, consider the advice above to time it right. And if you have a big decision to make, don't be afraid to sleep on it.

Source: Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, has authored a dozen books, hundreds of feature articles and thousands of online columns, mostly about business and technology.

filed under May 2019
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