Feb. 13, 2009 -- With Valentine's Day just around the corner, singles everywhere are looking for that special someone. But how many will end up staring at a phone that stubbornly refuses to ring?
Jess McCann has come out with a new book to make sure that doesn't happen to readers this year.
The book, called "You Lost Him at Hello," takes the skills McCann developed as a saleswoman and entrepeneur and applies them to the rocky road of romance.
From knowing the product (that's you) to attracting prospective customers (that's the lucky men you've yet to meet), McCann's book is all about closing the deal with the man of your dreams.
End at the Height of Impulse
When my friend Anne moved to San Francisco, she didn't know a soul. I admired her strength to pick up and move three thousand miles from home, but I also worried about how she would meet people and regain her social life. After only being out West a few months, she decided to join Match.com. It seemed like the best way to meet guys and get back on the social scene. She posted her profile and began receiving e-mails immediately. After sorting through a slew of messages, she decided to make a date with Patrick, a sous-chef from Los Angeles. He was tall, dark, and handsome with a seemingly good sense of humor. They decided to meet on a Friday night and get a couple drinks. Now remember, as I tell you this story, Anne and Patrick had never met before. In fact, they hadn't even spoken on the phone.
When Anne walked in and saw Patrick she was immediately pleased. He was exactly what his profile had stated—yummy! Patrick was excited to meet Anne, too. He thought she was gorgeous. The first encounter was a success. They got a few drinks and the night began.
After their third round, Patrick suggested they get some dinner. They left the bar and headed to a nice restaurant on the bay. Dinner was delicious and Anne and Patrick were engrossed in conversation for the next three hours. They decided to then go for a walk on the beach. Patrick picked up some champagne and glasses, and they headed out for a midnight picnic. By now Patrick and Anne had been drinking for hours and inhibitions were long gone. They started making out on the beach, and Anne eventually ended up at Patrick's, where they continued to make out until six in the morning.
The next day Anne was beaming. It was the perfect first date. She was extremely excited and even called to tell me about it. Just as she was in the middle of the story, her other line beeped. "It's him!" she squealed. "Let me call you right back." She clicked over and didn't call me back for two days.
Those two days she didn't call back she spent with Patrick. Basically their first date started Friday and didn't end until Sunday. The following week Patrick called and asked to see her again. She accepted, of course, and spent that entire weekend with him, too. At some point during their weekend slumber party, they consummated their relationship. Her rationale? She felt like she knew him after spending so much time with him, even if it was only in the span of two weeks. Things were going exactly the way she wanted. She was happy.
Then came the third week, which also became known as the final week. That's when things got rocky. I won't bore you with the mundane details but by week three the happy couple was no longer a couple, and Anne was calling me crying and cursing his name. I tried to console her, but eventually I had to tell her that she had done something terribly wrong. She spent way too much time with Patrick in the beginning of the relationship. If it was going so well, she should have pulled back a little more. She shouldn't have said yes every time he asked her out, and she should have cut the dates shorter. Every time she went out with Patrick they spent at least twelve hours together! It was relationship overkill.
Even though Patrick kept pursuing Anne and asking her out, she shouldn't have always accepted. Just because a guy asks you a question doesn't mean you are required to come back with an affirmative answer. It's perfectly fine to turn a guy down. "No" is not a dirty word in dating. It is vitally important not to overdo it by seeing each other too much in the first few weeks. Even if you are totally falling in love, in the very beginning you have to keep a guy wanting more. You do this by leaving him when things are at their most exciting. It's called Ending at the Height of Impulse. You want to end the date at the appropriate time so that the guy is still thinking about you when you're gone.
All Good Things Must Come to an End, Quickly
You've seen it before, and it always works. It's why soap operas end at the most exciting point of the show. It's why "Sex and the City" ended after only six short seasons. Why George Costanza exited every meeting after a great joke. You always want to leave on a high note. Similarly, you have to leave a man wanting more, and you can't do that if you never leave. You will have to restrain yourself from spending too much time with a guy in the very beginning.
I know this is hard to do. When you meet a guy you actually like, and you are feeling good about how things are going, the last thing you want to do is go home. But it truly is the only way to keep him coming back. I don't care if you found your soulmate and he's different from all the other guys. Don't let your heart confuse you. If you spend too much time with him right away, he can and will get burned out.
The Danger of Losing Impulse
When I was a brand new sales rep selling phone service, I walked into a lawyer's office in a small town in southern Virginia. I asked for the head attorney that made all the decisions for the office. I was surprised when they immediately took me back to see him.
His name was Sully. He was a great big man with a great big laugh. He shook my hand and told me to have a seat. He was more than willing to hear what I had to say. I was excited as I gave him my spiel. I knew this deal was in the bag from the buying signs he was giving me. Sully broke out the phone bill and we started going over it. He was impressed at how much money I could save him. He kept nodding his head yes and told me that the deal sounded great. Right there—that is the Height of Impulse. That is when I should have ended the conversation, pulled out the contract, and closed the deal.
But instead I kept talking. I was enjoying sitting there, building a relationship with him. We got off the subject a couple of times, talking mainly about his kids and his love of fishing. At one point, we even stepped out of the office so that Sully could get in a quick smoke. Eventually I glanced at the clock and realized I had been there for almost two-and-a-half hours. Usually these visits only took about forty-five minutes, tops. I couldn't waste anymore time. Just as I was about to break out my pen and have Sully put his signature on the deal, he looked at his watch.
"I have to run, Jessica. This deal sounds good, but I just need to think about it a little bit longer. Come back next month and see me. We'll talk then."
I was crushed. But it was my fault. Had I just closed him when he was at the Height of Impulse, I would have made the sale. But instead I just kept sitting there, talking, letting his impulse drop. When I finally tried to close him, he was no longer excited about the offer. He was just drained from talking for two hours.
If you want to turn a new relationship into a long-term one, you are going to have to make Ending at the Height of Impulse a religious practice. Until a guy tells me that he is crazy about me, and I get all the right buying signs from him, I will never spend more than a few hours with him. Doesn't matter how much I like him and how hard it is to leave him, I will do it. I will do it because I know it's the only way to get what I want.
It's so easy to get wrapped up in what you are doing when you are having a great time. But you have to be able to make the logical decisions we talked about earlier. If you really like a guy you are going to have to discipline yourself to leave him when he is the most excited about you.
After Anne got over Patrick, she got back on Match.com. She understood what she had done wrong and swore on a stack of Bibles she wouldn't do it again. Her next date was with Cyrus, a mortgage broker who had also moved out west from D.C. He and Anne planned to meet for coffee. Since it was their first meeting, I advised her to keep it short and simple, no matter how well it was going.
Two hours into the date Anne thought about her promise. But just as she was getting ready to thank Cyrus for a good time, he asked her if she wanted to get some dinner with him. She didn't want to say no, mostly because she was having such a good time, but also because she didn't want to be rude. What if she turned him down and he became discouraged? What if he never asked her out again? So instead of going home like she should have, she went out to dinner.
Three hours later Anne and Cyrus were drunk, half-naked, and back at his place. They fooled around until two in the morning. Anne didn't want to repeat the Patrick situation, so she sobered up and drove home instead of sleeping over. But by then, she had already sealed her fate. Cyrus saw her two more times and then never called again.
Keeping Your Promise
I know it's difficult to End at the Height of Impulse, so here's what I suggest. Before you go on a date, make a promise to yourself that you are not going to stay past a certain time. If it's a first date, say goodnight at ten or eleven. If you happen to be on an Internet date, I would limit yourself to only one hour, or two cups of coffee. It's always better to leave earlier than later, especially when you are just meeting someone for the first time. As the relationship progresses, keep setting time limits and make sure you do it before you get there and start having a good time.
Once, I was dating a high-profile attorney who was also labeled an eternal bachelor. He was a night owl and loved to stay out until the wee hours of the morning. On our third date he took me out to dinner and wanted to stop by a local hot spot where his friends were partying. I had already planned to leave him no later than midnight, so when the clock struck twelve, I told him I was catching a cab home. He, of course, was stunned to hear this. How could I leave in the middle of a party? He begged me not to go. He said he would have his driver take me home anytime I wanted. I told him I had to get up early and couldn't stay any later. With that, I turned and slipped out the back door.
I was having a great time, but I had a long-term goal. I wanted the bachelor to fall head over heels for me. And in order to do that I needed to make sure he kept wanting me even after I left. And he did. He never understood why I always left him around midnight. He started calling me Cinderella and asked if he bought me some really expensive Jimmy Choo's would I stay out longer? He called me constantly and even consulted my friends about our relationship. Of course the more he pressured, the less interested I became. But nonetheless, the technique worked, and he was smitten.
The Impulse Killer
Perhaps the easiest and most fatal trap to fall into is spending the night. You can't possibly End at the Height of Impulse if you spend the night with your date. Now, if he's your boyfriend who you have been seeing for several months, that's one thing. But even then, you still shouldn't spend every night at his place. Some of my friends spend the night with a guy after only two or three dates, and that is a total impulse killer.
When I was dating the trendy salon owner, I often had to remind myself to End at the Height of Impulse. He asked me over to his house to watch Entourage one night. It was only the third time we had ever hung out and he tried to get me to stay over. When I told him no and then actually left, he was floored . . . but in a good way. He called me later and told me that I was the only girl to ever decline an invitation to sleep over. So not only did I End at the Height of Impulse, I did something that made me different from all the other girls.
It is much too hard to resist the urge to sleep over if you haven't already made the promise to yourself that you are going home. Don't do what most girls do. They tell themselves they will make a decision later in the evening after seeing how they feel. The problem is that it always feels good! It never feels like you should go home. But that is exactly the point when you should put your shoes on and skedaddle.
It's vital to a salesperson's success to know when to close a customer. Close too late and they get bored and start to wish you would just leave. There is a reason the saying goes timing is everything and not timing is most things. Timing really is everything, and it is within your control. Even if he is singing your praises, you have to resist the urge to stay. If he is begging you not to leave, that just means you are doing the right thing. Don't deviate from the strategy! If you can discipline yourself to go when the going gets hot, you will see just how hot a guy gets going!