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Ask and You Shall Receive

February 22, 2024
Ask and You Shall Receive

What is the single most important thing you can do in sales to be effective? Not the second-most important thing. I’ve been writing books on sales and training for over 20 years, and there are a lot of things that need to be done in order to become a top performer.

But the reality is there is one simple thing that you can do no matter how inexperienced you are, no matter how new you are to HVAC. I know a lot of sales guys who came from other industries, and they’re green when it comes to heating and air, but doing this one little thing can make a huge difference in terms of their sales performance.

And that little thing is to ask for the damn order.

In just about any career, you have to do the main verb required for success. If you’re a racecar driver, what’s the ONE thing you need to do? You need to GO! Heavyweight boxers need to… fight. Electricians need to… wire. Writers need to write. And so forth. And the ONE thing a salesperson needs to do is ask. Ask for the order.

If a salesperson doesn’t do that one verb, then we may as well call him something else, maybe a “talker” since he spends most of his time talking. But most people don’t get paid to go door-to-door to talk. That’s why the last part of the formula is absolutely necessary – asking.

There’s nothing that you can do in sales to make you successful more quickly than asking for the sale. Studies have shown that over 90% of all sales calls in our industry end without the service technician or the comfort advisor formally asking for the order. They may tiptoe around it like, “Hey, Mr. Homeowner, if you’re thinking you might want one of these, we could come back and install it next week.” And the homeowner says, “Well, let me call you back next Wednesday and see where we are.” You reply with, “Here’s my card. I’ll talk to you next week.” This, of course, isn’t true because that is almost always the homeowner’s quiet “No” to wanting your product. You got to get in the habit of asking directly for the business. Why?

Because the answer is always no until you ask.

So no matter what happens on the call, no matter how poorly you think it went, no matter what the situation is, when you get to the end, you have to make a specific request. “So, Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner, that seems like a good system. With your permission, can I start the paperwork?” Or “With your permission, can I get you an install date?” Or “Will you trust me with this installation?”

You have to make a specific request.

You invest a lot of time in a service or sales call, and until you sell something, you’re an unpaid consultant. You’re a brilliant conversationalist. And the company you work for is sinking every time you forget or refuse to ask. We get paid for what happens in the last four or five minutes of a call, and that is when the homeowner decides to buy from us or not.

But you have to ask because most customers (although they may actually need a new install or a repair) simply would rather not part with their money if given the choice. Especially if they’re in no hurry like they have a broken A/C unit when the weather is very mild.

In most cases, customers are looking to buy a newer or higher-quality, higher-efficiency system. But you have to ask for the order in all instances because if you don’t, you’re begging them to shop your prices, your products, etc., and that is not going to benefit you if you’re not the most affordable option in town.

So get in the habit of asking because success dictates you’ll need to ask, and usually more than once. Studies have shown that people typically have to be asked three times or more before they say yes.

So, how do you ask a couple of times without being pushy? Well, we just talked about the first way. So you look at some options, and you say, “Mr. Homeowner, that seems like a great option for you. With your permission, can I start the paperwork?”

That’s the first ask, right? They might say, “No, no, no, we need to think about it.” Then just change the subject and circle back to it later. Maybe let them know you noticed that motorcycle out in their garage. “How long have you been riding motorcycles?” Just get them talking about something else, and then later in the conversation, simply say, “By the way, Mr. Homeowner, do you feel like my company would do a great job on the installation?” They’re gonna say yes to that. “Well, great, let’s get the paperwork started.”

You just get them to answer yes to several of your questions. Studies report that this trains the brain to get into the habit of saying yes and can be responsible for a future yes to a more important question. “Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner, do you think my company would stand behind any warranties or guarantees that we have if there’s a problem after the install?” “Oh, I’m sure you would.” “Well, great, let’s get you an install date.”

You have to get into the habit of asking. Ask for the damn order.

By the way, the same is true for CSRs because they are asking the homeowner to schedule a service call or a sales call. As the CSR, you have to specifically ask for the order/appointment. You have to say, “Hey, let’s go ahead and get you set for Thursday at 2 p.m. How does that sound?”

Don’t let the entire value of the relationship that you built with your homeowner go to waste when the conversation fizzles out at the end. You have to be strong. You have to have a spine. You have to stand tall, and you have to ask for the order. I guarantee if you do that, you’ll see your numbers improve very quickly.