The Mindset Behind Asking For the SaleDecember 14, 2023
It blows my mind that sometimes salespeople will rationalize not asking for the order. They convince themselves that, “I’m probably going to get this one.” “And if I push too hard on this point, I’m going to screw up the opportunity. Because if I just stop pursuing the sale, they’re probably going to call me back tomorrow or next week, and I’m going to get this deal. But if all of a sudden they think I’m pushing, I’m going to screw it up.”
That is a total rationalization, almost the same rationale as convincing yourself that one more slice of pie won’t add to the calories you’ve eaten. That is letting yourself off the hook so that you don’t have to ask for the order. Listen, if you don’t close the deal, if you don’t close the business, then you’re just the brilliant conversationist, right? You are an unpaid consultant and a swell guy.
And as Zig Ziglar used to often say, “If you can’t close, you’re going to have skinny kids.”
The reality is, everything you do in the sales process to build up to that moment, to have that opportunity to earn the right to ask for the order, everything you do is just so that you can close the deal in the end. If you don’t even ask for the sale in the end, what did you just spend all that time and effort doing? I mean, think about it. How many times have we heard that sales is about earning trust and building relationships with our prospects? Well, when is the relationship and the trust going to be at its peak?
Is it going to be right now, at the end of the sales process? Or next week, if/when they call you back? By next week they’re going to have forgotten who you are. So you have to take advantage of the opportunity while that relationship is at its peak. Oftentimes, Yes is best in sales, but No is a perfectly acceptable answer. Don’t be afraid of getting a No, because if you get into the habit of asking, what you’ll find is that you’re not going to aggravate anybody, but you ARE going to get a lot of Yeses. And those will never hurt your sales career. What will destroy it is the “I don’t know” and “Let me call you back,” etc. You need to go in there, execute on your training, build a relationship, ask for the order, and let the chips fall what they may. They, as the buyer, aren’t offended by you asking for the order; they’re expecting it to happen sometime before you leave.
Imagine this scenario at a kitchen table, where you’ve spent quality time selling the homeowner on you and your company. Here is one example of how to ask for the sale when you’re not the cheapest in town:
Me: So, really, the only question I have to get this point is very simple. Will you trust me with the project?
Homeowner: Well, Wally, I think we trust you, but it will cost a bit more than we were expecting.
Me: Yeah, this system’s definitely more.
Homeowner: And we had another guy in that basically offered the same thing as you, and his was quite a bit cheaper; it was about $2,000 less.
Me: Really? Yeah. Well, earlier, we had talked about some of the reasons that contractors will cut corners on these installation components, to save time and money. You mentioned that your friend and your neighbor both had issues with a contractor who quoted the cheapest rates. Do you think there’s a possibility that those guys may cut some corners to save you some time and money to get the price down? It’s possible, yeah. It’s hard to know exactly. Did he share the installation components with you, or did he specify how he was going to get the price down?
Homeowner: No, he didn’t share any of this stuff with us.
Me: You know, $2,000 over the life of a heating and air conditioning system really works out to $2 a week. Does my company, the way we do our installs, the way we run our company, does it seem like our company might be worth $2 more? That’s less than a cup of coffee per week.
Homeowner: We’re definitely more comfortable with your company, absolutely. I really hadn’t thought about it like that, but…
Me: Great! With your permission, I’d like to wrap up the paperwork and let you get back to enjoying your evening.
The bottom line is you cannot rationalize and start thinking, well, if I push too hard, I’m going to make them angry. The truth is by asking a couple of times firmly, respectfully and directly for the order, all you’re doing is dramatically increasing the probability that they’re going to say Yes to you. But don’t be afraid if you get a No. If you’re afraid of getting a No, you’re going to leave a lot of business out there. You just need to form the habit of always asking for the order. Yes, even if your gut feeling tells you they’ve made up their mind.
Although it’s simple and obvious, I never cease to be amazed by the number of salespeople who hesitate to ask for the sale. It’s as if they are afraid to offend the prospect, who has indicated a desire for the product or service. My top clients pay me handsomely to go on sales calls with their sales team members. Time and again, I find myself needing to remind these sales pros to ask for the business. Ask 3 times. It is as easy as saying, “With your permission, shall I write up the order?” If that doesn’t work, circle back to it after a few minutes and then ask again, twice. Then you will have done your job.
Buying isn’t the prospect’s responsibility. Selling is ours.