Often awkward to do, and after all of the work up to this point, ask the simple question "Can we work together?' or "Can you give me an order?'.
- As you're looking at me right now I would bet that for many of you there's one action item that scares you about a career in sales. It's just four simple words, but there's a mountain of stress from these words and every sales manager says them to a new salesperson like it's gospel and like it's so easy to do. My stomach, to this day, and even right now, still tightens when I hear the phrase, or I say to salespeople, ask for the business, or a phrase similar to it, close the sale. Now, I may be overdoing it a bit, but asking for the business scares people, or at the very least, unnerves them a bit because there's a good chance we could hear, I'm not ready to make a decision, I need more time, or, no.
Of course, we all tense up a bit at that prospect since no one wants to be rejected or to be told, after all the work they've done, that it just isn't enough, and then they hear the dreaded, no, thanks. However, you won't find out where you stand with a buyer unless you ask, and it really is just that simple. You just need to make sure you've covered your bases first, plan and prepare to the best of your ability, and have presented a strong product offering or service proposal. I have a series of three or four questions I always fall back on when I'm ready to ask for the business.
It all depends on the relationship I have with the buyer or the complexity of the situation. If you've done the work and the time is right you should feel confident in being able to ask questions like these, which are some of the examples of what I've used. I'd love for us to work on this project together. When can we get started? Is there something we're missing on specifications or requirements that's preventing us from moving forward? We've agreed on price, we've met all the requirements you've requested, and the timelines are right on track.
Can we now place the order? Anything I've missed? When can you give me approval so we can get started on our end? You need to come up with your own closing phrases, ones that you're comfortable with. Test them out and refine them. Your confidence and your offering and yourself is so important. However, I'd be lying to you if I said that you won't hear a lot of nos when you're in sales. It really is a part of the process. Buyers are under tough budget restraints, or they're concerned about making a decision, or there are competitors with strong offers, too.
You can't take it personally when you hear a no. It is a part of business and the sales process. Does that mean you give up? Of course not, you go back, ask more questions, refine your offering, if need be, and then when the time is right you go back and ask for the business again. I've had sales where everything has worked like a charm and the relationship was such where I was able to say, ready to order? However, I've had many times when I've heard no four times or more and had to go back and redo, and then ask again, and then, finally, getting the commitment from the buyer.
Remember, don't take it personally if you hear no, don't give up, be persistent, and keep asking for the business. That's what professional salespeople do.
- Gathering information
- Assessing needs
- Presenting and selling your product or service
- Delivering on your promises
- Following up with your customer
- Reporting and communicating back to your company
- Improving your process continually
- Learning from other sales processes
- Applying your sales process to other aspects of your life