by Kelley Robertson, www.fearless-selling.ca
In the seventeen-plus years I have been working with sales people and helping them increase their sales, I have noticed that many of them fail to ask for the sale. In my sales training workshops, people express a variety of reasons why they don’t ask for the sale.
Here are 7 of the most common reasons why sales people don’t ask for the sale and what you can do about it.
1. Fear of rejection
This is by far the most common reason why people don’t ask for the business. I don’t know many people actually enjoy being rejected and sales people are no different.
However, it is critical to realize that a ‘no’ is not a personal slam against you. It simply means that you prospect or customer does not need or want your product, service or solution. It doesn’t mean they dislike you as a person-unless of course, you were pushy, rude or arrogant.
2.They don’t know how
Some people, especially individuals who are relatively new to sales, simply don’t know how to ask. I remember my first sales call more than 20 years ago.
I had gone through my presentation and my prospect appeared interested; however, I didn’t know what to say so we sat there in silence for a few moments until I finally blurted out, “So, would you like to go with it then?” She said, “Sure.”
The key is to develop a variety of questions that you are comfortable asking.
3. Don’t know when
The timing can be critical. Some sales people don’t know exactly when to ask a prospect for their business so they wait-often waiting too long, and thus, missing the opportunity. Although you don’t want to ask too early, you can’t afford to wait too long either.
An approach that can work is to build it into your sales presentation. Take the guesswork out of the equation and figure out the best place to position the “close.” I generally position it after we have discussed my proposal or solution and addressed any questions my prospect may have.
I usually say something like, “What other questions or concerns do you have?” If they say, “None” I reply with, “Should we book a date for the training now?”
4. Afraid of being perceived as being pushy
Unless you use manipulative sales tactics, aggressive closing lines, or the wrong tone of voice, people will seldom think you are being pushy when you ask them to make a buying decision.
The key here is to ensure that you done an effective job at identifying a potential problem, presenting your solution in terms that make sense to your prospect, and addressed any potential concerns they may have.
If you achieve that goal, you have earned the right to ask for the sale.
5. They don’t like being asked for their business
People in my sales training workshops have said, “I don’t like it when someone asks me for the sale so I won’t do that to other people.”
I respect that position. I also believe that we need to eliminate our personal biases. However, I know that this is easier said than done. The key is to identify the personal biases you have related to sales and selling and figure out a way to get past them.
My personal bias is that I abhor aggressive sales people. However, I have learned that you don’t need to be aggressive in order to ask for the sale.
6. Afraid of objections
Objections are a natural part of the sales process and the best way to deal with them is to anticipate them and address them in your sales presentation or proposal.
It is also important to realize that when someone expresses a real objection, it actually demonstrates an interest to buy. It is much better to hear an objection than to walk away from a potential with no idea of why your prospect didn’t buy.
7. It feels awkward or uncomfortable
I will be the first to admit that it DOES feel uncomfortable taking this step-at least at first. But that’s just like anything else you attempt for the first time.
The key is to create a variety of lines, phrases, statements and questions that you are comfortable using and then practicing them until they flow smoothly and comfortably from your brain to your mouth. Don’t dismiss this simplicity of this idea.
Verbal rehearsal and practice is one of the most effective ways to remove any discomfort from a new sales approach, question or response.
I believe that it was Wayne Gretzky who said, “You will always miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take” and this applies to sales, too.
In today’s highly competitive world you need to be proactive in asking for the sale. Otherwise, a competitor who is more assertive will capture the business you deserve.