Posted Friday, February 4, 2005
You’ve met a new prospect, accurately assessed their needs and determined that you can provide the product and service she is looking for. You’ve presented your information in an engaging manner and the prospective customer appears interested. Many salespeople now make one or two very fatal mistakes that cost them the sale.
1. They don’t ask for the sale.
2. They talk the customer out of the sale.
You may scoff and think these don’t happen. After all, how can salesperson or business owner NOT ask for the sale or talk the customer out it? Let’s first address the issue of asking for the sale.
My experience has taught me that the majority of salespeople fail to ask for the sale. Instead, they wait for the customer to say, “I’ll take it.” However, in many cases, the customer doesn’t say this. She may be thinking that the machine will enhance her operation and, hopefully, drive more revenue to the bottom line. She may see that you offer something your competitors do not. She may also want to act quickly and have the equipment delivered and installed in the next few days. But she may not tell you that.
This is your responsibility! If you’ve worked through the sales process and done everything properly up to that point then you’ve earned the right to ask for the sale. Remember, the prospect expects you to ask for the sale. You ask you get. The more you ask, the more you get. If you leave the prospect’s business without asking for the sale you run the risk that a more assertive competitor will present their equipment and service, ask for, and get the sale! Then your work, effort and energy have been for nothing. I’m not suggesting you will close every sale by asking but I will guarantee that you will generate more business by consistently asking people for their business.
In the last few months I have had at least three situations where I’ve been ready to buy a product or service but the salesperson failed to ask me. One of these involved membership in a networking group and during the meeting I announced I was ready to join if someone wanted to take my money. To my surprise, no one approached and signed me up. It’s little wonder this group is not experiencing growth in its membership.
Unfortunately, many salespeople are afraid of the rejection that comes with selling. By not asking for the sale, they avoid the possibility of the customer saying no. Other salespeople are concerned they will appear pushy and risk offending the prospect. Here are a few simple statements and questions you can use to move the sale forward:
“What are the next steps?”
“What do you think about what we’ve discussed so far?”
“What would be the best day to arrange delivery and set-up?”
“Is there any reason we shouldn’t get started on the paperwork?”
The next biggest mistake salespeople make once they do ask for the sale is to talk the customer out if making the decision. A few years ago, I was considering an activity for one of my training sessions. After listening to the salesman’s presentation and seeing the product I told him I wanted one. He proceeded to say, “If you want some time to think about it, that’s okay, there’s no rush.” I again told him I wanted to purchase the activity and he responded by saying that many of his customers like to consider the purchase before making a final decision. Finally, I reached across the desk and took the activity out of his hands and said, “I’ll take this one. Here’s my card, send me a bill.” I couldn’t help but wonder how many sales opportunities this business owner missed.
If you want to increase your sales, IMMEDIATELY, remain silent once you ask for the sale. Here’s why this simple technique is so powerful.
In every sales situation, the customer or prospect has a mental checklist of conditions that must be met before they will be prepared to make a purchasing decision. Remaining silent allows them time to mentally tick off each item on that list. Talking interrupts this process and does not give the customer time to review what, if any, conditions remain unfulfilled. The longer a customer takes during this process the greater the likelihood they will make the purchase. Yet, most salespeople get so nervous during this period of silence they end up blurting out something like, “Have you been offered a better deal by someone else?”
Don’t give the customer a possible objection! Ask for the sale and remain silent until they respond, regardless how long it takes. I recall reading a story about a salesperson whose prospect took almost two minutes to say yes after being asked to make a decision. By remaining silent she closed the sale. Avoid the risk of talking your customer out of the sale by keeping quiet after you ask for the sale.
If you’re serious about building your business get serious about asking for the sale and develop the discipline to stay silent afterwards.
You are welcome to reprint or use this article providing you include the following information.
Copyright 2004, Kelley Robertson
About the Author
Kelley Robertson, President of the Robertson Training Group, works with businesses to help them increase their sales and motivate their employees. He is also the author of “Stop, Ask & Listen – Proven sales techniques to turn browsers into buyers.” Visit his website at (www.RobertsonTrainingGroup.com) and receive a FREE copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” by subscribing to his 59-Second Tip, a free weekly e-zine.