Asking for the Sale
DID I ASK YOU?
The world belongs to the askers. Brian Tracy
"I'm going to read aloud the names on your customer account list and then I'm going to ask you some questions about each one.
"Sure," I said. I was in the office of my manager, Bill Smith. He'd hired me from a competitor, given me an outside sales position and expected immediate results. I'd been with the company three months without much to show for it and Bill was getting a little impatient for me to perform. Here, the heart-to-heart talk we were having to shed some light on my lackluster performance.
"Okay," Bill continued. "Here we go. American Industries. How much do you think they spend a month for electrical supplies?"
"Uh. Well … probably about $ 5000.00."
"You sold them $ 379.00 last month."
He looked at me and I looked at the floor.
"About $ 7500.00"
"Mm-hmm. You sold them $ 489.00 Next we have Barton Construction."
"Well, they're pretty big. They probably buy around $ 20,000 a month."
"You sold them $ 1122.00. Congratulations. It seems to be the only account in which you've broken $ 1000.00."
"That was not a compliment."
"Right. Well, I see your point."
"How about Conroe Inc.?"
"I know what you're driving at." I wanted him to stop!
"Do you? Mike, are you even calling on these people?"
"Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Every week."
"And what do you talk about?"
"Oh, you know. Sales stuff."
"Sales stuff, huh. And do you ever ask them for an order?"
"Well, yeah. Sure, I do. I think so. I mean, do not they know that's why I'm there?"
Bill held up my account list and look it. "Appropriately not!"
He paused to let that sink in, and then he said something that has placed more dollars in my pocket than any other single piece of advice.
"Mike, you have to ask for the order!"
That conversation with Bill Smith took place over twenty years ago, but I've never forgotten it or the impact it made on my sales performance. I know that some of you reading this will be saying, "Well, duh! Any fool knows that!"
But, traveling with other reps, I've seen too many make the same mistake I was making over twenty years ago. And, just as I did, they think they are asking for the order. But, they're not. Instead, they are saying things like:
"Thanks for the business."
"Well, call us if you need anything,"
Or, even worse,
"You do not need anything today, do you?"
And that's not the same thing as asking for the order.
Only asking is asking.
Asking for the order clearly places in the customer's mind the idea that you are there for business and that your life depends on that business.
TURNAROUND TIP: Practice asking. Go into a convenience store and ask directions. If you really want to be brave and risky, ask for directions to the convenience store you're in. This will help you deal with the fear of people laughing at you when you ask for something.
Every day make a conscious effort to ask for something that you are unaccustomed to asking for. Ask for help unloading the car, ask for help with a job, ask for help moving. (But, if you ask that last one too many times, you may lose some friends).
Just ask! Remember, the world belongs to the askers!