Have You Got The Courage To Ask?
During the last 16 years I have worked with many great salespeople and they all do one thing more consistently than their colleagues … they ask. If you want to increase your sales and grow your business you need to develop the ability and skill to ask for a variety of things.
Ask more qualifying questions
I know you probably think you ask enough questions but I’ll challenge you on this because most of the sales people I encounter don’t ask nearly enough good qualifying questions. Most of the sales conversation I listen to start with one or two questions before the sales person launches into his or her pitch.
Ask better qualifying questions
Stop asking weak feeble questions and start asking tough penetrating ones. Questions that make your prospect or customer think. Questions that separate you from your competition. Questions that make you feel slightly uncomfortable…at first.
Ask for the decision maker
If the person you are speaking to is not the sole decision maker you must ask to be connected with the real decision maker. You can accomplish this without alienating your first contact person by saying, “My experience has taught me that everyone has a different perspective on this issue. To avoid confusion, I have found that a conversation with all the key stakeholders saves time for everyone involved. Can you arrange that?”
Ask for the meeting
If you’re making a prospecting call you need to ask for that meeting or appointment. You can’t expect the other person to jump out of their chair and exclaim, “We have to meet!” You need to take the initiative to make that happen.
Ask for an introduction
When you come across an ideal prospect through your network, reach out and ask someone who knows that contact to make an introduction.
Ask for the sale
Okay, this may sound like a no-brainer but far too many people in sales fail to ask for the business. A good friend of mine recently met with a new prospect and that individual expressed in attending a seminar my friend is hosting. However, my friend neglected to ask his prospect if he wanted to register directly with him instead of completing the process online. As I write this post, my friend’s contact hasn’t signed up for the seminar.
Ask for a referral
You do ask people for referrals, right? And you can clearly explain who your ideal customer can’t you? Do this consistently with every customer and prospect and you can quickly increase your business with less effort.
Ask for clarification
If you’re not sure what someone means or you’re confused, ask a clarifying question such as, “Can you clarify that for me?” or “Can you elaborate?”
Ask what concerns or obstacles might get in the way
Lots of deals stall out and die because the prospect has specific concerns. Concerns that were not addressed in the sales conversation. Don’t let this happen to you. Ask people what concerns they might have about moving forward or what might prevent the deal from closing. It’s better to find out early rather than later.
Ask why someone chose you
Many sales people don’t clearly understand their USP or what makes them different than the competition. When in doubt, ask your existing customers. It’s as simple as saying, “John, why did you choose us instead of…?”
Ask for help
We all encounter problems and challenges. Smart sales people aren’t afraid to ask for when they need it. You can ask a colleague, your boss, a customer and even a prospect for help.
Ask why a prospect chose a competitor
When you lose a deal to a competitor don’t just walk away with your tail between your legs. Muster up the courage to ask your prospect why you lost that deal.
In today’s competitive business climate you must get comfortable asking if you want to increase your sales, grow your business and make more money. The more you ask, the easier it gets. The easier it gets, the more you will ask for. And the more you ask for, the more you will get.