“Oh, you’re a sales trainer,” he said after someone introduced us. “Always ask for the sale, right?”
Wrong. Dead wrong.
Over 30 years of selling, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been advised to “ask for the order”. Way too many. It is by far the worst advice you’ll ever get in sales.
If you have to ask for the order, you messed up a long time ago. You are already in a very bad position with a lot less leverage than should have. Asking for the order insinuates that part or all of the sale is a request from you, to a prospect, to commit funds to purchase something they might not need or need right now. Like they are doing you a favor. That’s not selling, that’s panhandling.
IF your client really has a need your solution fulfills, why would they need to be asked to buy?
IF your client sees real value in your solution, especially value that involves a superior return of the cost of said solution, why on earth would they not ask YOU if they can buy?
“Ask for the sale” is a misnomer. The advice is supposed to mean be aggressive, proactive and persistent in your sales efforts. I’m all for that, but not at the price of giving up all leverage and becoming a beggar.
If you correctly approach every prospect with the agenda of finding a fit for your solution, based on their needs, and NOT on “making a sale”, you’ll find yourself asking questions based on the identification of issue you can solve. If you accept the fact that not everyone needs your solution, and not everyone who needs it overall needs it right now, then you’ll find yourself qualifying, and more importantly, disqualifying prospects on need. That means that by the time you present, you are showing them a solution to pressing and painful issue they face.
In that situation, there are a limited number of outcomes.
1 – They don’t believe you can solve the problem, and they won’t buy.
2 – They believe you can solve the problem, and that your price is a worthwhile investment to handle the problem based on cost/urgency of the problem.
3 – They believe you can solve the problem, and that your price is NOT a worthwhile investment to handle the problem based on cost/urgency of the problem.
If it’s 2, you should be leveraged enough to SUGGEST the sale. Asking for it is a weak version of that. If it’s 1 or 3, asking for the order is asking the wrong question. Better questions are based on why they don’t believe you, or why they don’t believe the return on investment is there.
In prospecting, the winning strategy is to build your whole pitch on finding enough need to being able to suggest the appointment. In a sales meeting setting, the winning strategy is to build your whole conversation/presentation on finding enough need to be able to suggest they buy. Suggest, not ask.
If you don’t feel like you are in a position to be able to suggest the sale, then you have not asked the right questions. Go directly back to discovery and ask better questions. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, and certainly do not just “ask” them to buy.
There’s a huge difference between asking for something and suggesting it.