how to ask for the sale
Squeaky Wheels: Knowing How to Ask for a Sale
Most people are familiar with the phrase “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” As with any idiom, it is founded in an element of truth — so why is it that salespeople have been afraid to embrace this philosophy in recent years? Perhaps it is because a somewhat negative perception started to follow sales professionals — the used car salesmen stereotype — and as such, many salespeople have tried to distance themselves from it.
But this stigma is hardly fair. As the saying demonstrates, you can’t expect a sale if you don’t ask for one. It is true that modern sales has become less about hard selling and more about guiding customers through potential pain points. Technology plays a major part in the sales process, and sales teams often act more like personal valets, providing information and directing customers towards solutions. However, in-person communication remains sales’ top channel for connecting with customers, and closing the sale in-person is just as important as ever.
How You Ask Can Make all the Difference.
It’s a fine line for any salesperson to walk. Being too timid can make the lead feel as though you don’t have faith in the product or service. On the other hand, excessive assertiveness can sometimes come across as abrasive or forceful. This makes the way in which you ask just as important than the actual asking itself. To help you craft a better technique for asking for a sale, here are some examples that may help:
“Have I answered all of your questions?”
This is a good way to ease into the sale. By asking a question like this, it shows the customer that you are concerned that they have a satisfying experience and that you are there for them. It also leaves the door open for a segway into something that your company offers to solve their common pain points.
“Is there any reason why this wouldn’t work for you?”
This forces the customer to directly evaluate any remaining concerns, and gives you the chance to address them. It also helps the client to grasp the reality of the sale, turning it from a hypothetical situation into a reality
“Where can we begin in order to meet your schedule?”
Most clients will already have a deadline or goal in mind. Reminding them of the deadline not only creates a sense of urgency, but also shows them that you are mindful of their needs and can help them to reach a solution in time.
“Are there any other steps we need to take to approve this project?”
Instead of leading with an open-ended “are you going to buy?” treat it as an almost done deal, where almost everything is already in place — all you need is the go-ahead. A phrase like this allows you to identify any remaining roadblocks to the sale, while still presenting it as something that will happen. Framing it in this way helps put customers at ease, as they see the sale as in-progress, rather than up in the air.
“I think these two options could work for you. Which would prefer?”
This is a good way to simplify things for your client, narrowing things down to create a finite choice, but still providing them the flexibility. In this sort of situation, people will tend to stick to one of the options they have been given, rather than suggesting something else.
“If you sign, I can guarantee _______.”
This is a good way to put customers who are on the fence at ease. Sometimes all they are looking for is a final benefit to sway them, or a guarantee to assuage any remaining concerns they may have. With a statement like this, leads also feel protected, as they know that they can hold you accountable later — so make sure that it is something that you can back up.
“Can I send you the contract today?”
Sometimes being direct is the best way to get results. Additionally, this kind of a question sets a deadline on the sale that makes a customer less likely to back out.