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Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for the Sale By Kelley Robertson

In the 17-plus years I have been working with salespeople and helping them increase their sales, I have noticed that many of them fail to ask for the sale. In my sales training workshops, people express a variety of reasons why they don’t ask for the sale.

Here are seven of the most common reasons why they don’t ask for the sale and how to get over them.

1. They Fear Rejection

This is by far the most common reason why people don’t ask for the business. I don’t know many people who enjoy being rejected, and salespeople are no different.
It is important to understand that a “no” is not a slam against you personally. It simply means your prospect or customer does not need or want your service. It doesn’t mean they dislike you as a person—unless, of course, you were pushy, rude, or arrogant.

2. They Don’t Know How to Ask for the Sale

Some people, especially individuals who are relatively new to sales, simply don’t know how to ask for the sale. I remember my first sales call more than 20 years ago.

I had gone through my presentation, and my prospect appeared interested. But I didn’t know what to say after, so we sat there in silence for a few moments until I finally blurted out, “So, would you like to go with it then?” She said, “Sure.”
The key is to develop a variety of questions that you are comfortable asking.

3. They Don’t Know When to Ask for the Sale

Some salespeople don’t know when to ask a prospect for their business, so they wait—often waiting too long, and thus miss the opportunity. You don’t want to ask too early, but you can’t afford to wait too long either.

One way to handle this is to build it into your sales presentation. Take the guesswork out of the equation and figure out the best place to position the “close.” I generally position it after we have discussed my proposal or solution and addressed any questions my prospect may have.

I usually say something like, “What other questions or concerns do you have?” If they say they don’t have any, I reply with, “Should we book a date for the training now?”

4. They Are Afraid of Being Perceived as Pushy

Unless you use manipulative sales tactics, aggressive closing lines, or the wrong tone of voice, people will seldom think you are being pushy when you ask them to make a buying decision.

The key is to make sure you have done an effective job identifying a potential problem, presenting your solution in terms that make sense to your prospect, and addressing any potential concerns they may have. If you achieve that goal, you have earned the right to ask for the sale.

5. They Don’t Like Being Asked for their Business

People in my sales training workshops have said, “I don’t like it when someone asks me for the sale, so I won’t do that to other people.”
I respect that position, but I think we need to eliminate our personal biases. The key is to identify the personal biases you have related to sales and selling and figure out how to get past them.

My personal bias is that I abhor aggressive sales people. But I have learned you don’t need to be aggressive to ask for the sale.

6. They Are Afraid of Objections

Objections are a natural part of the sales process. The best way to deal with them is to anticipate them and address them in your sales presentation or proposal.

It is also important to realize that when someone expresses a real objection, it demonstrates an interest to buy. It is much better to hear an objection than to walk away from a potential buyer and have no idea why they didn’t buy.

7. It Feels Awkward or Uncomfortable

I will be the first to admit that it does feel uncomfortable asking for the sale—at least at first. But that’s just like anything you attempt for the first time.

The key is to create a variety of lines, phrases, statements, and questions that you are comfortable using. Then practice them until they flow smoothly and comfortably from your mouth. Don’t dismiss the simplicity of this idea. Verbal rehearsal and practice is one of the most effective ways to remove any discomfort from a new sales approach, question, or response.

Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” That applies to sales, too.

In today’s highly competitive world, you need to be proactive in asking for the sale. Otherwise, a more assertive competitor will capture the business you deserve.
Kelley Robertson, sales trainer & author of The Secrets of Power Selling helps sales professionals close more sales with less effort. Kelley conducts workshops and speaks regularly at sales meetings and conferences. Visit him at www.Fearless-Selling.ca.