How do you ask for business?
This is one question a friend of mine asked last time I posted on this blog. I took it that it meant how do you close the deal ? How do you get the order from the customer?
I do not want to be naïve and say that asking for business is the pinnacle of selling. It might look like it is, but its not. Sales has cycles. There can be four or more depending on how you see it. The four basic cycles of selling are prospecting, interviewing, presenting and closing the sale. I always add two more cycles in my sales training namely customer care and asking for referrals.
If sales is consisting of cycles, usually the closing is not rushed and chances of success improve dramatically.
One way of losing a sale is to show so much desperation that no one is willing to offer you any business. Desperation raises alarm bells and usually customers run a mile away from desperate sales people. Desperation most customers have found out is repulsive.
The best way of looking at asking for business in a sales situation is to compare it to marriage. No one is in a hurry to marry strangers. Customers are not in a hurry to give a sales order to people they don’t know. Do people marry people they don’t like? Customers won’t give business to people they don’t like. Customers don’t like to be sold but they like to buy.
To compare to the marriage analogy, how do people ask for marriage? It depends right! The easiest analogy I always give is no one marries strangers, no one marries people they don’t like? No one marries people they don’t trust? Right ! Not always but for the purposes of understanding how to ask for business let’s keep the analogy.
What precedes a man asking a lady for a hand in marriage? In a traditional society, normally a man would introduce himself to a lady, maybe ask her out for a movie or dinner date or lunch or whatever date. Get to know the lady through some questions shared or asked. Builds up the trust through talking and finding common interests. A few years later after countless dates only then will the man pop the question, the ultimate question. Will you marry me?
But all along the man had the idea of marriage from day one probably. The lady doesn’t say I thought you would never ask since you didn’t ask on the first day.
Selling like in marriage analogy is not imposing yourself to the customer. Its first making sure you are compatible or a perfect fit. If you do not take time to learn and understand the needs of your customer, you are not selling, you are imposing your product or services on others. You might win sometimes but never the season or the league just a few games. Sales is the whole season not a play off.
Sales is relationships. Sales is presenting solutions to your customers that they can be happy with, to give you referrals the last cycle of sales. When your sales has been successful your customers are hooked on you. They become your raving fans like Dan Kennedy says. They become your product or excited evangelists for your business. This emphasizes that sales does not end with an order, but continue to customer care and referrals.
Brian Tracy says, before you can close, the customer has to demonstrate a desire to enjoy the benefits of your product or service.
So to answer my friend how do you ask for business? Establish the need. Build trust. Compare your product service to the need. Is it a perfect solution? If it is, present the solution to the need.
All in all there are 24 well known sales closing techniques which I hope to write about some other day. I hope I answered my friend. So go on and ask for the business.
Written by Aubrey Mavhuli
Chief Copywriter Supervaluecopy
Would you like me to speak on sales, copy writing or marketing in your organisation? Call me on +27 733250405