The reluctant salesperson
You’ve done it all – prospected, qualified, presented, handled objections, sent a proposal and maybe even asked for a referral. The only thing left to do is “close the sale.” Closing the sale is an important part of doing business but a critical part of staying in business. Unless you can close the sale, you’re like a baseball player who didn’t touch home plate or a golfer who only played 16 holes. You’re not done, you didn’t score, you didn’t finish what you started, you didn’t ask for the sale.
Welcome to the exciting and sometimes scary world of asking for the sale. For many people, it’s the hardest part of the sales process. There never seems to be problem telling your customer all the great value your product or service brings or telling them about the wonderful feedback you’ve received from satisfied customers. You’ve answered all their questions and accommodated every request. Now it’s time for the next step – to ask for the business and close the sale. But the reluctant salesperson who has trouble taking that final step in sealing the deal and closing the sale will lose the sale at that precise moment. If you can’t close the sale, why bother opening it.
The reluctant salesperson ends up limiting his or her success and choking off new business. If you can’t, don’t, or won’t ask for the business, you won’t have a business.
Asking for the sale is the most avoided question in sales, and it’s the most powerful. What’s the cause of this hesitation? Fear of rejection. Fear shows up in the darndest places. But fear is no excuse for not asking for the sale. Fear is among the top reasons many fail to close. You should never be afraid to ask for a customer’s business; after all, that’s why you’re there. Plus, they’re expecting that at some point in the sales process you’re going to ask for their business.
Many of the business owners I coach have recognized the costly consequences of being the reluctant salesperson. Together, we have implemented programs to help them immunize themselves and their sales teams against its deadly effects.
Learning the principles of closing and asking for the sale is important for any business owner. This is true whether sales is your primary business function or just one of many tasks you do, maybe even reluctantly.
Most businesses involve sales, but in many of those businesses the owner is wearing other hats. These business owners often focus on other tasks for the bulk of their day. The owner might be a web designer, landscaper, dentist or banker. Imagine a website designer who starts her own business and spends most of the day creating websites. While she might be a master at web design, she has not mastered selling her talent or skill. But in order to make any money, sales need to be made. So sales, while not her primary activity, are vital for the success of her business. If you don’t ask for the business, you will never get the business.
That’s it. It’s that simple. One of the biggest mistakes made in sales or business is not taking the initiative to close the sale. While even seasoned salespeople struggle with the reluctance issue from time to time, it is most noticeable in people who only make sales once in a while.
You can’t expect your potential customer to jump up and say, “I am ready to buy.” It’s up to you to push past the fear and ask for what you want. Remember, it’s not what you sell, it’s how you sell.