Do you have the courage to ask?

Too many salespeople don’t ask for the things they need or that could help them increase their sales and grow their business. Here are a few situations that sales (and business) people need to be prepared to ask.

1. Ask for help.First and foremost, if you need help it is essential that you ask. Ask the top sales person in your company for ideas, advice and feedback. Ask your boss for coaching or direction. Ask people in your network for insights and suggestions to improve your results.

2. Ask for the appointment.Too many people beat around the bush and don’t ask a new prospect for an appointment. When you ask, it can result in more meetings, which will lead to more sales. If you want to ask in a non-aggressive way, simply say “Does it make sense for us to meet?”

3. Ask more high-value questions.After 15 years of training sales people, I have found that the majority simply don’t ask enough high-value questions. High-value questions force your prospects or customers to think and will give you insight to their current situation, problems and desired outcomes. It sounds simple but many people feel uncomfortable asking these types of questions because they fear their prospect will be offended.

4. Ask for clarification.When someone says something that is vague or unspecific, ask, “Can you elaborate on that?” or “Tell me more,” or “What do you mean by that?”

5. Ask for commitment.When a prospect or customer says, “Call me next week,” follow up with precise questions that result in a commitment. Ask “What day should I call?” If they say, “Anytime is fine,” ask “Does next Tuesday work?” Then ask what time is the best to connect with them. If they respond with, “Anytime is good” ask, “Is 10:15 a good time?”Once they agree to a specific day and time, ask them to place that call in their calendar and follow up by sending them an Outlook (or other time management system) appointment.

6. Ask for the sale.Many deals have been lost simply because the salesperson did not want to ask for the sale. After every sales presentation, sales call or meeting, make sure you ask for the sale. It’s as simple as asking, “May I have your business?”

7. Ask for a referral.Whether you get the deal or not, you should ask your prospects if they would be willing to refer you to someone in their network. It helps when you can clearly describe your ideal client.

8. Ask for a testimonial.When you have completed your work with clients, ask them for testimonials. Video testimonials work best followed by audio recordings. At the very least, get written endorsements of your work.

9. Ask why a prospect does not want to do business with you.If someone does not choose you as their vendor politely say, “I’m always looking to improve. May I ask what influenced your decision”

10. Ask what concerns they have.Most salespeople I have worked with hesitate to ask this because they don’t want to know if their prospects have any concerns. However, my perspective is that you need to know upfront if there is an issue so an unexpected objection doesn’t derail your efforts.

11. Ask who else may be involved in the decision.You can easily phrase this by asking, “Who else will you need to discuss this with?” or “Who else do you consult with on decisions of this nature?” When they tell you, ask, “Can we set up a day/time to collectively talk about this?”

Summon up the courage and start asking. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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