You need to ask for the sale

There are plenty of tactics and tools you can deploy to get someone to commit to working with you, but the simplest way is to ask for the business.

That doesn’t mean the equivalent of holding someone at gunpoint and shouting ‘Give me your money,’ in their face.

That might work in the moment but is very unlikely to result in repeat business.

It could be in the form of a traditional assumptive close saying something like, ‘Shall I send you over the contract?’

Or it might be, ‘I’d love to work with you on this. Do you want to go ahead with the work we’ve discussed?’

Or it might be, ‘What do you need to be able to go ahead?’

Communication is so important when it comes to effective sales, and asking directly brings real clarity for both parties.

Most people won’t do this because it feels scary.

The thing we’re scared of is being told no but that’s literally the worst that could happen.

Unless you really did use the gun, then things might get a little hairy…

As scary as it might seem, a no is better than a maybe because it moves us from wish land to reality. 

We tell ourselves that we’ve got twenty grand in the pipeline for next quarter so all will be well.

But the truth is until the clients sign on the dotted line, that income is not guaranteed, yet often we’re guilty of banking it in our head. 

That’s why it’s vital that you build in a follow up stage to your sales process, checking in with clients you’ve sent proposals to (we’ll talk about sending proposals another day!) and asking for the sale. 

Knowledge is power and once you know, you’re much better equipped to make decisions about what comes next. A follow up email, call, or even a LinkedIn message can be the catalyst that brings you that knowledge.  

If everyone says yes and you convert the twenty grand in your pipeline you can have the afternoon off and go buy yourself a book to celebrate. 

If everyone says no you return to your list of tried and tested sales actions to generate more leads.

If you’re stuck with a maybe telling yourself all your prospects will convert to clients by themselves, you’ll do neither of those things because you’re stuck in wish land. 

That’s why a no is better than a maybe, and the only way to get it is to follow up. 

Do you follow up with people or wait patiently hoping that they’ll get back to you?

by Sarah-Jane Dale

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