Why is that as sales professionals we will do everything short of asking for the business. We choose our prospects, we build relationships, we add value, we invest our hard earned time and money yet we don’t take that final step. All too often we don’t ask for the business.
Oh we have all kinds of excuses: “They know what I sell, if they needed my services they would ask,” or “When they are ready, I am sure they will turn to me,” or “They must not be interested, because they never brought it up.” Whatever the reason, fear of rejection or lack of knowhow, it doesn’t matter. If we don’t ask for the sale, there is a good chance we will never get the business.
Just last week, I was having lunch with a business friend of mine. I call her a friend, because although we met through business networking opportunities, I have come to think of her as a friend. We have a lot in common, I enjoy her company, and she has been great to send me leads and introduce me to people I need to know. The connection, for me, has been fantastic. Over lunch this time, I asked her what was new in her business and what she was working on. I discovered, through the course of our conversation, that her firm was spotlighting some financial services I found very interesting. I continued to ask questions, and even took some notes. She was a wealth of information, but never once did she ask me about my level of interest or how she and her firm could help me.
Now, I know what you are thinking, why didn’t I just ask her for help? Why didn’t I just ask her to review my information and set up an appointment? For the same reason your clients are not asking you. If you don’t believe enough in your products and services to ask prospects to buy them than why should we ask you to sell them to us?
Here is the catch 22. Prospects want to do business with professionals whom they believe are confident both in themselves and their services. Yes, you have to build trust and value with your prospects first in order to earn the right to ask for the business. However, once all of that is built, you neglect to ask for the business you’ll not only lose sale, you’ll lose the trust and respect of your prospect.
When we don’t ask our prospects for the business they wonder why. They assume we do not want them as a client, we’re not looking for new business, or we don’t care enough about their business to invest the time and effort. Research shows the top two reasons your customers don’t do more business with you: They don’t know what else you offer and you never asked.
Learning when and how to ask for the business is one of the keys to being a highly successful professional. Asking for the business at the right time and in the right way, is how we let our prospects and customers know we care about them, we believe we can help them, and that we are as interested in growing their business as much as we are in growing our own.