This Can't Be True…
We identify prospects and we work tirelessly through the 7-Steps to Selling Success. We create a brilliant strategy to help the client grow her business based on research and great information gathered in our customer needs analysis. We put all the pieces of the puzzle together in a beautiful and compelling story and present it to the client.
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
And then it happens… or it doesn't. We don’t ask for the order!
According to recent research by the Sales Board, 63% of sales professionals selling anything fail to ask for a commitment when they make a presentation. In short, over half don't ask for the order! That can't be possible, can it? There are several reasons sales professionals stop short of asking for the order:
Fear of rejection
Fear of making the client angry
Lack of belief in what they are selling
Discomfort with the financial terms
The client took control of the meeting and the next steps
The fear and uncertainty can be countered by a strong belief in the product, the strategy and the potential benefit to the client. If you don"t have that belief, you shouldn't be presenting in the first place. In our experience, it's more about the awkward pause or uncomfortable silence that comes after a presentation and a resistance to appearing "pushy”" more than it is fear or lack of belief. We simply don't know what to do once the presentation is finished, and we don't want to push.
What you believe about selling and closing will drive your behavior. If you believe closing is something you do with the buyer, you will act differently than if you believe closing is something the buyer wants as much as you do. As is often the case with sales concepts, we need to reframe our view of closing. In Robert Bly’s book, Zero Pressure Selling, he offers seven new ways to think about closing:
Offer reasons to buy now
Help the person solve problems
Narrow the choices
Start the business relationship
Ask for the sale
Take "no" for an answer
As a professional highly trained salesperson, it is your job to reduce the tension, reduce the fear of manipulation and reduce the anxiety on the part of your prospect. It's also our job to ask for the order, which according to the research we just shared, over half of us don’t. Here are a few suggested questions that you could try at the end of your presentation. Bly refers to these as "Zero Pressure Closing:"
What would you like me to do next?
What would be best for you as far as our next step?
May I prepare the paperwork so we can get started?
May I start the process of producing your commercials?
After a presentation, it's rare for a client to say, "Let's do it." Asking questions that keep the prospect in control of the situation gives them the comfort and the zero pressure they need to move forward – but we have to ask something.
If you have some favorite questions after a presentation, we'd love to hear them. You can email them to Jeff.Scmidt@rsb.com.
There is no guarantee you will close every deal you ask for. There is a guarantee that you won’t close the deals you don't ask for.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.