Richard Maun – ask

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Sales Skills #3 …Ask For It!

28 November 2010

Ask for the order, or for a princess' hand, and then you can have your own plate!

Ask for the order, or for a princess' hand, and then you can have your own plate!

Well now, we all have just under a month to go to Christmas and just under five months to go to the Royal Wedding…I know; not much time to get the bunting ready!!

Personally, I’m still chuckling at this week’s edition of Private Eye, which has launched the perfect commemorative offer; The Waity Katie Platey …when you wash it the picture fades to reveal Diana, in order to please Daily Mail readers. (She’s dead doncha know?)

Now what has Christmas and The Royal Nuptials got to do with sales skills, I hear you ask? …Fearful that this may become a pseudo Royal Hitching blog. Don’t worry though, it won’t.

The answer is that to get a sale you have to ask for the order. You don’t have to go down on one knee like HRH Lovestruck and disentangle your mum’s old ring from your shreddies at the bottom of your rucksack. (I suspect there is a psychologist somewhere preparing to write a thesis on that subject as we speak). But you do have to ask for the order / the bride’s hand / your preferred Christmas present.

If a client wants to hire your services it’s good form to say:

‘Can I have a purchase order number please?’

This cements the order in their head and then it becomes formalised once the paperwork kicks in. Until that moment of concretion, the order is just a possibility and as good business people it’s our job to turn it into a certainty.

Many years ago I worked as a General Manager and when one of my salesmen (they were all men) phoned up to tell me about some great new piece of business, I would always ask them if they had a confirmed order.

Several times my question was followed by silence on the telephone and then the words:

‘Well, um no…not confirmed exactly! But definitely in the bag!’

My reply was usually to point out the contradiction in those statements and to enquire if they had asked for order?

Asking can make us nervous, fearful of a no-thanks reply, but asking per se doesn’t increase the chances of failure. Indeed, in many cases, the act of asking shows commitment and seriousness and can shift a doubter to a positive ‘Yes please!’

If you want to marry your pretty princess, or handsome prince, you can ask them. If you’re still at the frog stage, you can ask for a kiss.

If you want a truly happy Christmas you can ask for the present that you really want…you can make your intentions overt to avoid annual guessing games.

And…if you’re out there looking for new business and a customer expresses a sincere interest you can ask for the order.

As Waity Katie and her magic Platey have discovered, it’s amazing what can happen when someone asks you something!

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Next Week

We will continue with the sales skill tips…if you run your own business this series is here to help!

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