by Tina Cherpes, Featured Contributor
Behavior Therapy – #18
“OH MY GOSH, why didn’t you just ask me?” Doing her best to avoid eye contact with her sister Jenna bravely muttered, “Cause I thought you would-dah said no”.
Our fear of rejection isn’t limited to or reserved for our siblings, in fact, our fear of hearing “no” crosses over into nearly every aspect of our lives . And whether we choose it accept it or not, our fear of rejection routinely serves as a catalyst for our actions (or inactions).
In the sales arena, arguably the most important part of the selling process is the close. It’s how our performance and compensation are typically measured and when we learn to do it well, the close simply becomes a logical next step in our well-executed plan. Whether formally or informally, many of us have been exposed to the four-phase selling process. And while the process in and of itself is not complicated, there are plenty of opportunities along the way for us to blow it.
We could fail to properly identify our target market (prospecting error), fail to understand our client’s needs (assessment error), poorly align our product/service with our client’s needs (position error), or fail to realize when to stop talking and properly shift to the close (transition error). Yet even when we successfully navigate our way through the sales cycle and have earned the opportunity to close the sale, we often fail to reach our highest close ratios/potential because we simply fail to ask for the business.
In a study conducted with more than 5,000 purchasing agents (buyers), over 99% of the respondents suggested that most of the sales professionals who called on them, failed to ask for the order.
While the study leaves much to be interpreted, what’s abundantly clear is the lasting impression held by the buyers of the sales professionals they interacted with. Nearly every one of the 5000 respondents recollects their interactions with sales professionals in the same way; most of the time, we fail to ask for the order.
It’s true, if we don’t ask, we’re not likely to hear “no”. The trade-off however, is we won’t be told “yes” either. Bear in mind, the close is not an event, it’s a process and all phases of the sales process present opportunities to close. If we want to maximize our potential, we need to close early, often, and ask, ask, ask for the business.