Most sales professionals do a great job of uncovering their customers’ needs and then presenting solutions to their customers’ top business issues. It can be done very effectively using both interpersonal and functional sales skills, but if sales professionals don’t ask for the business, chances are they will not get the business.
Extensive research conducted by the Harvard Business Review states that 75% of customers will not buy unless the sales professional asks. Here’s the scary part: the study also indicates 50% of sales professionals will not ask!
The secret to asking for the business is to adapt our closing to the buyer orientation of the customer. We are all more comfortable using one close over another, but it is to our strategic advantage to change our close based on what each customer needs in order to take action. Consider these options in asking for the business:
- Direct Close – Ends with a question mark (Can we get started today?)
- Indirect Close – Ends in a period (I’d like to get started today.)
- Benefit Close – Restates the customer’s need (When can we start decreasing energy by 25%?)
- Choice Close – Give them choices (Would you like to start deployment Wednesday or Thursday?)
- Guidance Close – Sales professional walks them along (I suggest we bring in a team to evaluate…)
- Next Steps Close – Is a last resort if the business cannot be finished today (What are our next steps?)
No sales professional wants to waste his/her time with fruitless efforts nailing down a customer’s biggest business issue, doing the research to bring the right products, services and solutions to the table, and then not get the business simply because he/she didn’t ask. Customers want to be asked; they deserve to be asked for their business!