If you are not “asking,” you are not selling.
It sounds nice to say things like, “I am facilitating a buying decision, and I will wait until my prospect tells me that they are ready to take the next step.” It sounds nice, but it isn’t. It’s abdicating your responsibility.
- Not asking doesn’t make you consultative. First let’s dispatch with the idea that not asking for commitments makes you consultative. It doesn’t. Consultants make recommendations on next steps as a matter of course. Consultants also help organizations change. The very nature of helping a company change not only requires asking for commitments, but it also requires asking for massive commitments of time, energy, money, and political capital.
- By not asking, you do not establish yourself as a peer. If you want to serve your dream client as a trusted advisor and a peer, you ask for the things that you know you need to make a difference. If you need access to and other stakeholders, you ask for that access. If you need information, you ask for the information. If you need your dream client to take a run through your proposal and presentation before you present, you book time on their calendar. A subservient, non-value creating salesperson who fears damaging relationships by asking for what they need will never be considered a peer.
- Not asking cedes the process to your prospective client, and it presupposes that you are not necessary beyond whatever point it is where you stop asking for commitments. Let’s say you make a discovery call and your dream client tells you that they will get back to you in the next few weeks. By not asking for a future commitment, you have agreed that you are irrelevant in the process of decision-making that they will engage in during those few weeks. If you make a proposal without asking for the business, you leave open the idea that your prospective client should consider this on their own, potentially looking at other partners. You need to ask for agreement on the process.
- By not asking, you don’t demonstrate your serious interest in helping your dream client make changes. Asking your dream client for their business shows your serious interest in working with them. Not asking demonstrates your apathy. There is nothing attractive or sexy about someone who is dispassionate about what they sell. People want to work with people who are all in on helping them get the results they need. You cannot be ambivalent. Therefore, you have to ask.
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Filed under: Sales