In a colleague’s newsletter, I recently read about an article in Selling Power Magazine that featured a Notre Dame University survey of purchasing agents at some of the nation’s largest companies. They asked about the closing attempts (asking for the business) made by the sales representatives who called on them. Here’s what they found: 46% of the sales reps asked for the order once then quit. 24% asked twice then gave up. 14% asked for the order three times. 12% asked four times.
Yet, the same survey showed that 60% of the orders came after the fourth attempt. Imagine that! It took as many as five closing attempts before a sale was made. This shows the need for persistence when calling on a prospect. But the surprising thing to me is that less than 50% of the sales reps asked for the order even once!
No matter what you are selling, ASKING multiple times is not only necessary to secure the sale, it often makes it easier for the prospect to buy!
Begin asking questions when your prospect inquires, to help you know what they need or want and when they are ready to buy. Continue asking agreement questions as you present the benefits of doing business with you, to know whether you are on the right track and to unearth objections to buying from you. When you know they are interested or ready to buy, ASK them to buy from you!
One type of closing question that is comfortable to ask and easy for your prospect to answer is called an alternate choice closing question. For example, you might say, Would you like Ben to start today or would next Monday be better for you?
Each time you follow-up with a prospect, help guide them closer to buying from you, then ASK them to do so. Those who keep asking their prospects to buy with their prospects’ needs in mind are those who sell more!
You must ASK or you are not closing. How can you expect to get any customers if you never even ask? That’s what selling is all about – asking the prospect to buy.