Have you ever been in what seemed to be the longest sales cycle of your life?
Call after call, and you keep telling your sales manager that the prospect has come up with another reason not to buy this week – even though you have had several fruitful conversations.
Here is an inside tip – a number of times you are stringing the prospect along, not the other way around.
That’s right. You. And it can be just as frustrating for the prospect as it is for you and your sales manager.
So let’s solve this issue today.
Ask for the business 100% of the time, or get out of the sports business.
The title of this article is “Six Words That Will Change Your Sales Life,” and I have to tell you – they changed mine. But you have to be ready to use them, because when you do, it’s going to cause sales and more work for your service team.
Will. You. Buy. My. Product. Now?
There you go.
I had the opportunity last year to work with a young woman who is an account executive with a minor league hockey team. After our sales training seminar, I spent the next two days in the field with their account reps. The manager asked me to pay particular attention to this young lady. He told me that she was dynamic at getting appointments, great with existing customers and her renewals approached almost 85% – the highest in the league!
Where she was struggling however, was new business, and it was getting to the point where she might be let go if she couldn’t hit her numbers.
We visited a prospect that she had seen before, and she again went through her sales pitch, shared with him how they could increase their business by utilizing her teams seating inventory. It was a great meeting, but it was the third time he had heard “the pitch”.
As we wrapped up, this nice young lady scheduled a follow up call with the prospect for one week later. He excused us and walked us to the door.
I stopped him.
“Sir,” I said. “You seemed to like everything that my colleague, and have agreed to talk with her about this again next week, which would be the fourth time you have spoken about our tickets.”
I paused as he shook his in the affirmative.
“Let me ask you a quick question, Can we reserve your seats today?”
(Notice the question was six words – and in translation simply say “Will you buy my product now?”)
He stopped. Looked at the both of us and said “I would love to pick out my seats, and my administrative assistant will cut you a check when you leave.”
The problem with our young account executive was not that she wasn’t good at her job, she just wasn’t asking the right question.
He would not have invited her back if he wasn’t considering buying seats, and wouldn’t have agreed to see her again the following week if he had no intention of purchasing.
Asking for the business 100% of the time is the most critical part of your job.
It’s the transmission of your sales car. If you are not going to ask for the business, it’s time to try a new business.
Incidentally, while this story would be much better if our account executive finished the season in first place in sales and was promoted – that didn’t happen.
She finished second out of 12, and because of the types of sales she closed (premium seats, suites), she made more money than both the first place finisher and her manager. Not bad for a girl who couldn’t close.