Fear of rejection is the single largest reason for failure in sales. We imagine the worst possible outcomes before we even take any action, often causing paralysis by analysis. Today my message to you is simple – if you don’t ask, you won’t receive! Here are some short stories to illustrate:
When I was working as a sales consultant, a senior colleague (let’s call him John) was tasked with coaching me on my calls. As he listened in, I wrapped up one call with a prospect. I realised too late that I had forgotten to ask for some important information. I resolved to call the prospect back the next day, but my colleague challenged me to call back immediately.
“But he’ll be annoyed if I call back now,” I reasoned.
“How do you know?” John asked rhetorically.
I paused… I procrastinated for another 15 seconds… It was then that I realised I was rationalising my fear. As a result, I picked up the phone to call the prospect back. True enough, the prospect wasn’t annoyed. He provided the information I needed, and saved everyone the trouble of restarting the conversation later. Never make assumptions about how people will respond to your requests – just ask!
Selling top-down is a tried and true principle in sales. This usually refers to approaching decision makers first as this can hasten the sales cycle. However, the same rule applies when presenting your products in order of highest to lowest price.
When I finished high school, I found a summer job selling high quality kitchen knives (this was one occasion when offering a “free set of steak knives” was actually appropriate!). I personally thought that no one would want to pay $2,500 for the full set, but I followed the company’s sales process and asked at every interview anyway. When one prospect said “yes” to the offer, I nearly fell off my chair! Clearly, the customer saw much more value in the product than I did. In spite of my beliefs, they bought simply because I asked!
While we won’t always get what we want from asking, remember that “We miss 100% of the shots we don’t take.” How many sales are missed because we simply don’t ask for the order? How many referrals have we missed out on because we couldn’t work up the courage to speak? If you ever catch yourself making assumptions or rationalising inaction, remember to simply ask and find out. Why don’t you give it a try and see for yourself?
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Sales Ethos helps companies increase revenue through sales training in Melbourne. We achieve results through sales coaching, customer service training, sales management training, and sales process consulting. Ben Lai is a sales trainer and business coach in Melbourne, and offers public sales training courses in Melbourne.