As business leaders, we spend a tremendous amount of time developing marketing strategies content, branding, sales scripts, call reports, data, metrics on and on and on. What is the one thing that we sometimes forget to do? ASK! Simply asking for the business through a series of choreographed questions at designated times can boost your sales effectiveness. I understand that hopefully, our processes are such rock solid that clients jump on board with you without a series of asks, but in reality, many sales will require polite and timely engagement through many asks. More experienced sales professionals might be able to "feel" when to ask specific questions, but most of us need a process to guide us through the proper steps.
I often refer to sales as a series of yeses. It’s also important to remember that the "ask's" are an opportunity to build trust and a relationship. The ask is not a singular action, it is a series of questions purposely built into the process to yield the next yes, until we receive the ultimate yes, in way of new business. We are also fishing for the "No's" that will help direct us to spend our time on more likely prospects. Here are a few "ask" examples for your sales process (not in particular order). Paraphrase these to fit your personality.
- Before we start, can you tell me about yourself?
- If we show you [insert the result of working with you here] can we have your business?
- Make a request to build collaboration: Can you provide me with [insert information that would help you to assess your solution as an option for them]?
- What does a successful outcome from our solution look like to you?
- What challenges are you currently facing in your business?
- What goals are you looking to achieve with our solution?
- Can you tell me about your current process for [insert question related to their industry]?
- How have you addressed this challenge in the past?
- What criteria will you use to evaluate our solution?
- How does our solution compare to your current solution?
- Who are the key stakeholders involved in the decision-making process?
- What is your timeline for making a decision?
- What budget have you allocated for this product/service?
- Can you share any concerns or objections you have about our product/service?
- The ultimate question once trust and collaboration are established, "Can we do business together?"