Part 4 of “Connecting People with a Business Focus” Blog Series
Being successful at anything can be achieved by doing the things most others are simply not willing to do. At the top of the list in sales: just making the ask. Yet as basic as it seems, why do we often times avoid it?
Fear of rejection
Starting at a very young age when we ask for something, none of us likes being told no. If you question this, watch the interaction with parents and their toddlers in the cookie aisle at the grocery store. In sales, you spend so much time identifying and positioning yourself with prospects that when the moment of truth comes to ask for an opportunity, the fear of hearing NO becomes much stronger than the potential of being the right solution for a prospect’s need for your product or service.
So, to help overcome the fear of rejection, think about the missed opportunity if you do not make the ask. Remember, someone telling you NO today does not mean it will be NO forever. If it is NO today, use it as an opportunity to ask this prospect to come up with someone they feel may be able to say YES. It relieves the pressure from the prospect and allows you to move on. If you don’t ask the answer is always NO!
Assume our prospect knows what we want
How many times are we knee-deep in developing a relationship with a prospect that we assume they know exactly why we are even speaking with them in the first place? In my organization, we can offer several different solutions that may or may not necessarily involve working directly with me. While I might think there is an opportunity for me to greatly improve their workers compensation program, my prospect may be more interested today in learning about our solutions to better manage their medical costs. If I am not aware of this, I may miss an opportunity for both!
How to avoid this? Let them know clearly and concisely what solutions you and your organization provide, then start asking questions about their business, their personnel and culture. Learn what keeps them up at night and determine where you might be able to help. Let them know what you’ve done for other clients in similar situations. Be confident in your abilities, and more importantly make them feel confident you are the right solution for them!
You may not be prepared for a YES
We all know what NO sounds like, and in sales are usually prepared for it. Are we also ready to hear YES? A YES simply starts the process and triggers a series of events that can be both time consuming and labor intensive for a prospect. As a result, managing the process, while keeping the prospect engaged throughout can be a challenge. Thinking of all the moving parts that must come together in a timely manner, can certainly cause you to hesitate in making the initial ask. Is it all worth it? Will I even get the business? By doing this, am I ignoring the needs of my current clients?
If you want to be comfortable hearing YES, you must have a plan in place. Keep it simple and make it clear to all parties. In the end, it is up to you and no one else to make sure it is executed. Delegate where you can but respect the time of others. Be assertive and stay focused. Most of all, keep the end in mind. All your hard work and persistence will pay off when your prospect says YES to becoming a client!
You don’t want to mix business with pleasure
This goes back to my first blog of this series. Trying to convert someone we know personally into a professional relationship can sometimes be tricky. Even though we may have a solution, we hesitate to bring it up for fear it will jeopardize the friendship. I’m often told people enjoy my company because they don’t feel pressured that I will talk business. This is nice, but how many business opportunities am I missing as a result? More importantly, how many of my friends are missing out on me providing a better solution to an urgent need they may have?
How to fix it? Make it mutually beneficial. Ask what you can do to help grow your friend’s business. Take what you’ve learned in this blog series to expand their network. Commit to making one introduction to your friend within a short period time. This enhances your credibility and gives you permission to ask your friend to reciprocate.