How to master ‘the ask’ on a sales call

You’ve made your pitch. In the process, you discovered some terrific opportunities in which your services could really make a difference for your prospect. Now comes the moment of truth…

“Would you like to talk about how we could work together to make these opportunities into a reality?”

handshakeThis moment in the sales call is pretty tense. You’ve had a great time so far talking about the prospect’s business and tossing out insights that show how your services might make it better. The discussion to this point is all pretty non-threatening; you’ve been making a business friend. But if you want to make a sale and the chance to actually help this person or business, now is when you need to go further. Having a solid discovery conversation is a friendly act. Getting someone to part with their hard-earned money is more of an aggressive act.

So you ask for the order! Suddenly the prospect – who had been leaning forward with a smile on his face – now leans back, and you can see his defensiveness rise up. All the warmth that was there a minute ago is gone. His mouth says “yes” but his body language and tone says “no.” It would have been easier to just go back to your office and send him a proposal…

But your chances of closing this deal are a lot higher right now than they ever will be again. You’ve just spent time talking about his business and demonstrating your expertise. He’s feeling the pain he’s in and the opportunities you’ve presented more intensely than he will in any future meeting. Now is the time to close this deal.

So you persist. You outline the plan and approach you use in situations like this one. You are clear, specific and confident; and you see his face soften once again. But there’s one more thing you need to mention in order to close this deal.

The price.

You’re sure you can help this company. So sure you don’t want to lose it. Plus, the last three appointments didn’t close, so you feel like you need this business. Still, the last few times you’ve shot too low you ended up getting the job, but resenting the work. Your client realized so much value, and you made peanuts… It’s time to ask for what you’re worth!

So you tell him your full-boat price. You don’t flinch or hesitate. You put it out there.

The softening you experienced once again disappears, in fact he sucks in his breath. “Wow, that’s a lot of money.”

You want to jump into a big justification about how it’s not expensive, or really you want to agree with him and lower the price; but again those paths have lead to disaster in past appointments. What to say? The silence is getting awkward. You want to say something to break the tension, but you don’t know what that would be.

The truth is the tension is working for you as much as it is working against you. When a prospect is questioning your price it means he wants to buy! (Why else would he care about the price?) He’s weighing the value you are offering against the money you are asking for. It’s uncomfortable for you because he’s weighing you in the balance.

But what happens if you lower your price? If you drop your price you signal that you aren’t really confident of the value you bring. If you knew you could deliver that much value, and more, you wouldn’t budge!

I’ve found that you get paid exactly as much as you have the confidence to ask for.

You put your full boat number out there, when he questioned it you kept quiet. Now he has to decide — yes or no?

Sales Call to Action


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