One of two things is happening when I recognize this situation.
- The sales representative actually thinks that they have asked for the order.
- The sales representative is afraid of asking for the order.
When coaching sales reps after a call I focus a lot on their closing statements. I try to drill down to what the purpose of the call was and how does the rep think that the call went.
I especially like to drill down on closing statements when the call appeared to be moving in a positive direction. If it sounds like their should have been a close to purchase then I will definitely turn my attention to that piece of the sales process.
When dealing with situation #1 above I’ll replay the tape or just sit and discuss what happened on that particular call. The reps typically think that they did ask for the order. They all say the same thing… “Yes I did close the call, here’s exactly what I said.” About 15 sentences later they end up agreeing with me, there was no close. What they end up saying is that they beat around the bush but they did not use any one of a thousand different closing statements. Bottom line – they never asked for the business.
When coaching on situation #2 above… “The sales rep is afraid to ask for the order” I have to go a little deeper into the psychology of the sale with the salesperson. Here the sales rep is really afraid of losing the order. In their mind the best way to lose an order is to ask for the sale. They believe that since the conversation is going so well with the prospect it is just a matter of time before that prospect asks to buy the product from them.
Don’t laugh, I you are a sales rep then you have probably in your career done both #1 and #2 above. I have listened to too many phone calls to believe this is not happening.
My mission statement says that I will provide “…immediate positive sales results…” How do I know that? Because when I am conducting an Atlanta Sales Training class I focus on the things sales reps need to do and I know that one of the things they are not doing well is closing.
Here is what 25+ year of experience tells me:
When you email, mail, drop off or hand your prospect your contract that contract will not magically start talking to the prospect.
The person handing the contract to the prospect has to close the sale by asking for the business or the contract remains another pile of paper on the prospect’s desk.
Don’t forget to ask for the order! Just that one sentence… Asking for the order will provide immediate positive sales results. Add to that all the other things that are actually in the sales process and you can see why sales reps need sales training.
David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting. You can read about David’s Atlanta sales training classes here: http://www.atlantasalesandconsulting.com/sales_training_atlanta_georgia.htm