Asking For the Sale With Confidence

By Sonia Ricotti
March 10, 2006

Sonia Ricotti has many years of management experience with prominent health club organizations. She is a speaker, sales and leadership trainer, and is the founder of Club Training Forum, a training and development consulting firm. She can be reached at (416) 804-1974 or at sonia.ricotti@sympatico.ca

Many sales professionals encounter a stumbling block when asking a customer for the sale. Many close by asking, “So, what do you think?” That may sound like a close, but it isn’t. By simply changing the way you ask for the sale, you will automatically increase your closing percentage.

If you have done a proper needs analysis, given an excellent tour, tried several trial closes and perfected a solid price presentation, asking for the sale will be a minor yet necessary detail to get the sale.

Many sales professionals have issues with asking for the sale because they don’t want to appear too pushy or too aggressive. What they don’t realize is that they may actually offend the customers if they don’t ask for the sale. Asking for the sale demonstrates that you are a true professional and respect your clients, consider them serious buyers and recognize that they can afford the purchase. They expect you to ask for the sale as a natural progression of the sales process. Most importantly, if you don’t ask, you won’t get the sale otherwise.

The following are four helpful steps to asking for the sale:

1. Ask the question, “Other than membership affordability, do you have any questions?” Asking this question is imperative to ensure you have answered all their questions prior to asking for the sale. If they ask you more questions right after you ask for the sale, the momentum is broken, and you must back track, answer their questions and then find a way to ask for the sale again. You don’t want any interruptions after you ask for the sale. The only answer should be “yes” or “no.”

2. Review prices clearly and slowly. Although you may have presented these prices thousands of times, your customer will be hearing the prices for the first time. Review prices slowly with pauses so they can digest and understand all of the pricing options.

3. Ask for the sale confidently. You can ask for the sale in many ways. You need to choose what works best for you and what makes you feel most comfortable. You must ask a strong closing question. There are weak closing questions (or “fluffy” closes as I like to call them) and strong closing questions. For example: Fluffy close: “So, what do you think?” “So, how does that sound?” Strong close: “Would you like to join today?” “Which membership option would you like to go with?”

4. Be quiet. This is crucial to getting the sale. Once you have solidly asked for the sale, don’t say anything. The first person to speak after that should always be the customer. This may take 2 seconds, 30 seconds, 3 minutes or 5 minutes, but however long the silence, do not speak. In my experience, the longer the silence, the closer you are to getting a “yes.” During this time of silence, customers are trying to convince themselves about why they should buy. The silence may make you feel uncomfortable, but the customers are so busy processing everything that they won’t be focused on the silence. Don’t interrupt their internal dialogue. Wait for the answer.

Although they may not always say yes, this process gives you the opportunity to open the dialogue to find out why they don’t want to buy. When a customer has a concern, they are telling you, “I would buy, but I have this problem…” Once you know their true concern, you can overcome that concern (in other words, find a solution to their problem), ask for the sale again and be on your way to getting the sale.

Asking for the sale is the most important aspect of the sales process. Too many sales have been lost because the salesperson didn’t ask that important question. Let’s face it. Unless you ask, you won’t get the sale. So, start asking for the sale with confidence, and watch your sales soar to unprecedented heights.