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Why Buy If They're Not Selling? Vasudha Deming

Years ago, a men­tor told me that she never buys from some­one who doesn't ask for the sale.  It was an off-the-cuff remark, but it turned into a pow­er­ful les­son for me. At the time, I was just learn­ing how to make sales calls—and how to over­come the asso­ci­ated ner­vous­ness. This casual com­ment some­how bol­stered my con­fi­dence; the notion of "ask­ing for the sale" seemed to indi­cate com­pe­tence and exper­tise. It has informed my selling—and buying—ever since.

Ask­ing for the sale rep­re­sents a piv­otal moment in the rela­tion­ship between buyer and seller. When I facil­i­tate sales train­ing (usu­ally with Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems' course Get­ting to the Heart of Tele­phone Sales), I empha­size that ask­ing for the sale shifts the own­er­ship of the sit­u­a­tion to the buyer and empow­ers him (or her) with the respon­si­bil­ity to say yes or to give a good rea­son for say­ing no. In both cases, this results in a valu­able expe­ri­ence for the salesperson—either a suc­cess­ful close or insight into what else a buyer might need before mak­ing the deci­sion to buy.

To me, ask­ing for the sale is a hall­mark of a con­fi­dent, proac­tive, and pro­fes­sional sales­per­son. This direct approach is so much more pow­er­ful than all the hem­ming and haw­ing that so often takes place in a sales encounter. It's cir­cum­vents the game of wiles and estab­lishes a tone of, "Hey, you have a need; I have a solu­tion. Let's do busi­ness together."  

As a cus­tomer, I con­stantly use this cri­te­rion in my buy­ing deci­sions. If some­one doesn't ask for the sale, I get to won­der­ing why, and I usu­ally ascribe it to one of three reasons:

  • The sales­per­son lacks con­fi­dence in the value of the product.
  • The sales­per­son lacks the req­ui­site knowl­edge of how and when to ask for the sale.
  • The sales­per­son doesn't really care whether or not I buy.

In each case, I tend to lose my inter­est. Maybe I'm too dis­cern­ing, but I'd just rather buy from some­one who asks me for the busi­ness. Of all the steps to skip, why this one?

Try this out for your­self … For the next week or two, keep track of every pur­chase you make and count the num­ber of times that the sales­per­son actu­ally asks you for the sale. With small pur­chases like your daily latte and gro­ceries this expec­ta­tion might be overkill, but you can cer­tainly track it for clothes, ser­vices, gad­gets, gifts, and big-ticket items (not to men­tion cook­ies or any­thing else being sold by a youth group on your doorstep).  

Make them sell before you buy! This will ensure that you've had a chance to under­stand the value of the prod­uct before you buy and will help hone the skills of the peo­ple doing the selling.

Vasudha leads the Per­for­mance Solu­tions Team at Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, reg­u­larly work­ing with lead­ing com­pa­nies to improve per­for­mance of their customer-facing ser­vice, sup­port, and sales teams. She is a lead devel­oper of Impact's suite of train­ing courses and has authored four books, includ­ing the pop­u­lar Big Book of Cus­tomer Ser­vice Train­ing Games, all pub­lished by McGraw-Hill.
5 Why Buy If Theyre Not Selling?
Vasudha Deming
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