No Pressure Selling... How To Ask For What You WantJun 16, 2022
There's a truth in the sales business that we often need to be reminded of, "If you don't ask, the answer is always no."
While that is almost always true, I try to steer clear of absolutes like always and never. Because sometimes they do call us. Sometimes they do say yes, even though we haven't asked. And sometimes they look at us in all seriousness and ask, "Do you think we ought to sign the contract now?"
What's the answer to that? "I would," delivered with the right facial expression and voice inflection, as if it's perfectly normal.
Yes, sometimes we don't have to ask. Sometimes all we have to do is nudge. Sometimes natural charisma, gift of gab, and personality win the day. And sometimes everything we want and need is right there in front of us waiting to be picked up.
But most of the time it is better to ask. It's better to know where we stand rather than guess or not know. So, in the interest of absolutes, here are three tried and true guidelines about asking.
When in doubt, ask.
"Are you ready to put your house on the market now?"
"Based on what you've seen so far about me and my company and what we do to protect your equity and make this move safe and easy for you, would you be comfortable letting me handle things?"
"If we could agree on a price, are you prepared to list with me?"
If you have any doubt at all about how your clients are feeling in the moment, take their temperature. It's like that childhood game, am I getting warmer or colder? This is how you illuminate the path and make smarter choices about where to go next.
Ask three times.
Here's the Wickman Rule of Thumb: If you will build the habit of asking for what you want three times . . . no more, just never any less . . . you will almost always get what you want without pushing people past the point of repair.
Our job as salespeople is to help our clients make decisions because people are by nature indecisive. Is it easier for most people to decide yes or no, or put off deciding with a maybe? Of course, saying maybe is easier than saying yes or no! Maybe is less threatening. Maybe is less of a commitment. Maybe is a way to avoid hurting feelings. Maybe keeps more options open. So please get used to hearing ‘maybe’ at least twice before you get a yes or no.
Next time you are face to face with a client asking for a decision and they say maybe (It may sound like, "We want to think it over" – or, "We want to sleep on it" – or, "We need to talk to so-and-so first" – or any one of the dozen variations on that theme) - pay attention to what you tell yourself when you hear maybe. How does maybe make you feel? How do you react? If what you are saying and feeling isn't working, just tell yourself that maybe means you are getting closer to a decision. Then ask again.
"I am looking for homeowners who need to find a larger home, either for working at home, homeschooling or family expansion. Who do you know who needs more room?"
"I am looking for homeowners who need to downsize, either because they have become empty-nesters, or they have experienced a recent change in their life or lifestyle. Who do you know who needs to downsize?"
"And I am looking for homeowners who want to buy something different but feel they should find one first before they list their current home. Who do you know that would love to move but they're shopping instead?"
The more specific you can be about what you want, the easier it will be for people to think of a specific answer.
When you have told your clients everything they need to know, and they have told you everything you need to know, Floyd says you deserve a decision – a decision which they will thank you for helping them make. The way to get there is by asking for what you want. Commit that this week, you’ll be better at that!
The Floyd Wickman Team blog by Mike Pallin
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