You don't need to do anything fancy... just ask!
A bout 20 years ago there was a book written by Hank Trisler called "No-Bull Selling." It is probably one of the most straight-on books on how to really crank out more business. It's not a "feel-good" book about thinking positive and putting your best foot forward; it's filled with great ideas on simply putting more sales together. The book is about closing and asking for the sale.
I lost my original copy a few years ago. When I found out that the book was out of print, I paid a library $60 for a used copy. I re-read the whole thing one more time. I found the phone number for the publisher and asked about buying the rights to the book. He told me that no one wants to read that stuff any more. Today's salespeople want to learn about selling through motion, and establishing customer rapport. They want to spend more time determining needs and solving problems. Well, this is all well and good, but as best-selling author, Robert Ringer puts it: "Closing deals is so much trash, if my friend, you get no cash."
What I especially like about Trisler's book is that it really goes into detail on simple closing. And it destroyed all the teachings of the sales trainers of that time. Trisler especially has a problem with J. Douglas Edwards. According to Trisler, Edwards tells everybody to learn 75 closes by heart, "they need to know them so well they could recite them backwards in their sleep." And as Trisler puts it, "that is so much bull." He maintains that you don't need to memorize a bunch of closes. You don't need to be a trained "closer." You need to be a good "asker." I think he is absolutely right.
Did you know that on a national average, 61% of all salespeople never ask the customer to buy? They fear rejection, they lack the tenacity, or they just forget. They show a customer a product, explain features and benefits, and then end by giving out a card saying something like, "Call me if you decide." This doesn't make a lot of sales. But getting someone to buy something can be easier than you think. You need to ask people to buy in your own words, not somebody else's. And you need a little personality and street smarts to go along with it. I know several great salespeople who have their own inimitable style. One friend of mine sells a high-ticket retail item, and probably is one of his industry's best salespeople in this part of the state. He's non-threatening.
He's not a closer, and certainly not a "pusher." He explains the price and payments of the item that he's selling while the customer sits across from him in his little office. Then he comes over to the customer's side of the desk and kneels on the floor while scribbling the numbers on a sheet of paper. When he comes to the actual price of the item, he simply looks up at the customer and says, "You want this, don't you?" Of course, he's still kneeling. It's hard to say no to him. He always smiles when he looks up.
He's a good "asker." I've seen him do it a hundred times.
Perhaps one of the best examples of being a good "asker" happened to me just a few weeks ago. I saw a couch in a major furniture store that I really liked. My only problem was that I didn't know if I wanted to buy it or not.
I took home a cushion to see if it matched the furniture that I already had. I brought it back. I sat on the couch again. The young lady who waited on me listened to all my thoughts as to style and color. When I was finished she said, "What do you think?" I told her I wanted to look around a bit, measure the space again, and see what other colors the couch came in, etc. Now here's where it gets good. All the time I'm coming up with these stupid objections to get out of the store, I'm not looking at her. It's tough too look at somebody when you're talking and not being quite straight. Each time I didn't look her in the eye, she slid over and looked me in the eye. I couldn't get out of her line of sight. When I stopped babbling she said, "So, would you like to get it?" I said, "I suppose." And that was it. I bought the couch, and I love it.
When I came back a few days later to look at a chair, the saleswoman was with another set of customers. After she showed them the furniture she asked, "What do you think?" As long as they didn't say, "I don't want it," I guess she figured it was fair game. She got in their line of sight, listened to them say they wanted to check with their credit union, go home and think about it, etc. They talked; she listened. Again, she asked, "So, do you want to get it?" Then they said, "Yes," and out came their Visa card. Some people just want to be leaned on a little. They want help in making their decision. They want the salesperson to ask them to buy.
Hank Trisler says that more than half of all customers come up with three objections before they say, "Yes." So if you don't become a good "asker," you don't become a good "seller." Whenever you're in doubt as to the attitude of a customer, just ask them to buy. And ask in your own words.
You'll be amazed at how much more business you'll do.
Bob Popyk is the publisher of Creative Selling®, a monthly newsletter on sales and marketing strategies for high-ticket retailers. His sales meetings and seminars are presented worldwide to major companies and industries.Questions on any aspect of sales education can be sent to FURNITURE WORLD at firstname.lastname@example.org.