Sales professionals know that building and managing a reality-based sales pipeline involves more than just calls, appointments, proposals, demos and follow-up. The most important technique is asking for the order, which many sales reps dread because they fear rejection.
Sales trainer Todd Cohen suggests the following strategies for overcoming closing anxiety:
- Take a nonlinear approach. Take initial stock of how much prospects already know about your company and product. If they are fairly educated, it’s smart to ask for the order early. Don’t drag it out if you don’t have to. This technique shortens the sales cycle and results in a more accurate pipeline.
- Don’t overcomplicate the question. Cohen suggests being direct and confident and asking for the business in a straightforward way. Example: “Can I start writing the purchase order for the number of units we discussed?”
- Realize that “No” is as good as “Yes.” If you get a negative reaction, take comfort in the fact that you’ve gotten some closure. You can accurately adjust your pipeline and find the time to focus on other prospects.
—Adapted from “Ask for the Order and Close the Sale!,” Todd Cohen, Sales Culture blog, www.toddcohen.com.