“The time has come for one of us to buy and you’re the only one at the table that can do that.

It’s not the most polished closing statement ever made, but it won a $3.5M deal when I gave it. I smiled, looked our prospect in the eye, and almost saw one of my regional manager’s lunch when I said it.

As we drove back to the airport I was asked why I went for the close in that meeting, it wasn’t staged as a closing call, I was asked to join the meeting as a show of support from “Corporate.”

The answer was simple. We had already presented, positioned, and nurtured our solution – we had done what we were supposed to do as a sales organization, it was time for our prospect to either buy or tell us why they wouldn’t. Either way, we win.

Some sales people are afraid to ask for an order. I understand many of the reasons why — none are acceptable.

Fear of rejection or ending a business relationship is among the top reasons many fail to close. Lack of confidence in their solution or concern of being pushy are others.

You should never be afraid to ask for a prospect’s business, after all, that’s why you’re there. Your job is to sell the solutions your company offers.

Your prospect expects that at some time in your relationship you’re going to ask for their business. Don’t disappoint them.

Something I do early in a sales opportunity is ask my prospect what their decision process is for purchasing a solution such as I’m selling. With my prospect, I map out each step of the sales process before I begin the heavy lifting of selling. This is especially effective in B2B complex sales — it qualifies the prospect as being the person I should be selling to, identifies others in the organization that influence the sale, and makes my forecast more accurate.

Bottom-line: There is a time to ask for the order

You know in your gut when that time is and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask. If you’re rejected, you’ll at least know where you stand in the deal, what barriers need to be overcome, and whether or not you have a realistic chance of winning your prospect’s business.

What do you think?

Have you seen a sales process that went too long because the sales person was afraid to ask for the order? If so, what affect did that have on your business? If not, do you believe fear of closing is much of a business problem at all?

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