When is the right time to sell and ask for the order? You want to get the business sure, but you don’t want to drive people nuts either. I remember Awesome Peter Oliver and I once had this discussion…
Talking more “Selling” and not “Marketing” on this one, I have had this come up as a common issue for some of my clients this week. They are busy running their business, selling their services and this question pops up:
“Edward, when is the right time for me to ask someone if they want to hire my services / buy my product?”
This is a simple question on the surface, but the answer can be quite complex.
As Sales is a “Complete Artform”, it’s not a simple scientific type of answer. As what I have just said is a pretty lousy answer to this question, I think there are two extremes for consideration.
The “Overselling + Being Pushy Extreme”:
“Overselling + Being Pushy” is one dangerous extreme that people can fall into. I am sure that you know what I am talking about here in that you just know “that person” who totally sucks and every time they see you they try and flog you something. Talking more as a 4Networking Leader this is an issue I have to deal with every now and then. We get people come into the network that I think aren’t very nice. They come in, just hard sell everyone, get whatever they can, use pressure tactics and what happens is that they get a lot of complaints that go to me.
I am the one that ends up talking to them in many situations and even if they accept what I am saying (at times they don’t and they fight me – silly people!), the damage is already done. Others see them as an annoying character and even though they may have got some sales, no one will talk to them anymore.
I can relate too; once upon a time at at Chamber Event this man found out I was a Marketing Consultant and 45 seconds into the conversation started hard selling me SEO & PPC services saying my current friends MindArc Digital Agency suck and have no idea. As you can tell the conversation didn’t go more than 60 seconds and when I see him walking the streets, I tend to look away and hope he doesn’t approach me.
My thinking is that with overselling, *sure* you may get some sales – but it’s not sustainable and you have additional returns / refunds – people who buy before they are ready.
The “Underselling + Not Asking for the Order Extreme”:
This is the other extreme which can be a massive problem as well. This was where I started out where I would spend time with people, give lots of free advice and at times have people go off and hire someone else over me. From what I can tell this is where many fall into and it’s problem in itself.
I had one painful experience in which I had a massive falling out with someone. I spent months with them at networking groups, gave them free tips, advice and help – but when we had that relationship I never asked if they wanted to hire me. They took my free advice, hired someone else that did what I did. Even though I question their integrity, hindsight says that if I asked for the business I probably would have got it.
Overall, this extreme is problematic in that you can waste lots of time, miss out on sales and also demoralize yourself as you work your butt off to educate someone as to why your services rock and they go off to hire someone else.
Edward the Crazy Persian’s Answer to this problem:
My own personal take on resolving this issue is being really mindful where people are at in terms of their need for your product and their trust for you. The answer is a balance in between and they way I like to approach this is:
1) Understand their need for your product / service: Do they need it right now? Are they ready for it?
2) Your Connection with them: Meet, Like Know and Trust? When we connect I am ask them.
3) Wait for the right time: Don’t ask them when they are annoyed or complaining about having no money x x
4) Ask politely and give them an out: Don’t lock people in, I like asking “Just wondering if you are interested in getting started? If not all good, just wanted to put it out there”
Basically, I wait till I feel we have that connection, they need what I want and I very politely ask them. This balance works for me and depending on what you do, you may lean more one way or the other.
My advice? This balance can be tricky at the start, but you should get a feel of the right time to ask for an order. People often need a slight nudge to take the plunge and work with you.
Trust you enjoyed this article and drop me a line if you need a hand! Edward Zia – Marketing Mentor who loves selling!