Not long ago, I was highly motivated to join a gym. I did my research, and identified two gyms to check out. After making appointments to speak with a sales person at each gym, I felt confident that I would find the right gym for me. The sales person at the first gym welcomed me, showed me the weight room, the swimming pools, and the women’s locker room before politely showing me the door.
Standing in front of the gym after my quick tour, I wondered why he didn’t ask me to sign up on the spot, and I came to the conclusion that there was something wrong with me. I checked my breath, then (embarrassing but true) I opened my jacket to see if I smelled. Nope.Obviously, this was not the gym for me, so off I went to the next gym. This time I was prepared with my credit card in my hand during the tour so that there would be no doubt that I was ready to buy. Again, the sales person greeted me warmly, showed me the amenities, and showed me the door.Ouch. I knew I didn’t smell, but wondered if I were too old, ugly, fat, or offensive to join a gym?
Get a grip, I told myself. Both of these sales folks are very young, just out of college, so perhaps they know of a new sale technique that is not familiar to me. Perhaps they are trying to build my desire to join a gym to a higher level. That must be it: They want me to really want it!Secure in the knowledge that I had figured it out, I waited for the follow up call that I knew would come. After all, hadn’t I been very specific about my interest in joining a gym sooner rather than later? Hadn’t I made it clear that I was ready, willing, and financially able to assume a gym membership?
Maybe so, but was anyone listening? Neither sales person (now you see why I have not referred to them as sales “professionals”) bothered to call me to see if I was ready to join. The lesson? OK, not what you might think: Not that young sales people are not competent, which it might seem to be, because I have experienced similar situations with sales folks of all ages.
No, the lesson was that it is the seller’s responsibility to facilitate the solution the prospect is seeking, and ask for the business.And then it hit me: I was equally guilty of the same thing. I was making the very same mistake as the greenest guys!How many times had people come to me for help solving a marketing problem, and after determining that I could help, I failed to ask for the business? Did I expect my prospects to demand that I accept them as clients? Force me to accept their money?
I cringe at the memory of how some people must have felt after a conversation with me that did not result in a clear invitation to work together.
Asking for the business is possibly the single most effective thing you’ll ever do, but more than that, it is your obligation as the professional to let your prospects know that you want to help them and are able to help them. It is your responsibility to invite them to work with you. It is your responsibility to ask. So if you are not asking, you’re making a mistake. STOP IT.Searching for the right words to use to ask your prospects for the business? Choose the words or phrase that works for you, or be inspired to create your own way to ask, but for your clients’ sake, ASK them to work with you!
A Marketing Mistake to Stop Making © 2006-9 Veronika Noize. All rights reserved.