Always ask for the sale! I’m sorry for yelling – this is just another one of my pet peeves as a sales professional. I know what you may be thinking: That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Why would a salesperson not ask for the sale?” Fact is, it happens all the time. A salesperson builds rapport and trust with the customer, asks questions to understand their issues and desires, presents a solution to their problems or issues, provides a price for the products or services, but … does not unequivocally ask the homeowner to buy what they are selling. Asking for the sale should be the culmination of every sales call period. The homeowner is expecting you to ask for the business and if you don’t, they are probably wandering why you didn’t and may be thinking that you lack confidence in your own solution.

Some salespeople may hesitate in asking for the business because they don’t feel confident the homeowner will say yes, and don’t want to lose the opportunity, so they will just kind of let it slide and say something like “well you all give it some thought and let me know what you want to do.” Or perhaps the salesperson fears hearing an objection and are not comfortable with overcoming them, so they don’t ask while in the home, but plan to follow up later and maybe ask then.

Whatever the reason, always ask for the sale. Having what I call a good one-liner helps. A one-liner is something you would say when you present the homeowner with the price that asks them, in no uncertain terms to act. Examples of one-liners are “How would you like to pay for this?”, “Would you like to go ahead with this?”, “Sign right here, and I can get you slotted into the production schedule.”, or “I need your OK right here.”. It’s a good idea to have 2 or 3 one-liners in your pocket to use at the conclusion of every sales call to confidently, and easily ask the customer for their business.

When you ask the homeowner for their business, you may hear one of two answers – “Yes” or “No” …well actually there are three possible responses… “Yes”, “No”, or “Maybe”. You may think that a no is the worst response, but of those three, “maybe” is easily the most troublesome. That’s because “maybe” does not feel bad and you will rationalize that maybe you still have a chance – maybe you still have a shot. You can deal with a no, but there is not much you can do with a maybe. You must get from maybe to a no in order to move to a yes. Maybe’s sound like “we need to think it over” or “we’re getting more quotes”. The maybe could be a timing issue, or perhaps the homeowner does not feel comfortable making this decision while only seeing one company’s proposal and not checking out other options. Many times, and others would say every time a maybe is a disguise for a price objection.

I was recently on Grosso University’s “Yes you are a closer podcast” with Dominic Caminata and was asked my opinion of the “one sit close”. I believe you should strike while the iron is hot. If you can make a sale and help a homeowner with their project on the first call, then rock on. But I also believe that moving a customer off a “maybe” response during the initial sales call can make them feel pressured and begin to shut down. There are also remodeling companies who employ a two-call sales process that works well for them and that’s fine too. What I told Dominic, and I believe what must be done at the conclusion of every call is to ASK FOR THE SALE.

It takes some skill, practice and experience to work through these issues and help a customer navigate to a buying decision. Be on the lookout for next month’s column where I will provide some strategies for overcoming the three most prevalent objections in home improvement industry.