If you are like most sales people, when it
comes down to it, you are downright scared of being direct, to the
point, and telling people in no uncertain terms, �Here�s what I
Think about it. There�s a conspiracy that
encourages people to bury their most important wants and desires.
Marketing trainers use consultative selling to draw people out.
Social media consultants say �Selling directly is suicide!� People
hem and haw, they�re even afraid to ask you what they want to ask
you the most. They feel vulnerable about being honest and up-front.
It petrifies even the best of us!
Yet when it comes to being successful in
business, being frank, open and clearly asking people to give you
what you want is what wins the day.
John Baker, a veteran Fortune 25 management and
leadership consultant and author of the new book The Asking
Formula � Ask For What You Want And Get It, says the world would
be a better place if marketers were totally up front and said, �I�m
selling windows today; are you buying?�
Baker spent several years studying the fears
and trepidation people demonstrate in situations across the whole
spectrum of human interactions. He concluded that people do not know
the best way to get what they want. He then documented the simplest
tactics and strategies that he observed in the people who were
getting exactly what they were after.
Very simply, his discovery was the most
successful people ask for what they want. Then they give the three
very best reasons that explain why it makes perfect sense to say
Here�s an example. A sales person has met with
the client, properly identified the needs and tailored a solution
that meets the clients� needs as well as budget. After the meeting
is complete the sales person thanks the client and says that he will
follow up with him in a few days.
Even experienced sales people, young and old
are often stumped over asking someone for the order. They stumble
and bumble their way through touchy feely talk about their hobbies,
the weather, their pets, family or weekend plans, anything but what
they are really after.
Oh sure, all sorts of experts tell you that
it�s important to build a relationship, or you have to draw out the
prospect, or listen for buying clues, and any number of other items,
but the crucial, bottomline issue is that they never get around to
asking the big question.
�It is crucial,� Baker says, �to identify the
exact most important request, and brainstorm before you decide on
the best reasons. Each reason needs to be carefully selected from a
larger number of options, and then be backed by three important
It�s about that easy, and the power of this
strategy is more than amazing. Baker has shown that this method can
be successfully used to penetrate difficult accounts, close
difficult sales calls, shorten a sales cycle, protect price margins,
reduce meeting time, speed up Powerpoint presentations, structure
personnel reviews, sales letters, company communications with
suppliers, corporate memos and even e-mail messages.
What�s more it is proven to be quite helpful in
corporate and business personal interactions with personnel,
especially with supervisors and staff. Conversations are clearer,
there is less misunderstanding and you come across as being
Baker�s formula has three key rules:
Building a relationship is great, but
over-doing it turns you into a nuisance. The biggest problem with
being consultative, for example, is that it gets in the way of the
selling. It�s technique overload. It targets intimacy over decorum.
It allows for procrastination. It enables salespeople to avoid
rejection. After all, if you are busy probing the needs of the
prospect you don�t have to risk asking for the sale.
Can you image a vendor at a ballpark
consultatively selling you a hot dog? �On a 1-to-10 scale, rate the
level of discomfort with your hunger?� �Tell me your main objective
with the hot dog?� �When you had a hot dog before, how satisfied
were you with the mustard and ketchup ratio?�
Isn�t he more effective when he just yells:
�Hot dogs, hot dogs, come and get your hot dogs!� Just give me the
For more information on John Baker�s
book, The Asking Formula � Ask For What You Want And Get It,