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08/09/2011

Time�s Up! What Do You Really Want?

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 want!�

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 yes.

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 facts.�

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 thoughtful.

Baker�s formula has three key rules:

  • Only offer information that is meaningful. (The rest is trivial.)

  • Get to the point and ask for what it is you want.

  • Be quick about it.

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 darn wiener!

For more information on John Baker�s book, The Asking Formula � Ask For What You Want And Get It, go to www.theaskingformula.com.


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