July 19, 2022

#54 - How to think about your 'Ask'

You've done your discovery. You've established trust. You've gotten alignment. Now what?

It's time for 'the ask.' What is the decision your customer needs to make? What is it that they need to do next?

In this rambling, occasionally amusing ~9 minute chat, Brendan and Bob talk about the ingredients of an effective ask


You've done your discovery. You've established trust. You've gotten alignment. Now what?

It's time for 'the ask.' What is the decision your customer needs to make? What is it that they need to do next?

In this rambling, occasionally amusing ~9 minute chat, Brendan and Bob talk about the ingredients of an effective ask.

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Transcript

 📍  Hey Bob, guess what? Well, you know, it's another Let's Chat Sales. 

 

It's another episode of Let's Chat Sales.  And today we're gonna talk about the ask. 

 

What prompted this is this pitch practice stuff that we've been doing  with groups, lately,  

 

and one of the things they oftentimes struggle with is the ask, and it's a universal  component of the sales process.

 

At some point you have to ask people what it is they wanna do...

 

or what you want them to do, actually. 

 

Yeah. They don't buy from you unless you ask.

 

I had many discussions early in my career when I started my first company and I would talk to someone about all the great stuff I did. And then I.

 

Thank you very much for your time... and leave.

 

Someone said to me, at one point, when my customer said, aren't you gonna ask for the sale? 

 

I said, yeah, that was a first for me. 

 

I'm gonna push back a little bit on that.  And that is, I find that if you're going through the process... at some point, the sale becomes sort of inevitable.

 

Like I've had customers go, all right, let's do this.

 

When do well, you 

 

deal with a lot longer sales cycle than I do. Right? 

 

My sales cycle is talking to someone at a networking event... and then a follow up phone call, right. 

 

Yours could be six months. Oh yeah. Or year or five years. For sure. Right. 

 

So I would assume if you, if you're there for three years.

 

It's like the girl in high school, eventually, if you were there for three years, it's like, you know what, Brendan, I'll go out with you.

 

Yeah.  eventually, eventually.

 

So jump in. What do you, what do you think.

 

Well, first of all, you 

 

have to be confident about what you're offering. Yep. You have to believe it's got value. 

 

Second, you have to be clear about what you want.

 

 You know, do you want a sale? 

 

Do you want an investor? 

 

Do you want someone to just refer you to people that might help you move things along.

 

Yeah. I find a lot of times the founders don't know what they're asking for.

 

Or they shoot too high.  You know, you're talking to this person who might have $20,000 and you're asking them for a million dollars.

 

Or you're, you're saying to a person who has a great network of contacts.

 

What I'd really like from you is I'd like you to use my demo. 

 

So it's gotta be a match, right. Right. 

 

Mine would be... it's a function of timing, right? It's it's when is the right time to ask. 

 

And you don't want to ask before you've established credibility.

 

Before you established trust. Before you understand things. You know, that sort of thing. That's part of the discovery process.  

 

You get to the point where you understand their situation, their challenges, their business objectives well enough...

 

that you can say. Oh, yeah, this is where I think we can help. Do you want us to help? Can we help? Are you ready for this? 

 

Or here's, here's what I see as the next step. That's an ask.

 

Here's what I see as the next step, you know?  Do you agree? Or, or am I missing something?

 

You're making them make a decision.

 

Because really ultimately, this is the thing... and I love this phrase... and that is

 

sales is helping others make a decision. 

 

And sometimes that decision is, you know, this is not a fit. Right. 

 

But if it is a fit, they have to make that decision.

 

Yeah. Yes or no is better than maybe. 

 

Exactly. Anytime. 

 

Maybe doesn't pay the bills. 

 

"Maybe's" you have to turn into one or the other and you have to do it rather, quickly. 

 

Kind a no is closer to a yes... because if they explain to you what you, where you fall short, right.

 

You can often make amends and correct it and come back and say, Hey, we heard what you said three months ago.

 

Here's a new feature that you were asking for. 

 

So what, what else, what else in an ask?  

 

I think the shorter, the better. Yeah.  And no clearing your throat hemming and hawing.

 

Like I'm not really comfortable asking. 

 

This is really hard for me to do, but I need to ask you if you would be interested in using my service. 

 

There's a lot of that. There's a lot of, you know, oh, I really love the picture over there. That can be problematic because it shows the lack of confidence.

 

When you ask, when you make the ask, you have to wait. Right. You need that moment. 

 

You need to pause, right? You need to, it's uncomfortable too. 

 

But like, Hey, here's where I see this going. This seems to be the next step. Am I right?

 

You have to wait for them to, to make an answer.

 

And it may take 30 seconds or a minute could yeah. A minute, a long time. I'm hoping a minute, but, but I've 

 

had it take a minute. 

 

Uh, 

 

uh, yeah. And they often don't say yes or no right after that. 

 

They'll ask a follow up question. 

 

What the heck do they do for that minute? They just stare at you or they, uh, or they, uh, well, 

 

if, if you look at the psychological research, what they do for that minute is try to evaluate if they're making a bad decision.

 

Do they?

 

But I.  Guess I'm, I'm, I'm looking at the practical, like you're sitting across the table from them. 

 

Oh, that they're, they're looking at you. They're looking at their paper. 

 

They're going through their notes. 

 

They don't say anything?

 

No, Brendan I've waited... I've waited over a minute.

 

I'm like, so do we think we should do this?

 

And then they go.

 

Something's no, it's not like that. It's more 

 

like it's a... 

 

You're selling to weirdos.

 

I mean, I mean, Brendan's one of my clients... just want you to know. 

 

All right. Yeah. I'm just, I'm just evidence to the fact that weirdos. Yes. 

 

So... that's just funny. No, I, I, I hope you're exaggerating. 

 

I'm like, I'd be like looking across the table. Hey, are you still there? That's what you doing? Well, whoa, come on, wake up.

 

No, it can be a minute. Or, or they'll distract. 

 

Well, that, that I get... sure. 

 

They'll, you know, they'll start talking about the football game. Yeah. Whatever. 

 

Yeah. That I get, but just like staring at you a, in a 

 

I'm used to being staring me. 

 

All right. So what else, what else? Um, timing...

 

I think you have to practice it.

 

I practice sometimes those things on friends, family. Yeah. You know, just to, I do, just to get comfortable with saying it. 

 

 Yeah, I think that's one of the things, and this is true of just anything and that is the more you do something...

 

the more practice you get the, the easier it becomes.

 

You know, I remember when I was, uh, first starting out in sales, in enterprise sales...

 

I had this big deal to At&T Bell Labs. And it was for, it was a lot of money. It was for me, it was a lot of money. 

 

It was at the time... I remember it was like $373,000. One sale. 

 

What year was that? 

 

It was in the, in the 80's. 

 

Oh, so that would be close to probably 900,000 right now. 

 

Oh yeah. Probably a couple million or, or more, yeah. Right. 

 

So, my boss said to me at one point, uh, Dude, relax at some point, this is gonna, you say dude in the seventies.

 

Yeah, no, just keep with, stay with me. 

 

He said, Brendan dude... believe me. This is gonna become easy . It'll become easy. At some point.

 

You'll get used to it and, and it sort of helped. And the reason why it's sticks with me is since then I've done a whole bunch of deals, way, way bigger than that.

 

 But it is... it's the sort of thing.

 

You get used to it. 

 

And once you get used to it, making the ask, it's much easier.  And you become more comfortable.

 

And it becomes more natural to deliver it. 

 

And so, yes. So practicing helps. Keeping it simple. 

 

Keeping it not sleazy.

 

So don't turn into one of these... would you rather accept delivery on Tuesday or Thursday.

 

Don't do that.

 

Or how would you like it green? Or do you want it in red?

 

You know, that sort of Tom... what's his name? 

 

Or how, how will you feel if your competitors get this and you don't. 

 

Yeah. Yeah. By the way, there are ways to say that.

 

You can say that, but not that overtly. 

 

Not like that. Right? Yeah. I think that's a good... that's a very good technique. 

 

Hey, we should come back to that. That should be a future episode. 

 

Definitely. I would like to hear that.

 

In fact, I was coaching, uh, gal yesterday... really sharp. I'm really impressed with what she's building.

 

And that's exactly one of the strategies we're going after...

 

because she's calling on certain financial services companies and they, they, they don't wanna be left out.

 

So she's gonna sell the one and that's gonna create a little bit of a feeding frenzy and so... that's a very powerful technique.

 

Yeah. 

 

Yes. We'll come back to that. That's a future episode, right? Yeah. That's down on your list of future episodes. 

 

Oh, there's so many now. 

 

That's good. So, so anyway, uh, is that good? 

 

Yeah, I think so. I think we covered that really well, but you know what? Think you've 

 

gotta have an ask. Yeah. So here's the, if you don't have 

 

an ask, you have you've earned the right.

 

So if you explain to someone what you're doing, you've built this up. You've built the trust, the credibility. 

 

If you don't make an ask the person at the end's gonna think you wasted their time. Yeah. 

 

Well, 

 

I mean, you owe them the solution at that point.  Here's one of the things... this goes back to the whole sales process and that is...

 

At some point you've got alignment and you've got an agreement.

 

You know that there's a fit. You've so you've earned... as you've said, you've earned the trust. 

 

You've earned the right to ask... hey let's move this forward. Does it make sense to move this forward?

 

Whatever that is. And yes, you're doing them a disservice by not continue to move this forward... if there's a fit.

 

If you've established that. 

 

So, where I'd leave this now is... if someone listening has a particular ask or wants to refine it, reach out to us.

 

Hello at Let's Chat Sales dot com. You send us an email and we'll, um,  chat. We'll we'll chat with you. Yeah, that's what we do chat, right. 

 

Love to chat. All right. So we like to chat more than just sales. Yes, we do. We do. 

 

All right. All right. Not for now, Bob, what do you think?

 

Yes. Yes. I hope we get to come back sometime soon. 

 

I think we'll probably will. Hey, we're over 50. We're over 50 some episodes now. 

 

Oh, I thought you were talking about our years of life... 

 

Barely... but in terms of episodes, well over 50 now. Yes. Alright, man, I'll talk to you soon. All right.

 

Take care. You Bob. 

 

Okay. That was another episode of Let's Chat Sales and as always... thank you for listening and watching and the stuff that you do. 

 

And by all means, if you liked it... click the button, do the, thank you the like and subscribe things and share with your friends. And look at this one right here. This'll be a good one. 

 

I think this is, is a good one.