Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Boost Your Business

The gift called asking has been around for a long, long time. In fact, one of life's fundamental truths states, ask and you shall receive. Kids are masters at using this gift but we adults seem to lose our ability to ask. We come up with all sorts of excuses and reasons to avoid any possibility of rejection. Yet the world responds to those who ask. If you are not moving closer to what you want in sales (or in life), you probably aren't doing enough asking. Here are 7 asking strategies you should be implementing into your business to boost your bottom line: (and remember - all these strategies can be used in others of your life as well)

Asking Strategy #1 - Ask For InformationTo win potential new clients, you first need to know what their current challenges are, what they want to accomplish and how they plan to do it. Only then can you proceed to demonstrate the advantages of your unique product or service. Ask questions starting with the words, who, why, what, where, when and how to obtain the information you need. Only when you truly understand and appreciate the needs of a prospect can you offer a solution.

Asking Strategy # 2 - Ask For Business Here's an amazing statistic: After doing a complete presentation about the benefits of their product or service, more than 60 percent of the timesalespeople never ask for the order! That's a bad habit, and one that could ultimately put you out of business.
Always ask a closing question to secure the business. Don't waffle, talk around it, or worse, wait for your prospect to ask you. You have read good suggestions for these questions, like "Would you like to give it a try?' The point is, just ask.

Asking Strategy #3 - Ask For Written Endorsements Well-written, results-oriented testimonials from highly respected people are powerful for future sales. They solidify the quality of your work and leverage you as a person who has integrity, is trustworthy and who gets the job done on time. Yet most people in sales don't do this. That gives you a great opportunity to jump ahead of your competition. All you need to do is ask. When is the best time? Right after you have provided excellent service, completed a major project under budget, gone the extra mile to help out, or any other time you've made your customer really happy.
Simply ask if your customer would be willing to give you a testimonial about the value of your product or service, plus any other helpful comments.

Asking Strategy #4 - Ask For Top-Quality Referrals Just about everyone in business knows the importance of referrals. It's the easiest, least-expensive way of ensuring your growth and success in the marketplace. In our experience, however, only one out of ten companies has a system for gathering referrals.
Your core clients will gladly give you referrals because you treat them so well. So why not ask all of them for referrals? It's a habit that will dramatically increase your income. Like any other habit, the more you do it the easier it becomes.


Asking Strategy #5 - Ask For More Business Salespeople lose thousands of dollars in sales every year because they have nothing more to offer after the initial sale. Look for other products or services you can provide your customers. Devise a system that tells you when your clients will require more of your products. The simplest way is to ask your customers when you should contact them to reorder. It's often easier to sell your existing clients more than to go looking for new ones.

Asking Strategy #6 - Ask To Renegotiate Regular business activities include negotiation. Many salespeople get stuck because they lack skills in negotiation. It's another form of asking that can save a lot of time and money. All sorts of contracts can be renegotiated in your own personal life like changing your mortgage terms and rate. As long as you negotiate ethically and in the spirit of win-win, you can enjoy a lot of flexibility. Nothing is ever cast in store.

Asking Strategy #7 - Ask For Feedback This is an important component of asking that is often overlooked. How do you really know if your product or service is meeting the needs of your customer? Ask them, "How are we doing? What can we do to improve our service to you? Tell us what you like about our products and what you don't like. " Set up regular customer surveys that ask good questions and tough questions. It's a way to fine-tune your business.

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