Closing the sale concept

Being successful in the sales world is not for the faint of heart — particularly for those who lament the idea of rejection. Even if a salesperson is knowledgable on the market, can share an informative sales pitch and accurately answer any questions, a lot of opportunities can fall flat because of the fear of being told “no.”

While it seems obvious in-principle to ask the customer for a sale before the call ends or the prospect walks out the door, an article from Engage Selling depicts just how often that can happen — and how millions of dollars can be left on the table because an assertiveness to ask the direct question was lacking. To help salespeople in the cleaning industry overcome this common issue, the piece outlines six actionable strategies to overcome fear of rejection during a pitch. 

1. Practice Makes Perfect. One of the biggest reasons people don’t directly ask for the sale is because they feel awkward doing so. Yet like anything that feels daunting or uncomfortable at first, repeated practice anyway will eventually re-wire the mind into making it just another part of the process. Without the reps, though, this is impossible to attain. 

2. Defining the Next Step. Another issue salespeople make is assuming the customer has a clear idea of how to purchasing process goes. Perhaps they would have said yes to the sale if they were directly asked, but the confusion on their part combined with the seller’s reluctance led to nothing culminating. To avoid this, questions such as “What would you like to do next here” or “Are you ready to go ahead” can provide clarity to the situation. 

3. Reviewing the Sales Pipeline. Considering how many inquiries the average salesperson makes, it can be easy to lose track of sales opportunities without an organized system. By keeping on top of records, it can open the door for opportunities that weren’t necessarily a guarantee, but the door isn’t closed on them either.

4. Expect the Unexpected. This doesn’t just refer to unexpected rejection after a sales pitch that felt promising, but for other potential opportunities that can arise from directly asking for the sale. Even if the customer says no to the initial offer, it could lead to discussions about similar products or services that are a better fit. 

5. Practice the Perspective of the Customer. Knowing the correct context of when to ask for the sale can be as important as the ask itself. By doing role-play exercises where the salesperson pretends to be the potential customer, they can better analyze why the prospect is seeking out a product or service. By doing so frequently, the salesperson can hone in on the intriguing details and plan the direct-ask around them. 

6. Seek Feedback. If a salesperson is either not asking for the sale or failing to do so properly, a common remedy is seeking third-party advice for coaching. By having a co-worker, mentor or manager shadow a sales meeting or call, they can study your methods and point out mistakes that perhaps the salesperson can’t catch themselves because they’re too worried about keeping up with the customer conversation. 

For related insight, check out a recent Sanitary Maintenance column from sales expert Jim Peduto on the five habits of highly effective salespeople