I have cold called 100 companies, 99 turned me down, I secured a meeting with one company, designed a presentation/pitch custom tailored for the prospect, and I delivered the pitch perfectly. Great, all the hard work is done right? Wrong. After a successful prospecting journey culminating with the solid pitch of your value add comes the dreaded question. Asking for the business.
The CEO of a large organization once said to me (In my second ever sales pitch) “Son, nice presentation but if you don’t ask for the business I am not going to give it to you.” From that point on I understood the importance of the final few statements in a pitch meeting.
There are a few different approaches for this: Trial Close, Assumptive Close, or simply asking for the business. All of these options lead to just 3 possible outcomes: Yes, No, Not Now. Once you have dangled the final statement/close out there in front of your prospect it is time to sit back, for he/she who talks first loses.
Trial Close: The trial close is a culmination of your entire relationship to date, putting the buyer in a position to make a decision on the spot. It would go something like this: “Mr./Ms. Buyer now that we have illustrated the value that we believe we can add, can you see this working in your organization?” Be sure to pull in anything specific from the presentation that got the buyer excited. If you did your job and are selling a good product, it will be tough for the buyer to say no to this question. Remember they met with you for a reason.
Assumptive Close: You have to tread carefully with this option as it can come across as aggressive and pushy to the wrong buyer. Following the presentation, assuming it went well, you would very simply assume that the buyer is going to enter into a business relationship with you. It would go something like this: “All we have to do now is to sign the paperwork Mr./Ms. Buyer, here you go.” Or “Okay well all we need is half up front to get started”.
Asking for the business: This one is the softest of the approaches and takes the most skill to truly achieve as you want to be guiding them the entire presentation so that they assume the close for you. This is done through guiding the conversation while letting the buyer think that they are leading the charge. The statement at the end is typically less important as you have already gotten intellectual commitment. But an example might be something like this: “We would love an opportunity to work with you Mr./Ms. Buyer. “
Whatever your approach is just remember that you have to ask for the business in one way or another. The easiest way to get good at this is just swallow your pride and ask the tough question.