Seth Godin, the famed marketing expert, titles a recent post, “It doesn’t hurt to ask”.
He then quickly back-pedals and announces that actually, it does hurt. It does hurt to ask the wrong way, to ask without preparation, to ask without permission. It hurts because you never get another chance to ask right.
He then offers the following sage advice: invest some time and earn the right to ask. Do your homework. Build connections. Make a reasonable request, something easy and mutually beneficial. Yes leads to yes which just maybe leads to the engagement you were actually seeking.
Of course any red-blooded sales person may feel that they must ask for the order. In some cases it is the only way. However if you have prepared the ground well, there is a better way.
In a way it is almost an outcome of the Internet. Now consumers are in the driving seat. They can search and find the possible choices and do research on the features and benefits. If your company can be visible on the Internet and stand out from the competition (that old Unique Selling Proposition), then it may well be that the prospect comes calling on your company.
In such cases, they are the ones doing the asking. That’s a very much better scenario. You avoid all those risks that Seth Godin was warning against. This situation is certainly something that is worth striving to create. It is exactly the same approach that was suggested for overcoming cold calling resistance.
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