If you do it wrong (and it’s so easy to to do it wrong), it’s abrupt, awkward, and inauthentic. You end up alienating the person and you both walk away disappointed.
So how do you ask for the sale? How do you get yourself in a position where what you're asking doesn’t feel forced or completely out of nowhere? It starts with asking yourself a few questions.
Here’s how I break it down.
When I meet someone for the first time, my goal is to figure out what our relationship is going to be as quickly as possible. How do I frame our interactions? Is it going to be a student/mentor relationship? Who’s the student? Who’s the mentor? Is this a potential prospect for doing business?
If the person you’re talking to seems like a great prospect, it’s time to figure out a few things about them.
If you’re going to work with someone, you’re going to want to like them. Why bother building rapport with someone you can’t stand?
So as you interact with someone, ask yourself: Am I getting good energy from you? Do you stand for things that I stand for? Are your stances opposed to mine? Are you self centered? Do I like being around you? Listen and learn throughout your conversation to decide if this is someone you really want to work with.
So you’ve found someone you like. Great! The next step is determining if they have work you can do.
If the person you’re talking to needs help landscaping, that’s nice, but you’re probably not the person to help them. They may have work opportunities, but they’re not for you. It’s up to you to decide how much time you want to put into talking with someone who just doesn’t need what you can provide.
Before you can continue your dialogue with a potential prospect, you have to know if a sale is actually feasible. I meet with a lot of people who want to hire us, but the budget just isn’t there.
Research as much about the person as you can before you meet with them. It will help you determine if they can afford you. Check out their LinkedIn profile. See what they’re working on, or who they’re working for. Is their business the kind that can afford you?
Still not sure? Ask. It's as simple as that. Ask, “Do you have a budget? Do you mind sharing it with us?” Or ask, “What have you spent in the past?” If they don’t want to give you a straight answer, try saying something like, "Give me an average – I won’t hold you to it.”
The more you know about the person you’re meeting with, the easier it will feel to ask for the sale. These three questions will help you figure out if this is someone you want to work with. The answers will help you build the rapport that will make the ask go more smoothly. Put in the work early in the relationship and you’ll be rewarded when the time comes to ask for the sale.