Linked in ask for businessOver the years I have worked with an awful lot of business owners, one of the biggest challenges lot of them face is ‘closing the deal’ – actually asking for the business.

It’s one thing to talk about what you do how you can help people, what results clients have had from working with you, but actually placing people in a position where they have to say yes or no to you can feel a lot more threatening. the thing is most of this is about you the business owner, your fear; fear that you might get rejected, fear you may come across as too pushy or worse too needy. The conversation should be about your potential client and what they need, and far too often they are left hanging; unsure of their next move.

Managing you’re own fears or stories around closing a deal is much easier when you have a system, a process you follow every time, a process which takes the focus off you and keeps it where it should be on the potential client and what he /she needs.  Here is the simple three step process I use:

Asking for their business is important for your client as well as for you, chances are they are waiting to hear the next step, they may even be ready to launch into the journey, but can’t if they don’t know how to start. So treat asking for the business as part of the conversation, not an awkward segway at the end.   follow these three simple steps to keep things conversational and close the deal.

  1. Clarify their needs
  2. Summarise where they are
  3. Ask for the business

1.  Clarify their needs

Have a conversation with your potential client. Ask clarifying questions throughout, so you will be in a better position to match your skills to their requirements. You can get the conversation started by asking them three simple questions:

  • “Tell me about your current situation.”
  • “How would you like this situation to be in the future?”
  • “What would be a good solution for you?”

Do this part properly and they will tell you what they will but from you, or how you can best help them. They won’t tell you directly of course, this is where you listen attentively, continue to ask good qualifying questions until you have a clear picture of how to help. The best of this is most of us love being heard, we feel good that people are interested and taking the time to listen, so your credibility factor is already on the up.

2.  Summarise

You can then summarise their main points, to ensure that you have understood their needs. Tell them how you have helped others in a similar situation. Then follow with your solution for them and how you can potentially help them move from their current situation, and on to their desired end result.  This applies to seeing a product just as much as a service – seeing product goes way beyond practical application. The ‘want it’ factor, the emotional connection and what it will do for them are all  important.  Make sure you are clear at this stage about what specific business you are going to ask for.

3. Ask for the business!

Finally, ask for the business – ask in a way that sits comfortably with you. If you are congruent with what you believe and confident in your offer, you’ll avoid coming across as pushy or needy.

For example:

  • “I’d love to work with you on this project, I believe we can achieve what you want (use an example from conversation) – when would you like to start?”
  • If you would like this (product you’ve talked about) now all you need to do is ….. Is that ok?
  • “When you are ready to go ahead, you will need to give me your card details. Would you like to do that now, so we can get started immediately?”
  • “Do you have any questions, or are you happy to proceed?”
  • “Is there anything more you need from me, or shall we now schedule your first appointment into my diary?”

Here are a few questions for you to answer about your own behaviour.

  1. Do you avoid directly asking for the business?
  2. How do you currently ask for the business?
  3. What one action will you take to move this forward?

Like most things in business you get better and more confident about asking for the business by doing it, so get out and get started.

Share your thoughts and advice in the comments box below.