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It amazes me how often sales professionals finish the sales process without actually asking the clients for their business.

You identify an ideal prospect, you network, you make the introduction, you set up a meeting.

You pitch your capabilities.

You connect with the client and establish a relationship, demonstrate why you’re the right choice.

You then wrap up your final presentation with…

… Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you…

After all of that… you failed to actually “ASK” for what you wanted from the very beginning.

How can you close a sale without asking for the business?

You may think you can. But you can’t.

You can present, you can review, you can respond – but if you don’t ask, you can’t close.

Why not Ask?

Some sales professionals say it is not their style to come right out and ask – that it is too forward.

Others say that by presenting their capabilities, they did ask. They didn’t.

A few actually say they don’t ask because the prospect might say ‘no’. Isn’t it better to ask and find out sooner than later?

Asking for the business reaffirms to the client that you WANT to work with them. You WANT to be their partner. You WANT to help them achieve their goals.

When to Ask

You can ONLY ask for the business after you’ve earned the right to do so.

Otherwise it can sound incredibly awkward, inappropriate, and desperate:

Hi, my name is Joe Simpson and I really want your business

To earn the right to “ASK” you MUST first do two things:

1. Establish Trust with the client

2. Demonstrate that you (or your company) are capable of helping that specific client

Once you’ve accomplished this, you’ve earned a ‘seat at the table’. Asking for the business is a natural, next step toward forging a mutually beneficial partnership.

Ways to Ask

While the message is important, there is flexibility in how you apply it. Remember, you have built trust with the client – incorporating your individual style into the ASK is critical. Be clear and direct but also be yourself – the most important way to ask is to do so sincerely.

While there is no ideal way to “ask for the business”, below are some sample expressions to use as guidelines:

I can deliver on what I just promised you, and I’d like the opportunity to show you

We want to partner with you

We’ve been excited about the chance to work with you from the beginning, we’d like to start

If you have established trust and provided the client every reason to be confident in your organization then “The Ask” will come and be received naturally.

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Lou Diamond is the Founder & CEO of Thrive – a leading consulting and coaching company helping the best people and companies become even more amazing. He is also the author of the newly released international best-selling book “Master the Art of Connecting“.