At some point, you’ll eventually have to make the ask in the sales conversations you’re having. Rarely, if ever, does the prospect sign on the dotted line without some form of coaxing or an ask being made.
But understanding when to ask can be tricky.
The earlier in the process you ask, the smaller the return is likely to be. The longer you leave it, on the other hand, the bigger the ask can be.
It all relies on building trust, and authority, and demonstrating your thinking. Without those, you’ll get short change from the ask you’ve been building up to.
There are stages of the relationship to consider, as well as how direct your ask will be. Let’s take a closer look.
Direct vs relationship building
As you’ll probably have understood from our content by now, we’re all about the relationship. Sales can’t exist without them. And the relationship is key when it comes to making the ask that you’ve been planning.
Sure, you can go direct in the first instance – perhaps a seven or an eight on the sales-y score – but your ask would have to be small.
The longer you build your relationships, and built genuine rapport along the way, the bigger your ask can be.
But it’s about more than that. Eventually, you’ll want your prospect to buy something else and progress further up the sales ladder towards the premium offer. And you can’t do that without building relationships.
If you’ve built a genuine relationship, it becomes much easier for both you and your prospect to progress to the next stage and develop an ongoing back-and-forth that is mutually beneficial.
Nurture vs the cold ask
If you’re conducting sales outreach, then you’ll be actively nurturing your prospects. Sure, you could go in with your ask immediately – but when was the last time that ever worked for anyone consistently?
As you gently nurture your leads with content, thought leadership, case studies, and genuine conversations, over time you’ll be able to prove that you can back up what you’re talking about.
Conversely, the cold ask is unlikely to get you far. If you open conversations with offers of free trials or general sales spiele, your audience is likely to label you as an annoyance above anything else.
You see, the whole process is about provoking discussion so you can form those genuine bonds that allow you to accelerate into a growth mindset.
With genuine discussion, actual relationships, and well-thought-out content, you can begin to close deals far more naturally.
Something to leave you with
It’s clear then that the cold ask drastically reduces your chances of closing a deal, but building relationships is the way forward.
That still doesn’t answer the question of “When do I ask?”.
And the truth is that there’s no easy time to ask. Only through intuition and understanding of social cues will you be able to understand when the time is right.
However, if you invest as much time into building relationships as you do your product or service, the answer should become obvious.