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If You Want The Sale, Just Ask For It

You can’t get the sale until you ask for it. That may seem too simple, but just ask.
“Yes,” you say, “but when do you ask? What’s the perfect time?” How do I know? No one knows that except you. I can only tell you, it’s a delicate combination of the prospect’s buying signals and your gut feeling.
How and what to ask are easier to define than when. Since the “asking” is a critical part of the sale, you'd better be prepared with a number of options for the how and what parts.

Important note: You should never ask: “What will it take for me to get your business?” or “What will it take to earn your business?” That’s an insult. Great salespeople figure out what it takes, and then do it.
More important note: Many salespeople are “ask-reluctant.” Just remember that the worst thing that can happen is that the prospect says “no” — which to any good salesperson really means “not yet.” Big deal.
How do you ask for the sale? Here are 7.5 ways:

1. Ask “What’s the risk?” When you ask the prospect what risks are associated with doing business with you, either real objections surface or none come to mind. You say, “Well, Mr. Johnson, when would you like to start not risking?” — and the sale is yours.

2. Ask “When is the next job?” If you’re making a sale where there are many opportunities, you only need to get one to prove yourself.

3. Ask for an indirect commitment. “How many people will need to hear the presentation?” “When can we set it up?” “When can we set up training?” (This is the assumptive position.)

4. Ask “What is preventing it?” What is preventing you from doing business with us? What are the obstacles?

5. If there is an obstacle, ask “Is that the only reason?” Then say, “In other words, Mr. Johnson, if it wasn't for objection, then we could…”

6. Ask or communicate creatively. At the local five and dime, buy some plastic fencing and a few small plastic people. Wire to the fence one person who resembles the prospect and send it in a box to the prospect. Include a flyer declaring “National Get-Off-the-Fence Week.” Tell the prospect he’s been thinking about it long enough. What better time to get off the fence and place an order than during this special celebration week? Tell him he’ll be helping underprivileged salespeople all over the world by getting off the fence and placing an order. Create some laughter. Have some fun. Make some sales.

7. Create an offer so good that you can end by asking: “Fair enough?” Say to the prospect: “Mr. Johnson, I don’t know if we can help you or not. Bring your most important examples to lunch on Friday. If I can help you, I’ll tell you; and if I can’t help you, I’ll tell you that, too. Fair enough?” Here’s another, “Mr. Johnson, give me a trial order and let me earn your business. If it’s not everything I claim and more, you don’t have to pay for it. Fair enough?” The “fair-enough” strategy should always be accompanied by a can’t-say-no deal.
And when all else fails:

7.5. Ask with humor. “Mr. Johnson, I finally figured out what it will take to get your business: All you have to do is say yes!” The more adventurous salesperson will add, “When would you like to do that?”
Most important note: Ask for the sale when the mood is right. The worst possible place is in the prospect’s office. The best place is a business breakfast, lunch or dinner. Next best is your office. Next best is a trade show.
The rule of thumb is: Ask early, and ask often. The best way to master the skill is to practice in front of someone who can say “yes.”

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, can be reached at

Article reproduced by permission of RadioInk magazine

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