Will you Marry me?
Thankfully, this was not too difficult a question for my husband nearly two years ago. Luckily for him I said yes! For others, it is not so easy to ask this all-important question. Why do men and women fall short of confidence when contemplating such a status-altering question? I could probably list 101 standard reasons why not, and then some! And then you could add a few more relating to your own experiences.
Of course, the next logical step would be to brainstorm ideas and reasons of how to get around the barriers. Advice would fly in, tips and tricks to get us out of the cold shoulder moment…
So back to the point above, why is it so difficult to ask someone to become your partner in life? Well, what if I was to ask why could it be so difficult to ask someone for their business? It’s not like you are asking them to marry you, is it? Or is it? As I was contemplating this question, I thought of some personal and documented reasons why we, as business owners, do not ask for business:
They might say NO!
It is well documented in the Sales arena, that NO does not always mean “NO!” NO in business is not rejection; it may simply mean that they are not ready to listen to your pitch/proposal at this moment in time, for many possible reasons. If a prospect listens to your proposal and then maintains they are still not interested, it does not mean that you or your furniture products are not interesting; it may simply mean they are not looking to refurnish their offices right now. The biggest mistake a business owner can make here is to take this personally.
Fear of rejection
Similar to above, but goes beyond someone not being interested in your product or service. Business owners, marketers and sales professionals have built up a thick skin over time. Give yourself a chance if you are a Start Up or taking over the sales role in your own business. Remember the stats about rejection and use them to guide you to your next prospect, and not the nearest pub to drown your sorrows!
I don’t want the business
What? How could you be running a business and not want clients/customers? Many assume that if they start a business, of course they want clients. It’s a given. But some businesses are not getting clients. If you do not surround yourself with people who can help you, or talk about your products and services all the time, or look for opportunities to make contacts and more opportunities to turn those contacts into customers, then you are not looking for business.
There is a recession, don’t you know?
Well then pack your bags and go back to college, or on a very long holiday. Recession is not a reason to lose clients or not ask for business. It can cause a downturn, but if you decide there is no business to be had, then you will not ask for it. And you will drown.
So what can we do? Besides cold calling, are there other ways we can ask for business?
Networking events – Yes, it’s all about helping others connect, doing favours for others, finding out what is going on in business etc. The bottom line is, networking still provides us with a specific avenue to ask for business.
How would you make a marriage work? – Tell your wife that she looks pretty,
even if she looks like a truck.
Start wooing your customers – Connect with them, interact with them, and keep them informed about what you are doing and any new areas they should know about. Use the various off-line or on-line strategies available to encourage them to ask you for your services.
Referrals – If you have a good relationship with a client, ask them to refer your product or service, again breaking down the barriers of cold calling. Get as many contacts as possible through your existing network, and establish a basic relationship with them, with the view to asking them for business sooner rather than later.
Become the expert – Join relevant online forums and interact, asking good questions, writing blog-posts :), and answering relevant questions. Be seen and be available. Become the writer you never had time for before. Submit articles for magazines in your field. Follow this up with turning contacts into potential clients.
Improve your professional development – If you have always struggled to sell yourself, you will struggle to sell your business also. Employ a Business Coach or Mentor to help you get past the confidence issues. Attend a Sales Training session to learn more about the process and use these newfound skills to get out there and ask for business
If you don’t get out there and ask, you don’t GET!
I would love to hear your ideas on asking for business, please add them below…