Are Your Sales Lagging Because You Are Failing to Ask for the Business?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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During a presentation in front of over 50 small business owners, I was asked if I could share everything that I know about performance improvement for small businesses to individuals, what would that one simple sentence be? Immediately I knew how I would respond to that question.

As a sales professional, if you were posed that same question, how would you respond? Now, let's compare our answers.

My response is three words: Ask, Ask, Ask. Did you have the same response?

Research suggests that 80% of all new business comes from business referrals. A survey conducted by TIP in August of 2006 of financial advisors earning over $200,000 annual indicated that every advisor believed referrals were the best source for securing new direct selling business. NOTE: The second method of telephoning current clients and non-client was rated at 70%.

How do you get referrals? By simply asking. Yes, we would all like to think that our customers would freely share our name with their business associates. Sometimes, this does happen, but more often than not, we, as the sales professionals, must simply and gently ask for the referrals.

Think of a recent business networking event. Were you so busy telling about yourself, your products or services, that the selling was not happening? Did you think to ask suspects or prospects if they knew of anyone who could benefit from your products or services?

Speaking of business networking. Do you ask the necessary questions to define a prospect so that you are not wasting your time with a suspect? Many in sales who have already determined a need for their product or service forget to further qualify potential prospects by asking if they are the decision-makers and if there is a budget.

For example when I am meeting a prospect to better understand what she or he does, I always ask:

  • What can I do to help them with their business?
  • Who are their ideal clients?
  • Did you know about this particular article or website that may help you in your business?

If the meeting is to close the sale, I always make sure I ask: Where do we go from here?

Sales can grow when sales professionals remember to ask and to ask in such a way that the prospect senses sincerity coming from the sales professional. Remember, by simply asking you, as a sales professional, can quickly double business results.

P. S. Also, I always ASK for 3 solid referrals in any of my proposals or from any new clients.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith quickly doubles results for her clients from individuals (small businesses owners, entrepreneurs and young people) to large organizations by creating executable strategic action plans along with the necessary business skills to pull it off. Please feel free to contact Leanne at 219.759.5601 or visit and explore how she can help you.

P. S. Are you looking for a motivational speaker or business building speaker for that forthcoming event? Call Leanne at 219.759.5601 and see if she can meet your needs.


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