Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937 and his teachings and wisdom ring as true today as they did back then. Hill talked about the idea that people often give up on their goals “three feet from gold”. Hill told the story about a Mr. Darby who was mining for gold but then quit, without knowing, that he was just three feet away from the gold he was searching for. Hill wrote, “More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known, told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.”
Working with Sales Professionals and Entrepreneurs for the past fifteen years, I’ve learned that their biggest challenge has been getting to “yes” when they have already heard “no”. But there is a way. Often, in the words of Napoleon Hill, their “yes” is “three feet ” away.
So what does it really mean to be “three feet” from a yes? During the sales process, most Sales Professionals and Entrepreneurs never ask for the sale. They might talk a lot. They might assume that their prospect knows what they are asking. They might even ask what their prospect wants to buy. However, they never really ask for the sale, or if they do and hear a “no”, they immediately give up.
Giving up too soon is an epidemic in our country-not only in the world of selling, but really in every aspect of our lives. We give up when things get tough. My husband, Tim and I, have been on a new workout regime for the past nine months. I have always been active, but this new plan has really pushed us to new levels of physical fitness. There were many times I wanted to give up, but I knew that I was getting healthier and stronger, so I continued to push myself.
It is the same in sales-you have to build strong muscles so that are you willing to keep going even when your prospect seems to be leaning toward no. Remember, if you have a strong belief that your product or service solves a major problem for your clients, then it is your duty to ask for the sale.
A few weeks ago, I was delivering a 45-minute workshop at a local venue in Orange County, California on Selling with Intention. After the seminar, I received a Facebook message from one of the attendees. He shared with me that he had used one of the questions that I had taught during the seminar and easily closed a sale the following morning with a prospect that had said, “no” initially.
The question is so simple that you might say, “But I already know that”. My response would be, “Great, but are you asking it?” The question to ask your prospect is simply, “What would it take for this product or service to be a fit for you?” I love this question because it quickly roots out all of the objections so you can then move into asking for the sale. Once they answer you, you know exactly what they really want and can then solve their problem by offering them a customized solution. After you have the solution, just say, “Great, so which package would you like” or, “Great, which day would you like to begin” and then ask them to sign your contract or ask for their method of payment. It’s really that simple.
Action Item: Find someone to role play with and ask them to give you a “no”. Then, ask the magical question, “What would it take for this product or service to be a fit for you?” Once they tell you, ask them to take the next step and close the sale!
Closing the sale isn’t difficult when you are willing to keep asking your prospect questions and figuring out how to solve their problem. Find out what it will take to serve them-you might just be surprised at their answer!