Sales is the best profession in the world for multiple reasons. One of them is that we can (and do) practice it all the time and everywhere we go. The trick is to actively think about practicing sales and to pay attention. If you have kids, you negotiate all the time (“you want to stay up late? Do your homework.”) Sales is everywhere, and if we pay attention we can use these everyday interactions and opportunities to practice, so when it really counts (in front of a customer) we have the confidence and skills we need to get what we want.
The next time you go to a hotel, ask what their occupancy rate is. If they tell you anything less than 100%, ask for an upgrade and see what they say.
The next time you go to buy clothes, ask if there is an upcoming sale and see if they can give you the discount early. Whenever you’re buying something significant, ask the person taking your money if there are any special promotions going on right now that you could benefit from.
And at the end of the day, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Are they going to throw you out for asking? The worst they can say is no.
You’d be amazed at how simply asking the question gets you extra stuff that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Getting the extra stuff isn’t even the biggest benefit of adopting this type of mentality and approach. The biggest benefit is getting used to asking for things that others might think would be uncomfortable. If you get comfortable doing this in your person life when it doesn’t matter as much, then you’ll be much more comfortable doing it in your professional life.
To highlight how getting comfortable asking for things that other people might feel uncomfortable asking for in a business setting, let’s look at getting access to “power.”
One of the biggest issues we see in sales is that reps consistently sell to people below the power line. These are people who can say no all day long but can never say yes.
Many sales reps avoid asking these people for introductions to the people in power because they’re afraid of offending them or whatever. In our experience, sometimes simply asking them to introduce you opens the door to a much more effective sale.
You have to ask it the right way and for the right reasons but simply having the confidence to say something like “You mentioned that these other 3 people were going to be involved in this decision. Could you introduce me to them, so I can ask them a few questions and gain their insight so as I develop the solution I can make sure I address everyone’s needs?” Seems like a logical approach, right?
If they say no, then it’s ok, but I would just start paying attention and thinking a little harder about who you are dealing with and if they are actively blocking you for some reason. On the other hand, if they say yes, then you are in a much better position that you were before.
Again, just having the confidence to ask the question and as Ben Affleck said in Boiler Room – “Act as if” you usually get way further than you would otherwise. Go practice on someone today. Make it happen!