I always remember working with a guy that came to see me who said, “I need help getting a girlfriend”. Now I can’t remember exactly why he came to see me (I don’t think I was his type) but I guess he wanted more confidence or something like that. I do remember, however, asking him a very simple question. “How many girls have you asked out in the last 2 years?” His response was simple but expected, “None!” he replied incredulously.
Now the truth is, you are probably reading this thinking, “Well of course… if you don’t ask you don’t get! That’s obvious”, however, it is amazing how many businesses are often guilty of this same error. When people ring us with new enquiries we want prospects to go ahead with us and become paying clients, yet often we are not asking them directly for the work. Instead most of us are saying things like, “IF you want to go ahead give us a call back!”
This is not asking directly for the work. (In fact, this would probably be the worst chat up line ever. I am pretty sure that the guy who walks across the dance floor to a girl and says, “IF you want to go out sometime let me know” and then walks off, is probably not going home that night with someone on his arm!)
The trouble is, many professionals (especially within professional service industries) see “asking for the work” as being “too pushy” or “too salesy”.
One of the reasons for this is that, for some reason people think of new enquiries coming in as cold calls! However, they are not cold calls at all… they are, in fact, warm leads. Think about it, they are ringing you because they need help with a problem or a particular issue that your business can help them with. They are asking for your help!
An example of a real cold call would be a family lawyer ringing people out of the telephone directory at random, asking them, “Are you happy with your husband?” I hope this distinction is becoming clear.
So stop and realize that the most important key to winning more work is… to ask people directly for the work!
Simply say something along the lines of (and avoid the IF alternative):
“I’m absolutely certain that we will be able to give you the best help and support that there is, can we get things started?”
(Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images at FreedigitalPhotos.net)