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ASK, You'll Close More Sales

by Ken Scott


Your price was right. Your product was exactly what the client wanted. Your presentation was well written and your delivery schedule was great. But you lost the sale.

How many times have you lived that nightmare? When it does happen you can spend days trying to figure out why. One reason could be you forgot to ASK. What about your dealings in house? Do other sales reps get better support from staff personnel? Do they seem to have your managers ear? Once again you may want to ASK.

ASK is a method of choosing the words you communicate with to be sure the other person gets maximum reception. It is a system of communicating that we are all born with. Most people are familiar with the two great families of computers, IBM or Apple. A program done in one has problems working in the other system. They have to be converted. The same thing happens with people.

We have three distinct styles of communicating. Some people communicate through their ears. We need to play them a symphony. Some people communicate with their eyes. We need to paint them pictures. Some people communicate with their hearts. We need to hold them gently. The three styles are auditory (A), sight (S) and kinesthetic (K). The shortcut is to remember ASK.

What does this mean to selling?
The majority of studies show that sales are made when the client trusts and believes the sales person. You are as much of the sale as your product or service. We trust people the most when we feel they are like us. One way we determine if a person is developing rapport with us is by intuitively sensing the communication style they use. If our styles are the same, rapport increase. If our styles differ, we can understand what they present, but it seems to be out of sync for some reason. It has static like a radio that is not tuned in properly. While the music is great, the static causes an irritation and we tune out for a different station.

You can build great rapport and assure that your client tunes you in by discovering their style and using it in all your communications with that client. If I am an auditory (A) you will want to use auditory style communications in your presentations to me. The style is mostly reflected in our choice of words.

You can determine a person's style by listening very carefully to them and the words they use to describe things. This is done by first knowing the key words and phrases that indicate the three styles. Then, when you meet with a client, your note taking should focus on "quoting" the client. With the quotes in your notes, you will then highlight the key words to determine their style. Here is how to deal with the three styles:

  • Auditories (A) use words that are sound related. They respond best to oral presentations, audio tapes and any way that your product or service can be demonstrated using sound. The words that will tip you off to an auditory are: hear, mention, listen, remark, discuss, speechless, tell, tune, inquire and describe. Phrases include: loud and clear; to tell the truth; call on; clear as a bell; hidden message; rings a bell and unheard of.

  • Sight (S) people are picture oriented. They want to see demonstrations, pictures, charts and videos. The words are: see, picture, show, examine, illustrate, survey, vision, vague, obvious and scrutinize. Popular "S" phrases are: in light of; make a scene; appears to be; mind's eye; take a peek; paint a picture and bird's eye view.

  • Kinesthetics (K) want to touch the world. They respond best to hands on demonstration. The are influenced by your paper stock, the physical quality of everything you present. Their key words are: feel, grip, grasp, hold, hunch, intuition, hassle and dull. The popular phrases: get a load of; hand in hand; pull some strings; boils down to and sharp as a tack.

How do you apply the ASK system?
Let's assume you sell copiers. Once you determine your client is a sight person, you use that language. Your responses will be: "let me show you the ease of loading paper"; "can you picture yourself using spot color "; "is this clear to you the way our guarantee works"; "how do you envision this helping you speed up your production schedules" and "You'll soon see a shorter line up at the copier." You will also want to incorporate these words and phrases into your written presentation.

What do you do if you don't know a person's style? The world has provided us with neutral words. These are usually thought oriented. Neutral words include: think, consider, manage, discover, permit, believe and develop. Neutrals are words that do not appeal to a sense of sound, sight or feel.

Trust and belief will increase you sales dramatically. Your clients will trust you more when you start to ASK. Do it today! ASK, you will close more sales.


This article was originally posted on a site called SalesDoctors, that sadly seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs. 



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