Asking for the [Next] Sale

If you’ve been involved in, or studied “sales” at all, you are aware that much of the work comes in actually asking for the sale. If you skip this step, no sale is likely to be made, and no-one wins.

Pretty obvious.

But, let me tell you a quick story.

In the past 5 weeks me and my wife have been going to dinner weekly with an awesome younger couple we actually met while dining. We tend to eat out a lot, and during one evening experiencing a new Mediterranean restaurant in town, my wife struck up a conversation with the couple next to us. They already had their food, and we were interested in how it was. A conversation quickly started, and they stayed to talk while we eventually got our order, and finished supper.

Normally, this sort of thing would end with an exchange of information, and talk of getting together for dinner in the future.

If you’ve ever had anything remotely similar happen to you, you are well aware that there is virtually no chance of either party calling and setting up a future engagement. This applies to running into an old friend, a chance business meeting, etc..

So, instead of leaving it to chance, I pretty much “forced” the issue, by helping to arrange the next meeting then and there. We chose where and when to meet the following week on the spot, without putting it off. We’ve gone out every week using the same technique. Arranging our next meeting at the end of our current one.

It’s not rocket science. It’s really simple! But many businesses which *could* practice this, simply don’t. The consequences are that they throw money away on gaining that first customer, but not following up and asking for the NEXT sale immediately. Their new clients drift elsewhere, or otherwise forget about the positive experience they had with the business owner.

This can be applied to almost any service business, and is especially useful in personal services (physical and mental health, etc). It’s also practiced online with “One Time Offers”, and other tactics which basically do the same thing. Customers are immediately presented with another offer, while the positive effects of the first are still lingering.

Think about how you can create your follow up sale during the initial one. You may just strike gold for almost no extra work.

Oh, and it works for things other than sales, as described in my true story.

Let me, and others know how you might apply this to situations you face by commenting below!

Thanks,

Tim

About Tim Gary

I live in Reno, NV with my wife Careen, and the ever so talented kitty named Milo. Programmer by trade, web surfer and learner for fun, I have a ton of interests, and you'll hear about each of them in time!

15 Responses to Asking for the [Next] Sale

  1. Dara May 21, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    While I do see the validity in a lot of what you’re saying, I do think there are some flaws in this theory…one, unless you have a face-to-face meeting with potential clients, it is more difficult to communicate effectively enough to close a deal then and there. I also think it can backfire. For example, if you pushed the topic of meeting up again right then and there to the couple while dining, they likely felt pressured/on the spot. I don’t think that’s the best first step to making friends.

  2. Ryan Healy@Business Growth May 19, 2009 at 8:24 am #

    Tim – Great story. I can totally relate to meeting couples (at a restaurant, park, etc.), but then never getting together. I like your suggestion to set up a get-together before you even part ways.

    I guess an example of this in blogging might be Action Comments — it asks for people to subscribe to your main email list when you submit a comment.

    Ryan

  3. tina@frisco tx homes May 7, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

    I have always been an outgoing person, so while I have been at restaurants or a bar, or where ever, I have struck up conversations with potential clients, however I have had good conversations go bad, when I tell them who I am and give them a business card. I had one gentleman, say what where just talking to be for a sale? I have learned to take it much easier now and let the game come to me.

  4. ?? May 6, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

    I have a funny story about this. When I was a kid I went to an ENT doctor’s, becuase my nose was stuffed all the time. But even after I got better, I kept going there becuase everytime I went there and finished the treatment, the receptionist said “so, next Wednesday is fine with you?” and kept going there. Finally I asked the doctor himself when I can stop coming, and he said “Oh, you are fine already.” What da!! :)

  5. Lenovo Coupons May 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    Realy interesting post. I think much of life is like this, in terms of passing by on new opportunities. I have to admit, if someone dining next to me started a conversation, and then wanted to schedule another dinner.. I would be somewhat uncomfortable. But that’s just me.

    Another example is when I go to my hair cut, they make sure to schedule the next appointment before I leave.

  6. Myrtle Beach Golf April 30, 2009 at 9:13 am #

    Very true! I hate it when I see people and swear that we’ll be better at keeping touch or get together and then the follow up never occurs! I agree that a “then and now” approach is needed for some types of people, myself included. Thanks for the post!

  7. El@horses for sale April 24, 2009 at 4:53 am #

    That’s such an awesome sales tactic (and really useful for making dates with friends and family). I guess taking it one step further; frequent arrangements like this lead to habits forming, which obviously makes sales and meetings easier.

  8. Terry@ Lab Coat April 23, 2009 at 8:30 pm #

    Can it be done through email after the first purchase? I’ve done online shopping too and I have to say that if I still have the money, a trusted seller would get the next sale immediately. This is a great tactic.

  9. Lee @ Vehicle Hire April 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    I think the problem is that everyone wants to ask for the sale but they are just too scared…scared of the reaction??

  10. ny web design April 22, 2009 at 6:48 am #

    That was a good example for the point you are trying to make. I am a medical student and what I am planning to do when I graduate and have my own clinic is to make sure that I follow-up on my patients and giving their next appointment dates. Also by calling them up the day before their appointment to make sure they are going. That will help them feel important and the same time it somehow shows that I am selling my services to them.

  11. Print Matt April 21, 2009 at 11:12 pm #

    I think the impact of the “next” sale is even greater if you leave a good impression on your customers during the “first” sale.

  12. Nancy@Life Insurance Quotes April 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    You are right…I believe there was a study done on this. As soon as customers make a first purchase, they’re already in a “purchasing mood” and are more likely to purchase if you ask them right then and there. That’s why when you go to buy a car, they always try to get you to purchase all these add-ons. It doesn’t really work as well if they ask you the following week or month!

  13. Play Kitchens April 16, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    I really enjoyed this post. Your story reminded me so much of a similar situation, and guess what, we exchanged numbers and neither of us have called even though I really enjoyed their company. People often say, “I’m not a sales person” but aren’t we constantly selling “ourselves” in every situation? Great post!

  14. Dan Gazaway April 15, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

    Outstanding article Tim!
    I’ve been in sales for 10 years now and it is amazing to me how many people are great presenters until it comes to asking for the sale. What a great analogy of asking for the sale and setting up an appointment for the next dinner date. Everyone can relate to that one.
    I really enjoy reading your articles. I found your site tonight and will continue to visit. Keep it up!

  15. khaled@Van leasing April 15, 2009 at 5:38 am #

    How would you apply this to online sales? with the use of a newsletter is the only thing I can think of. You have no personal face to face contact with your customers, but you can ask them to sign up to a news letter where you can present them with offers and remind them about your site. Do you think that the reason most people don’t meet up is because the gesture of invitation is just done out of formability rather than any actual desire to want to meet up. (Just a thought)