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Closing the sale - why we find it hard to ask for the order

Maria Musgrove-Wethey offers advice on how you can overcome common obstacles that get in the way of closing the sale.  

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She’s been standing in the same dress for over an hour, loves it, loves your service, has tried on every veil, talked about hair up or hair down, the champagne corks have popped, mum has shed tears, her bestie hasn’t stopped grinning and they all agree “It’s The One”... So why did she still walk away and not buy?

Was it that the dress was over budget? Was it that she had FOMO as she hadn’t tried on enough dresses? Was it that it was too early as she had no date, no venue and no idea of her theme? Or was it that you just didn’t ask for the order?

Over the last 24 years I have heard all these excuses and more from my stylists as to why we didn’t get the order today. And in reply to my question “Did you ask for the order?” the most common reply was “I didn’t need to because...she’ll be back”. And if I pushed them to follow up, they’d turn the tables on me and say “That’s way too pushy!’

If you asked your seasoned stylists to name a list of closing techniques they would easily come up with some of these:

  • Alternate Close - Would you like it in all ivory or ivory/nude?
  • Assumptive Close - What delivery date shall we go for?
  • Urgency Close - We’re cutting it fine so let’s get it ordered today.

It’s not that they don’t know how to close it’s that many salespeople find the asking for the order stage of the sales process the most difficult part. So why this reluctance even if they know all the techniques mentioned above? The root cause of this reluctance can often be psychological. I have a two step process which is to understand WHAT’S holding them back and WHY it’s ok to ask for the sale.

Here are the most common forms of reluctance and some top tips on how to overcome them:

Fear of Rejection

No one likes rejection. So much so that some stylists fear that “No” so much that they just don’t ask if the bride is ordering!

Top Tip - when your bride says “No” it may mean just not yet. Also it doesn’t mean that she’s rejecting you as a person so don’t take it personally. I quote Zig Ziglar “We miss 100% of the sales we don’t ask for”.

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Fear of being pushy

We’re often scared of getting the reputation of hard sell and getting a one star review.

Top Tip - remind yourself that people often have a hard time making decisions and they need a good salesperson to help them decide. Change your mindset from “I’m selling to her” to “I’m helping her to buy”. Zig Ziglar again “Stop selling. Start helping”

Fear of losing the bride & the relationship

I wish I had a pound for every time I’ve heard “I didn’t want to annoy her and have her not come back”. If you let your bride go, you’ve already lost her because the second she walks out of your boutique she’s no longer under your influence.

Top Tip - remember you’ve just spent a couple of hours sharing your expertise and been her personal stylist (also her agony aunt, referee with Mum, entertainer to the tiresome toddler, photographer, barista and wine waitress). Why would she think it’s annoying to have you ask her if she wants to continue the relationship and order her dress from you? We can mistake being friendly for being her “friend” and that can prevent us from asking for the order. My final quote “Remember you’re in business to make money not friends”.

Reluctant Salesperson Syndrome

You’ve usually only got yourself to blame for this one!! You might recognise this scenario - you’re desperate for staff so you recruit for the wrong reasons and then regret it as you’re not getting results. The root cause of reluctant salesperson syndrome is that they don’t have the desire nor the selling skills to be sales professionals.

Top Tip - don’t put weak people in strong sales positions.

Not knowing when & how to ask

Less experienced stylists are often not sure when to ask. Ask too early and you will scare her off and by asking too late you may miss the optimal moment. They often aren’t familiar with all of the closes mentioned earlier.

Top tip - this is an easy fix as it’s technical not psychological and you can train your stylists to understand a sales process and have a variety of different ways to ask for the sale linked to their personality and that of the bride’s.

And, when in doubt, simply ask the bride in true Randy Fenoli style “Are you saying Yes to the Dress?” Nothing could be simpler could it?

If you’ve found this article useful why not take a deeper dive into selling with Get Savvy’s new online training course “Selling Secrets” where you’ll find a 7 Step Sales Process stressing that successful selling starts with YOU. Until Monday 1 March the online course is being offered at a special “Lockdown Price” of £295 instead of £595.

For more information visit Get Savvy here.

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