Idea Design’s blog about asking is right on – and applies to businesses as much as to charities. At the end are three points that may as well have been written for businesses – here they are, with business terms inserted:
“1. Be where your [customers and prospects] are. Hang out with them. Learn their language and be relevant to them.
2. If you want to [close deals] sooner or later you are going to have to ask for [the sale].
3. And when you do ask, ask in a way that is appropriate to your [customer]. ”
In a business, these apply to the sales reps, and to the rest of your organization. Get your messages into the places customers look to for information (note – first place they look is not your website). Your marketing, services, and product development / design staff should be attending the same events, reading the same publications, and participating in the same discussions on and off-line that your target audiences do.
Most sales people don’t have much trouble asking for a sale – but they often fail to do their homework and communicate why their offer should matter to the customer in the customer’s terms. That makes the ask inappropriate. To increase the frequency of yeses, increase the relevance of your offers. To make that relevance natural, as Idea Design suggests, hang out with the customers.