When I was in college, I took a job selling spas at a local carnival so I could pay for classes. Having had no prior sales experience, the first few weeks on the job were tough. People go to carnivals to ride rides and eat ice cream. They don’t go to carnivals to buy ten-thousand dollar hot tubs…
I arrived early each morning to set up our booth. I armed myself with glossy brochures and made sure the hot tubs were spic-n-span. Then I spent the rest of the day enthusiastically demonstrating the value of our hot tubs. Many times people would feign interest, ask for a brochure and walk away. And you know what? I never heard from those people again. And I never made a sale.
Then one day, a co-worker took me aside. He was one of these old salts, from the old school of selling. And unlike me, he had dropped out of high school and never looked back. His lack of formal education didn’t matter. He was the top sales pro in the company and had the respect of everyone, including the owner. Suffice it to say, he knew a thing or two…
You know why you ain’t selling?
Nobody comes to a carnival to buy an expensive hot tub?
No. That’s a negative belief. And it ain’t true. Most of us are selling fine. With your energy and enthusiasm, you could outsell everyone on this team, including me. But you got one problem. Out of all the people you talked to, never once did you ask someone to buy. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
The advice was simple. Obvious. And profound.
From that moment forward, anytime someone showed the slightest interest in buying a spa, I asked for the sale. And you know what? Even though I heard the word “no” hundreds of times, I also heard the word “yes” enough times to make me one of the top producers. That summer I not only made enough money to pay for my classes, but I learned a lesson far more valuable than anything I leaned in college: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.