A simple way to improve your sales skills

Today I have a quick homework assignment for you.

You already know that your sales skills as a tax professional are just as important as your marketing skills, and both of these are actually more important than your tax, legal, or accounting skills.

One of the choke-points for many people when it comes to building their client base has to do with simply asking for the order. Most service professionals have an issue with this. I’m not quite sure where it comes from, but there seems to be something in our society that teaches us that it’s not OK to ask other people for stuff, especially when it comes to money.

Unfortunately, if you’re not willing to ask people for money, you’re going to starve. That’s just how it works when you’re running a business.

Now, I realize that many Tax Marketing Tips readers may be well beyond this issue, and have no problems when it comes to closing. But for those that still have any hangup whatsoever about asking for the order, I have a simple exercise to help you develop the habit of asking other people to do what you want them to do.

Here’s your homework: For the next five days, ask at least three strangers per day to give you something.

It can be something big or something small, it really doesn’t matter. What’s important is to wire your brain to understand that it’s perfectly OK to ask strangers for something.

Opportunities exist all around us to ask strangers for things. If you’re at the grocery store, ask somebody if they can reach something for you on a top or bottom shelf, even if you later don’t buy it. At checkout, ask the person behind you if they have a pen so you can write your check.

If you are a customer in a service situation, ask for something extra, that may require a little effort from the service person. Checking into a hotel? Ask for extra pillows or towels. Eating out at a restaurant? Ask your server for a side garnish or sauce – something unusual that may not ordinarily go with what you ordered.

If you’re single, this gets really fun. Asking three people per day for their number not only helps your sales skills, but you just might meet the love of your life (hey, you never know!).

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Overhear two people talking about their taxes? It’s a fairly common topic of conversation between people this year. Approach and say, “I couldn’t help but overhear you discussing ________ on your tax return. I happen to be a tax professional, is there any way I could help?” Then ask them for an appointment, either to prepare their return, or to give them a “second look” at their returns from this year and last year.

Situations exist all around us, every day, in which we can practice our sales skills. Not only does this help us when it comes time to ask people to write us a check, but it also increases our sphere of influence. You never know which random person you talk to, about anything, has a $75,000 tax debt and is ready to pay somebody $3500 to address it for them.

Three people per day, for five straight days. Leave a comment here on the blog to let me know how you did, and what you learned from it.

Happy Easter!