How to Ask for a Sale and the Appropriate Stage for Doing So

I had a system of rewards and punishments that helped me close sales in the past. But now, consumers are starting to care about ethics and humanity when it comes to business interactions with prospects or customers. If they feel good after talking with you, then your tactics will be successful.

People still love buying products and services even after decades of sales pitches that are sleazy, pushy, and annoying. If more people acted like Donnie in the article by treating their work a little differently instead of trying so hard to sell something without really knowing if it is good for them or not then they would have an easier time sleeping at night because this approach lets your customers make up their minds about what’s best for them.

We are not saying that all salespeople who follow the traditional methodologies are sleazy, but it’s easier to sell them as such. So, how to ask for the sale?

Everyone is disqualified

In traditional sales, you are taught to qualify as many people as possible and quickly move on. But this is not the best way to work. Click To Tweet

When you go into a sales conversation asking for a sale, don’t think it will be easy to close the deal because they need your product or service. Many prospects will not want what you have, and some might even turn out as bad clients, so start any meeting with an open mind.

When you have a mindset of curiosity, it can be easier to talk about what they want and need without being so focused on how much money they will give you. With this approach, the person feels that their concerns were addressed before compensation.

If the company doesn’t work for you, be honest. Prospects will appreciate the change of pace. Donnie often says,

“Look, I don’t think you guys are ready to work with a company like ours,”

And prospects often turn around to explain to him why they are ready. If you find yourself, as a salesperson, handling objections and trying to force the opportunity into the next step, you’ve lost the real, honest conversation somewhere down the line, and you are dangerously close to sleazy territory.

To disqualify a prospect, you need to know every characteristic they need to meet to qualify. From there, you need to come up with the questions you can ask that will uncover those characteristics.

For instance:

“Hey {first name}. Tell me about yourself, what’s your story, how did you get here?”

And a prospect might respond that they own an accounting firm. Then, ask a follow-up question, like:

“Do you have any other accountants working for you?”


  • He’s genuinely curious
  • He’s looking to make some assumptions.

Those assumptions might include how big a business is, what stage it’s in, etc. Those assumptions will tell whether this company is a fit to work with him.

Along the way, he’s also likely to uncover some personal similarities with his prospect that he can use to forge a connection. Donnie has qualified or disqualified his chance at the end of the conversation without asking any generic, canned qualification questions.


Request a Meeting

how to ask for the sale

To avoid being sleazy on how to ask for the sale, the first step is building a connection with your prospect. The old-school methodologies would tell you to look for photos in their office and bond over shared interests like baseball or summers at the Poconos (a region of Pennsylvania).

Our LinkedIn profiles have many similarities, but they don’t apply anymore.

Donnie is trying to create a personal connection with his prospects. He starts by sending a connection request with no message to see you’re active on the platform and willing to interact with new people. Once they’ve accepted.

“Hey, thanks for connecting. Tell me a little bit about your story.”

Prospects are used to being on the receiving end of a connect and pitch, so this simple message is a pattern interrupt. How the candidate responds dictates Donnie’s next move. If they give him all business, he digs in one layer deeper with another question. Suppose they go straight for personal, great.

Either way, Donnie is gathering information and looking for a connection. Once he has them talking a little bit, he asks them if they’d like to have this chat over zoom. Finally, when they’re on the zoom call, Donnie asks them to tell him their story again:

“Hey {first name}, you told me such a great story on LI; walk me through it again. I’d love to hear it in your words.”


Solicit the Opportunity

how to ask for the sale

The first part of the conversation on how to ask for the sale is not about Donnie; it’s about gathering information. But once he has all his qualifying questions answered and verified through exploratory questioning, they need to move into a sales type of dialogue.

The two types of sales strategies are permission-based and non-permission-based.

Option 1: You flip the call right then and there. You say:

“{first name}, I’ve got to be honest; I’m enjoying this. Would it make sense if I were to tell you a little bit about my world, and then we can decide if it makes sense to do something together? Are you ok with that?”

If the conversation has been valuable and relevant to the prospect, they may say yes.

Option 2: You schedule a sales call. You say:

“{first name}, I’ve got to be honest, we’ve been talking about {business function}, and I think you and I could partner up on some things. I don’t want to take any more of your time – are you okay if we schedule another call and we dive into what my company does and how we can help your company move forward with that?”

If they say yes, you plan the next call right then and there.


Inquire about the Next Step.

Again, how to ask for the sale for the next step at the end of a meeting begins with how you open up the session. Donnie suggests you do it gently, recapping the first call or conversation you had. Then, give your prospect an out. Say something like:

“I just want to let you know that if we get to the end of this thing and there’s no fit, it’s 100% okay if you say this is not what you’re looking for.”

This relieves some of the pressure on the call right away.

At the end of the call, when it’s clear that there is a potential opportunity, ask the prospect:

“What do we do next?”

He asks this question, already knowing where the candidate stands and what they want to do. If they seem unsure, Donnie knows he lost them somewhere earlier in the conversation, and that’s okay. He lets them know that it’s all good; they can still be LinkedIn connections and can still give each other referrals, but it’s not a fit, and that way, he can let them go without coming across as a sleazy salesperson.

At this point, the prospect will either agree or will re-engage in the buying process. Either way, Donnie is pushing for closure – not a close.


If the prospect sees the value, they’ll ask him how to get started. Donnie will then give a synopsis of the prospect’s current situation and ask:

“Are you okay if I go away, put a game plan together of how this might work, and we’ll come back together to discuss?”

Then he’ll get a next step on the calendar. It doesn’t count if the next step is not in the calendar or if both parties don’t know when they’re meeting, why they’re meeting, or what the expected outcome is.


Inquire about the Close

When it comes to asking for the sale, asking for the close should be like asking someone to meet with you or take another step in a business relationship. You want your prospect to feel as though they are being treated kindly and honestly.

If you feel like your prospect is closing up and becoming uninterested, ask them what they think went wrong. Most salespeople try to recover without knowing why their prospects are withdrawing.

When looking for a way to help my salespeople, Donnie’s approach of taking the time and effort to ask what is preventing prospects from making their purchase decision gave me the best chance at finding out why they are not buying.


You should leave them in a better state than when you found them.

Even when a prospect is not a fit, Donnie wants to leave them better than he found them by providing value. And, in b2b sales, there’s nothing more valuable than an introduction. As Donnie is disqualifying someone, he will ask, “Who was your best client? Walk me through it.” As they do, he’ll rack his brain for someone who fits that profile that he can introduce them to. If you’re a coach or consultant, give your prospect free advice that they can take action on right away. If you work in marketing, tell your prospect 2-3 things they can do right away to improve their marketing.

Instead of pushing your product on people, pour into them and let the power of connection create champions for you. Click To Tweet

Donnie says that the more you invest in your team, they will celebrate you and help promote your company. The result is an increase of prospects knocking on our door.


Donnie Boivin is a veteran sales guy who has seen the evolution of selling. After growing up under old-school methods like the Challenger Sale and questionable role models, he seemed destined to be one of those sleazy salespeople.

But after a while, he realized that these traditional sales styles lacked humanity. Customers want more of it now than ever before, and society is shifting.

The new frontier in sales treats the process like a conversation, not just an exchange of products and money.

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