Ask for the Order

The obvious step that reps often skip over

Believe it or not, many salespeople omit an important step in the sales process – asking for the customer’s business. By not doing so, they miss calling the customer to action, and the chance to increase the odds of closing the sale.

Asking for the order is stating your product is the right fit for your customer’s unique purpose, and you would appreciate their business.

The Problem

A sales team for a commercial construction company doesn’t ask prospective customers for their business. An industrial equipment manufacturer says salespeople don’t ask for the order unless they get positive reinforcement from the buyer. The CEO of an investment adviser talks about a sales team that can’t close. Not asking for the order is that missed opportunity that happens all the time across industries.

Why You Should Ask for the Order

There are a host of benefits to asking for the order. It demonstrates your confidence in the product-customer fit and inspires that confidence in your customer. Buyers want to do business with sellers who want to do business with them. A buying decision carries personal and professional risk. Asking for the order helps eliminate the buyer’s lingering doubts they are making the right choice.

Not asking for the order can unintentionally send the wrong message. You may create the perception you are taking the buyer’s business for granted, or don’t believe in your product enough to say so.

How to Ask for the Order

Appropriately and successfully asking for the order begins with engaging in a dialogue designed to understand your customer.

  1. Ask and listen for insights about the client’s problem. Don’t be a fake listener.
  2. Confirm your understanding by asking your customer to verify it. Respond with how what you do meets the customer’s key decision criteria or one criterion that stands out because of its paramount importance to the customer
  3. Ask about concerns and objections and resolve them.

You are in the phase when a purchase decision is appropriate. When you have completed these steps you are ready to ask for the order. These steps are the foundation for sales success. You don’t want to commit the No. 1 Offense in sales – jumping to your pitch without first understanding your customer (Gallup reports that only 31% of buyers say sellers understand their needs).

Words and Phrases You Might Consider

The words you use to close are important. Your choice of words should flow logically from what you learned about your customer. One barrier to asking for the order may be what to say. Whether or not that is the case, here are some words to consider:

  • “We offer an excellent fit with your objectives. Can we proceed? I will send you a contract tomorrow.”
  • “We can deliver the volume of product you need when you need it. Can we move forward?”
  • “We understand the importance you place on reliability/no down time. We have the most reliable product in the industry. We’re ready to install it for you.”
  • “We know you must have the project completed by [date]. We will meet that deadline.
  • We’re ready to start now.”

Another Approach

One of the most successful salespeople I know liked to close with these words:

“If you don’t select us, it won’t be because [insert a key attribute your customer your values that also represents your competitive differential advantage]”:

  • We don’t have the best after-the-sale service in the industry
  • We don’t meet our commitment to deadlines
  • We don’t deliver the volume we commit to

Ask for the order with confidence and credibility because you’ve shown why you merit the customer’s business.


  • Greg Upah

    Greg Upah is the author of “Sales Talks: Six Secrets to Winning Presentations, Effective Closes, and Think-on-Your-Feet Tactics That Seal Deals.” He was an institutional sales director at Merrill Lynch, and before that worked in new business at Young & Rubicam Advertising in New York. He is a consultant. He is actively involved with other industry people in the Professional Sales Program at Texas A&M University.

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