It’s Not a Harmless Question

There are certain ideas and concepts in sales that are not omnidirectional.

The idea it doesn’t hurt to ask is one such example.

It doesn’t hurt to ask is a one-way street that only works if you’re the customer.

You’re on the sales floor* checking out the greatest kitchen turbo blender five thousand in neon pink for $600. This is, of course, a used retro blender specialty store and haggling is to be expected. So, you think, “I wonder if they’d take $400? It doesn’t hurt to ask.”

And in this situation, you’d be correct. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? They say no and then you get to decide if you want to pay $600 for it or not.

As the customer, you retain control even in the worst-case scenario.

Does not work the same if you’re the seller.**

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to ask for the sale, it doesn’t hurt to ask ABSOLUTELY can hurt if you’re asking too soon. (Asking too soon can be very off-putting.)

And once put off, you likely won’t get a chance to ask your prospective customer for the sale a second time.

However, you’re not oblivious to these kinds of things.

Even though most of us have far more experience as a buyer than we do as a seller, you know that certain concepts in sales only go one direction.

– Zac Smith, VC 

*Every time I hear “sales floor” I imagine this goofy make-believe type of floor that’s part of a children’s game. Like someone suddenly calls out, “The floor is lava.” And you have to jump on top of the nearest furniture otherwise the salesperson will talk to you.

**We’re going to set aside instances where you’re lucky enough to be selling something that’s in such high demand the customer can’t afford to not pay what you’re asking. Most of us do not have this luxury in the things we sell.