Close up of sale sell sail

Sales to Sail: How I Was Able to Buy a Boat for One Dollar by Simply Asking

Mastering The Ask

The Ask is an important sales technique and life skill whether used for an order, a referral, or a discount. I learned about The Ask in the Acquirent sales fundamentals training session, Asking For The Order. Since completing the sales fundamentals series, I’ve realized The Ask works for the consumer just as powerfully as it does for the seller. For example, let’s say you are checking out at a sporting goods store where you want to purchase some tennis balls. You can either ask if there are any discounts or you can simply accept the given price. Can it hurt to ask? Usually not. Maybe you get three tennis balls for the price of two.

I recently executed The Ask successfully and gained the opportunity of my dreams. A classic sailboat on Lake Michigan and I paid $1 for it.

Information is key

Reversing my sales skills to understand the other side of the equation is an important part of this story. I had my friend figure out why the seller was selling. Did the seller not enjoy sailing? Did he move to Alaska? Was he running out of funds? No, he just bought a bigger boat! I also learned that this particular boat was the first one ever to be kept in the local harbor. The history and tradition of the boat was important to the seller and he wanted it to stay in the local harbor. He also wanted to sell it to a buyer that would use it for what it was made – sailing. My friend at the harbor relayed my genuine interest in the boat, but not necessarily buying it and the seller was intrigued.

Turning an ask into an opportunity

After my message had been relayed, months went by before the opportunity finally entered the next stage. Low and behold the seller contacted, by literally cold-calling me in following up on my interest in his second-string boat. Understanding that this was a good sign, I did what I do best; I set the stage for closing the deal by setting up an appointment to inspect the boat with the seller. I hung around the rim, received a cold-call from the guy selling and knew I had played my cards just right to this point.

After inspecting the boat, everything looked great. It was time for The Ask.

The dollar boat

I started by saying, “Have you received any offers for the boat?”

“Yes, but I’d really like to see it stay in this harbor. The offers I’ve received haven’t been local.” The Seller replied.

I quickly put a bold offer on the table and said, “I really love the boat and can see myself keeping it here and sailing it often, would you sell it to me for a dollar?”

After a short pause the seller enthusiastically said “absolutely, and the trailer too!”

Now is when some would say “I couldn’t believe it” but I could. I did my research and played the part of the right buyer and then I asked. I’ve got myself a beautiful sailboat to cruise the lake on this summer and my bank isn’t broke—all because I asked. I feel like I got a good deal and the seller got what he wanted.

From the time I walked out of the Acquirent Training Room after sitting in on Vice President of Sales, Jon Elhardt’s famous Asking For The Order training session, I’ve been exercising The Ask in all sorts of scenarios personally and professionally. Between asking prospects for the close in daily sales conversations and cashiers for another 20% off at the checkout counter; I’ve had a lot of practice to develop my ability to execute The Ask. Sure, there have been a lot of unsuccessful attempts but the important thing is there were a lot of successful attempts. Nothing bad ever came out of a “no!” and a lot of good came from the yeses. What I love about the ask is the more I do it the more success I have and the better I get at seeing new opportunities to execute it. Find out more about The Ask and other sales topics with Acquirent’s sales training here.