The Simplest Sales Tactic You’re Probably Overlooking


Do you know someone who’s a ridiculously effective salesperson?

You know who I’m talking about – the one who always seems to have a constant flow of new sales.

It kind of irks you, doesn’t it? It’s alright. Admit it.

Not that you begrudge anyone’s good fortune, but you feel like you’re doing all the right things just like they are – but without the successful ending.

  • You’ve created an insanely useful offering.
  • You’ve written killer sales copy to explain your offering.
  • You’ve promoted well.
  • You’ve read and studied marketing principles and implement what you learn.

But still… your sales come in like a slow, steady drip… drip… drip.

Why Becoming a Super-Slick Salesperson Won’t Help

If you really have done all those things well, then your sales and marketing skills probably aren’t the problem.

And if that’s the case, then you might think that your next course of action should be to get a bit louder and flashier. Make bigger claims, talk yourself up, or learn some slick, sneaky sales tricks, right?


Those are ineffective and disingenuous tactics that act as a smoke screen between you and the real problem.

The problem that is so easy to solve, you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it.

But real sales isn’t something you do to someone… it’s something you do with and for someone. It feels perfectly natural, there is no pushing, and the person being sold doesn’t feel like they’re being sold. They may even enjoy the process.

Real ultra-successful people tend to be masters of the fundamentals – the core, foundational skills of selling. And there’s one fundamental step that the ultra-successful never, ever leave out of the sales process.

Let’s look at an example.

The Best Way to Sell a Salesman

The other day, I was catching up on reading my email and came across a new post from John Morgan. His blog is one of my favorites.

I thought the post was excellent, so I commented and then clicked the Tweet button on John’s site to share the content with my followers.

Here’s what happened next…

This, friends, is real selling.

I know, there are no buzzwords flying back and forth, no ten-dollar words, and no pressure. No money exchanged either. Just a couple of people having a conversation.

John knows I’m a fan because I regularly comment on his site and share his information. So when he saw me share this post, he did what any good relationship-builder would do. He thanked me. And if I’d have stopped there, he would have stopped too.

But then I mentioned his book, Brand Against The Machine, which I loved by the way.
(affiliate link)

John, like every other author on the planet, is very interested in getting positive reviews because it helps sell more books. Knowing that I’m a fan already – and also knowing that most people forget to leave a review, he saw the opportunity to ask for what he wanted.

He asked for me to take a couple minutes out of my night to click a few links and say that I liked his book publicly. I received great value from reading that book, so I was more than happy to oblige when directly asked to do so.

In a matter of five minutes and a mere 23 words, John got exactly what he wanted. No pushing, no schmoozing, no fuss.

All he had to do was ask for it.

After a pleasant exchange like that, what do you think my answer will be the next time John asks me to do something for him?

So simple. So obvious. So powerful.

“Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.” — George Orwell

(click here to Tweet this quote)

How to Exploit the Power of “Just Ask”

It’s brilliant in its simplicity, really. We’ve built up such a negative, inaccurate, cartoonish image of what sales is that we’re all terrified of asking for what we want. And that, frankly, is nuts.

We read books and blog posts about sales techniques until the cows come home. We take classes and courses to learn the latest ways to market and sell… all the while overlooking the easiest, most fundamental selling skills.

So why does something as brain-dead simple as just ask work so well?

Because two important things have been established prior to asking for what we want…

Trust and Value

If you were to walk up to a stranger in a restaurant and ask for a bite of their sandwich, you’re not going to get a very friendly reception.

But if you’re eating with a close friend and you ask to try their sandwich – they don’t think twice, do they? You get what you want.

They say yes because they trust that you’re not up to anything harmful – and they see value in your relationship and your happiness. So they share.

It works the same way with your customers and prospects.

Selling is pretty simple, really. If you’ve built a relationship based on trust and you’ve demonstrated value, there’s no need to worry or stew over the next step. Be confident and just ask.

  • Just ask for the sale
  • Just ask people to participate
  • Just ask for feedback
  • Just ask for shares

Try it. Get over your anxiety or your shyness or whatever it is that keeps you from asking for what you want.

Remember, if you’ve built trust and demonstrated value – people will be happy to help you.

Just ask.

Ok, Fess Up…
What keeps you from just asking? Discuss…


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The Simplest Sales Tactic You’re Probably Overlooking


About Gary Korisko

Gary is a battle-tested sales and marketing pro, copywriter, coach, and business strategist who teaches how to create worthwhile work on Reboot Authentic. Connect with Gary on Google+ and Twitter.

24 Replies

  1. Laura Leigh Clarke

    Heheh – this is a great post Gary, and very timely since you and others have told me to ask people to review my book when they say they like it. I guess I just forget….

    So, erm, Gary – would you mind gving me a review on Amazon please?
    Phew, that wasn’t so bad… Makes it easier knowing you’ve already done it though!

    Thanks for sharing. This was useful in the first instance too where you talked about the sales process as just being connecting with people and talking to them. This is something I forget to do. I’m all over helping people when they contact me, but I’ve been rubbish at reaching out… Must do that more. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

    1. You know damn well that you’ve already received a five star review of your book from me, Laura. (You did know that, right?)

      But yeah – ask! I know for a fact that you’ve already build trust and value with your people. There should be no hesitation. Just ask.

  2. Wow this is a good post. It feels like it was written just for me.

    I have been considering this question for weeks. It doesn’t take much to prevent me from “just asking” even when I intend to.

    I get stuck with a couple questions. What do I say? How do I approach this person? Usually, I know what to say, but I get stuck on the approach. Email, Twitter, blog comments, something I hadn’t thought of? When I’m reaching out to people, a lot is riding on a good first impression, so I want to get it right. But the moment can pass when I don’t have the answers ready to go.

    So what I’m waiting for is a simple script, but mostly the fundamentals of etiquette for reaching out to peers and mentors, respectively. Also, I would love to know etiquette by medium. Such as, when is it okay to call?

    Of course the only purpose of the script and etiquette are to help me feel confident that I know how to ask, because I KNOW what other people have actually done in a situation like mine, but you probably figured that out already.

    Your post is very helpful, Gary. Thank you.

    1. Aaron… I think your last sentence says it all.

      “The only purpose of the script and etiquette are to help me feel confident that I know how to ask, because I KNOW what other people have actually done in a situation like mine.”

      If you *know* you’ve build trust and demonstrated value with someone, come right out and ask. Want a Tweet from a friend? Make sure you have those two things and say, “Hey… if you like this post (link), I’d love if you shared it.

      See the pretty lady right below this comment? A few months ago we didn’t know each other at all. Now we’re buddies. A while back, I asked her for shares on some work of mine she liked – and we’ve been compadres ever since. (Hi Laura!)

      Don’t be presumptive with people you don’t have a history with… but don’t be overly shy with those who you do have some history with either. If you would stick your neck out to help them – odds are they’d do the same. Just ask.

      And contact me off the blog if you’d like to discuss it. You know where to find me!

  3. htmljenn

    I have to laugh, as I almost didn’t read this post. But what makes me really laugh is that I was thinking about doing exactly that today. In other words, I was thinking “the reason your readers aren’t necessarily linking to you is because you never asked them to!” and was mulling over in my mind how best to do that.

    On the other hand, I can’t seem to get anyone to comment on my blog posts except spammers. No matter how I ask. 🙂

    On the third hand (don’t I wish) I have a friend who just posted to her FB page an announcement about her upcoming book and a request that people pre-order it. This resulted in some very nasty comments from a few trolls claiming that she was only doing this for the money and some other mean spirited things. This is a person who has been sharing her wealth of knowledge on her topic for FREE on the web for over 10 years. And yet the trolls feel that her daring to ask for pre-orders was outrageous and no better than a “one simple trick…” ad.

    I suppose it’s a matter of wearing bullet-proof undies…

    1. Well, Jenn… I’m glad you did read it.

      First – as the post mentions, make sure you’ve adequately built trust and demonstrated value for your readers. This is kind of tricky because it’s not if *you* think you’ve done those things… it’s really more a measure of if *your readers* believe you’ve done those things or not.

      Sometimes those are the same… sometimes they’re very, very different. If you’ve accomplished the latter, the “ask” is much, much more productive.

      A sideline – I’m curious what sort of writing format (copywriting) you’re using. It may also have something to do with your “Call to action.” It’s funny, but little tiny tweaks can make all the difference in the world!

      If you like, contact me through the contact page and let’s talk about this. It may help!

      As for your friend… yeah. Trolls will be trolls. They’ll always be there regardless of what you do. Heck, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income (widely regarded as the nicest guy in the world) was bashed by some of his readers for launching his first paid product ever. There’s no pleasing some people.

      In that regard – yes. Bullet proof undies come in handy for sure 🙂

      No pressure – but I’d really like to ask you a few questions about your blog. I have a feeling you may a handfull of adjustments away from engagement. Send me a message on my contact page if you want to discuss it!

  4. Renia Carsillo

    Gary, I trained professionals on how to network more effectively for a number of years, and this was the NUMBER ONE piece of advice given and the NUMBER ONE piece ignored. I really do believe the most successful business people are the ones willing to feel the fear and ask for what they want. Great stuff here!

    1. Great comment, Renia. And a great example of what this post is about. If you’re not a “salesperson” specifically… just asking tends to loom as this big, scary event. It’s really not, is it? It’s just a logical progression of a good business cycle. Thanks!

  5. My biggest social media peeve? People who beg for Facebook followers or retweets! So, rather than become what annoys me, I don’t generally ask when the opportunity is there and the situation warrants it.

    I tried something new a couple of months ago. I asked people in the online groups I belong to if they would be willing to contribute to a free e-book. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who said yes. I put the book together this week and it goes to the beta readers on Tuesday!

    As you say though, I could not have done this if I hadn’t started to build relationships with these people before asking. So, now that I’ve tried ‘the ask’ and had such phenomenal success, I will be more likely to do it again.

    As always, a great post

    1. Rhonda – there’s a big difference between begging for tweets from strangers and asking people you’re sincerely engaged with regularly for a Tweet. For instance – you and I have corresponded somewhat, and I know enough about you now that I wouldn’t think anything of you asking. I think we’re harder on ourselves than we need to be in these situations.

      Congrats on the eBook.

      Maybe you should ask your online contacts to Tweet it (hint, hint) 🙂

      1. Hint taken, oh Wise One! Yes, you are right. Yes, I am working on it:) Oh, and I will take you up on the ask – very soon!

  6. Jim Bessey

    Good heavens, Gary.

    Could it really be any easier than that? “Just ask.”

    Tyler Tervooren, on Advanced Riskology, recently ran a delightful post called “8 Emails that Changed the Author’s Life”. He asked a group of industry leaders to share with him any story each might have about sending an email inquiry to someone they admired. (A great case of The Double Ask!) One of the simplest take-aways from his post was that you have to Ask before you can expect any results at all. Well, yes!

    When I wanted to write about how successful authors best used their available time, I certainly needed some feedback from “successful authors.” I thought to myself, “what if they won’t answer my question?” All I really had to wonder was, “what if they DO?” Lo and behold, I received a stunning 100% response rate! All I had to do was Ask.

    What keeps any of us from doing this more often? I suppose it’s as simple as the fear of rejection. Seems silly when you step back and look at it objectively. But in the end, that’s why it’s worth talking about it openly and honestly, as you’ve just done. Thanks!

    1. Hey Jim:

      I read that post from Tyler. Good stuff! And I remember your author contacting campaign, too. Both are great examples of what this post is about.

      The groundwork – the trust and value – is the important part. If people know you’re coming from a good place (instead of a totally self-serving place) then yes answers aren’t as hard to come by as they may seem.

      A thoughtful comment, Mr. Bessey.

    2. Jim, I agree that fear of rejection may be part of our reluctance, but there is also the “Do I have a right to bother other people?” factor. Everybody else is just as busy as we are and respectful people take that into account. However, I also know that I rarely feel bothered when someone Asks me, so I’ve been trying to turn that around:)

      1. Ahhh! Rhonda nailed a big one. “Do I have the right?”

        It’s funny – those who are in no place to ask tend to be pretty pushy about it sometimes… and those who have every right to ask for help often feel anxiety over it.

        I’d say more often than not, if you’re considerate enough to even think that thought, you’re probably the latter, Rhonda 🙂

  7. Despite decent traffic and sales, I still struggle to get engaged commenters over at LTNE. This is one of the great mysteries to me. I really need to work hard to build more community. Nice post!

    1. Hey Mike! Haven’t seen you here in a while.

      You know when you say that about your comments, I’m wondering… have you taken a good, hard look at your calls to action? I may just pay a visit and take a peek. Get ahold of me if you want to talk through anything.

      There may be a simple fix!

      1. Gary, you know, I used to always include at least one call to action with each post, but it is something I’ve not really stuck to, perhaps not even by design, though I remember distinctly the foolishness that resonated with saying something like “Let me know in the comments…” and there would be that big shining goose egg for weeks at a time.

        The biggest call to action for comments seems to be to have a successful and widely-read blog, as most visitors try to get some of that fairy dust to transfer over to their own site with at least a nofollow link!

        1. There’s some truth to that for sure, Mike.

          But ask a question… solicit tips… you know how that all works. I’d say stick to it. It wouldn’t hurt to run a contest for the best comment to a big post. Or maybe mention it in one of your emails.

          Once you get just a couple commenters showing up regularly, it seems to make the rest less shy.

  8. i’m learning more and more to just ask. ask for the comment, ask for the share, ask for the referral, ask for the sale. it’s not so bad when you really are being authentic and vulnerable with your audience and showing them, hey i could use your help!

    1. They key is exactly what you said, Marianne… be real and people don’t mind the ask. In fact, if you’re up front and genuine, people love to help.

      That reminds me. In my offline sales job, for many, many years our top performing direct mail piece begins with the words, “We need your help.” Interesting, isn’t it? People love to help others who they perceive to be “above board.”

  9. Hey Gary, interesting post.

    I think what keeps me from asking for something is the innate fear of rejection that ‘most’ of us are blessed with.

    Saying that however, if I know that what I’m asking for will both benefit them and I, then i force my self to ask, not for my sake but for theirs.

    “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

    My favorite example of this was the Obama re-election campaign email, which asked people for their help, not because it would benefit Obama, but the participants.

    1. You’re on to something there, Rory.

      Give before you get. As the post says, if you’ve given – it makes asking much easier. (and productive)

      Thanks for joining in.

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