We know that confidence and assertiveness are
qualities all good salespeople share.
It’s the quiet confidence and subtle assertiveness that gently lead the
prospect down the road to the sale—not a boisterous, pushy, overaggressive
attitude. However, there are times
when one can slip into the latter due to frustration for a variety of
reasons. Perhaps the salesperson
is impatient or doesn’t know the product as well as he thinks he does, or maybe
it’s the slow indecisive ways of the prospect that cause the salesperson to
push too far and kill the deal.
Whatever the reason may be controlling your emotions as well as the
conversation is necessary in order to make the sale.
It is mostly unspoken, but sales is a “game,” a
psychological game. If this wasn’t
true, rejection would not be a non-issue and every other call would be a deal,
and everyone and their mother would be selling something somewhere. If you’re selling a product in which
one in ten people say, “Yes, I’ll buy!” after you finish your ninety-second
pitch then please let me know.
I see the sales process as a tennis match in which
every stroke from the first serve (first call) until the point is won (the
deal) is crucial. You and the
prospect should engage in a spirited rally—the back-and-forth of ideas and
overcoming objections and ultimately the gain of mutual trust. Unlike a real match, you’re not looking
to blow away the prospect with a powerful serve (hard close), nor do you want
your serve to be returned for a winner (the prospect hanging up). You want to find that happy medium of
negotiation but you want to dictate the action. You need to be always moving the prospect to the particular
area of the court (sales cycle) in order to close the deal.
Here are a couple of ways that will help you control
Do not be subservient. Ever. Sales is
not customer service. There are
times when the prospect will be curt, passive aggressive, rude or all
three. It’s important not to
mirror this behavior but not to back off either. Be cool and firm.
“I don’t have time for this call,” the prospect might
“Well, Bill, when’s a good time to give you a call
“I don’t know.”
“I’ll try you this afternoon.”
“That’s not good. I’m busy.”
“I’ll try you later this week.”
“I won’t be around.”
“Can you think of a good time, Bill? We have a great product and I believe
you’ll see an ROI.”
“Talk to Mary in Marketing.”
“Bill, you’re the final decision maker, not
Mary. When’s a good time to talk?”
Don’t back down from anybody, not the receptionist,
the EA, the VP, the president, or the CEO. You’re in sales.
You’re job is to get answers to a lot of questions and be persistent.
Place your shots (selling points) strategically. The conversation(s) you have with the prospect
should always be moving forward.
There’s a beginning, middle, and an end. Many salespeople are great at kicking off the call and
overcoming objections but struggle to close the point. Once you overcome all the prospect’s
objections you need to ask for the sale.
Ask, and then ask again.
If they’re still wavering and giving excuses you need to be firm.
“Well, Bill, it sounds like you’re still on the
fence. What do I need to do on my
end to make this happen?”
“You know, I’m not really sure at this point.”
You want to strangle Bill at this point, but remain
“Well, we’ll have to miss you regarding this
opportunity. Should things change
on your end give me a call.”
This may seem like you’ve quit the match. Not true. It’s more like the indecisive prospect defaulted. No need to fret, there will be another
match with Bill in the near future.
It’s time to move on.
Your tone of voice should be confident, upbeat and
always ready for business. Sales
is a “game” and the game ends when the prospect becomes a client. If you engage in spirited rallies with
the prospect and play offensively (not offensively, as in rude) you’ll be able
to win a lot of business.