By Keith Rosen, MCC
The Executive Sales Coach TM
When involved in a conversation, have you ever had the feeling that your companion was not being completely honest and upfront with you? While many people have felt this way — whether it’s with a business owner, manager, parent, co-worker, coach, or consultant — I’m often told that they really don’t know how to handle it. Take a salesperson, for instance. Instead of confronting a potential customer about this concern, they take what this prospect says and try to do their best to work around it, even though they know that the prospect is withholding something.
Many salespeople feel they don’t have an approach that would help extract the truth — the real truth — in this situation. After all, what can you say? ”Mr. Prospect, I think you’re lying to me or not telling me everything.” Certainly, this is not an approach I would endorse. Aside from putting the prospect on the defensive, there’s a good chance that this tactic will destroy any chance of selling to this person. How can you tell when there’s something else a prospect may be holding back from you? Here are a few signs.
If you and your prospect have established a desire and need for your product or service and:
- They stop returning your calls.
- They are still reluctant to meeting with you.
- You can’t seem to move the sales process forward, even when they continue to say ”yes” to you. For example, you schedule a meeting and the prospect keeps canceling it. They have a clear interest in your services and even request additional information but something always seems to get in the way of taking the next step.
If you have ever run into a similar situation, there is a strong chance that there’s something else the prospect isn’t telling you. Here’s a great way to find out what’s really going on.
Use Your Senses
If a prospect makes a statement that gives you doubt, trust and listen to your instincts. Remember, sometimes the real objection is two or three questions deep. Here’s an example of how you can respond:
You: ”Mr. Prospect, based on our initial meeting, is it safe to say that you can see the advantages as well as the ROI that you would realize from our services?”
Prospect: ”Yes. I definitely see the benefits.”
You: ”We’ve been attempting to get together and discuss what would need to happen so that you can start enjoying these benefits, but it seems that something always gets in the way of our meeting. I know you’re very busy, but I’m sensing there may be something else that’s getting in the way of taking the next step toward working together. Is this true?”
Prospect: ”Well, actually.”
And now, let the truth be known. He could be scared to make the wrong decision, or he had a bad experience with another purchase. He could be reluctant to admit that he doesn’t have the money, that he isn’t the only decision maker, or that he decided to use another company. Or perhaps he wasn’t motivated by a reason compelling enough to make this a priority. There are many obstacles to a sale that can fly under your radar unless you dig deeper.
Notice that the question I ask doesn’t put the prospect on the defensive, because I’m not accusing him of doing anything that would make him wrong. I’m not offending him by pointing my finger and playing the blame game. Avoid these and similar accusations:
- ”Every time we plan to meet, you keep rescheduling with me.”
- ”You told me that you were going to call me, but you never did.”
- ”You said we would be able to get together for a few minutes.”
- ”I told you I was going to call you on Friday at 2 p.m., and when I did you weren’t there.”
Instead, make the dialogue about you. Beginning a statement with, ”I’m sensing” acknowledges how you are feeling. Then, ask the prospect for help in determining whether your feeling is, in fact, valid. This approach gives him the space and permission he may need to share his true objections without feeling pressured.
Of course, there are those occasions when the prospect is telling you the truth and those when he simply isn’t interested in speaking with you further. That’s why it’s critical to tap into your intuition and to trust your instincts in order to determine how deep you want to dig to uncover the truth about what is stalling your next sale.
About Keith Rosen, MCC — The Executive Sales Coach
Keith Rosen is the executive sales coach that top corporations, executives, and sales professionals call first. As an engaging speaker, Master Coach, and well-known author of many books and articles, Keith is one of the foremost authorities on coaching people to achieve positive change in their attitude, behavior, and results. For his work as a pioneer and leader in the coaching profession, Inc. magazine and Fast Company named Keith one of the five most respected and influential executive coaches in the country.
If you’re ready for better results quickly, contact Keith about personal or team coaching and training at 1-888-262-2450 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Keith Rosen online at Profit Builders and be sure to sign up for his free newsletter The Winners Path.