Aug 20 2013
When talking with someone, did you ever get the feeling that they were not being 100 percent honest and upfront with you? Here’s a good way to respond.
While many people have felt this way, whether it’s 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 innate concern, they take what this prospect says and try to do their best to work around it, even though they know that the prospect isn’t telling them something.
Many salespeople feel they don’t have an approach that would help in extracting the truth – the real truth – from a prospect. After all, what could you say? “Mr. Prospect, I think you’re lying to me or not telling me everything.” Certainly not an approach I would endorse. Aside from putting the prospect on the defensive, there’s a good chance that this approach 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 established the desire and need for your product or service and:
1. They stop returning your calls.
2. They are still reluctant to meeting with you.
3. You can’t seem to move the sales process, 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 situations like this, 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 causes your spider senses to tingle, trust and listen to your instincts. Remember, sometimes the real objection is two to three questions deep. Here’s an example of how you can respond when you’re following up with them.
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 towards working together so that you can achieve your business objectives faster, more efficiently and with less risk. Is there any truth to this?”
Prospect: “Well, actually.”
And now, let the truth be known! Whether he is scared to make the wrong decision, had a bad experience with another purchase, is reluctant to admit he doesn’t have the money, fears his job security, isn’t the only decision maker, decided to use another company, doesn’t want to hurt your feelings by saying “No,” or wasn’t motivated by a reason compelling enough that would make this a priority and cause him to want to explore what you have in greater detail, these are a few of the obstacles that can fly under your radar unless you dig deeper.
Notice the question I ask doesn’t put the prospect on the defensive simply 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. For example: “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 it about you. Beginning a statement with, “I’m sensing that” acknowledges how you are feeling. Then, ask the prospect for help in determining whether your feeling is, in fact, valid.
This approach gives the prospect the space and permission they need to share the real truth, objection, or more of what is going on without feeling pressured.
Of course, there are those occasions when the prospect is actually telling you the truth or simply isn’t interested in speaking with you. That’s why it’s critical to tap into your intuition and trust your instincts to determine how deep you actually want to dig to uncover the truth about what is stalling your next sale. This is another strategy that the top producers use to identify the prospects and customers to engage with and those you are better off disqualifying so that you can focus on the most promising prospects who are more inclined to buy from you.
A globally recognized authority on sales and leadership and the pioneer of management coach training, Keith is the CEO of Profit Builders, named one of the Best Sales Training and Coaching Company Worldwide. Keith has delivered his programs to hundreds of thousands of salespeople and managers in practically every industry worldwide; on five continents in over 45 countries. Keith has written several best sellers on time management, cold calling and closing the sale, including the globally acclaimed Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions, winner of Five International Best Book Awards and rated the #1 book on sales coaching. As a leader in the coaching profession, Keith was inducted in the inaugural group of the Top Sales Hall of Fame and was also named The Sales Education Leader of the Year. Inc. magazine and Fast Company named Keith one of the five most influential executive coaches. He’s been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc., Fortune and was also featured on the award winning television show, Mad Men and one of the first out of only a handful of coaches who earned the distinguished Master Certified Coach designation credentialed through the International Coach Federation. Visit:www.KeithRosen.com