Well, it often feels that way when we are out in the field.
Are Prospects Really From Another Planet?I could not raise even a raised eyebrow from Paul, a Telstra business manager. No matter what I said or did to try and move the sale forward he would just take it in and give out one of those ‘I’m not giving anything away’ smiles.
Another customer of mine was a bit of a firestorm. It seemed we were talking with raised voices more often then not, even though we managed to continue to do business.
Salespeople I work with tell me it seems that everything they have been trained to do and say just provokes heightened degrees of hostility with many of their prospects.
The initial mood set by a salesperson in an encounter is critical if they want to create an environment that might lead to a sale. This is where salespeople often make strategic mistakes and those mistakes come about because they have not necessarily come to understand the reality that the Prospect may be dealing with.
Let’s begin by looking at what might be going on in the Prospect’s head that may prompt aggressive or irritated behavior in that first encounter.
- I’m too busy for this
- I have some serious problems at the moment and this is an irritating distraction.
- Boy o boy, how many times have I heard that opening line.
- I know I should be nicer about this but I have found that the only thing that gets rid of pushy salespeople is to be a bit rude.
- It’s obvious you don’t care about me or my troubles, you just care about making a sale.
We could go on with this list but I think the point is made.
We have, in fact landed on their planet and we are immediately trying to impose our values and agenda on them.
This is just not that smart, we know nothing about their culture, current state of mind or experiences. The sales training manual tells us to start by ask qualifying questions. Well I disagree. We have to be smarter than that and take a far more sophisticated and professional approach.
Our initial role as an ambassador to this new planet is to ask questions that are about their concerns….
- Their attitude or state of mind at the moment.
- What their business or interests are and how they are coping in this market
If we are going to establish an embassy in this new planet we must first put the locals at ease, give them reason to believe that we are not a threat. I have always liked the saying ….
It’s not me and your problems verses you. It’s hopefully you and me verses your problems.
It is also a saying I have been quite happy to actually use in a sales presentation. It works well because it encapsulates your intent and it pacifies the Prospect’s negative concerns.
So, my point is that we need to be mindful of the fact that aggressive or irritable behavior is often the only way a Prospect knows how to deal with an approach by a Salesperson.
We need to mindful of this and not intimated into blurting out our product features when we have not established an atmosphere that is in any way conducive to a sale.
Start the first encounter by trying to ask questions pertinent to the person, their business and what you are seeing right in front of you. Once you have established rapport and the prospect begins to display a more relaxed demeanor you might then begin to ask qualifying questions.
If you invest some time into the prospect but you do not establish rapport you need to do one of two things
- Try for an appointment that will allow your Prospect to concentrate
- Make a polite retreat offering to make contact (touch base) again in three months. (Time lapse depends on what you have decided is your prospecting cycle)
If you just press on with your SALES PITCH you will further alienate the Prospect and they will give you even more reason to falsely believe that…..PROSPECTS ARE FROM ANOTHER PLANET
If you want to communicate more effectively with these Aliens, you will want to consider downloading the Sales Analyzer APP.
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