Recently I was riding with a client and after an hour trying to sell a boiler the prospect wanted to “let us know”. I just listened most of the time and soaked it all in. So, what do you do when this happens? What is the next step? What is a salesman to do?
Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion
The broad structure or map of the territory is this. Move away from the prospect and allow principles of nature to work with you. Newton’s 3rd law is for every action there is an opposite a equal reaction. Get the sales call over and start over. The prospect will relax and start being honest. Then you can deal with the real problem that’s keeping them from moving forward.
We had taken our shoes off when we went into the house. After the prospect said they would let us know and my client had exhausted all his ideas I said this “I guess its over, may I ask a question before we leave? ( It’s important to understand that my non verbal communication was saying to the prospect that we were leaving because I said all this with my head down while I reached for my shoes and was putting them on.)
The prospect gave me permission to ask a question and I did. I said this “When we were down stairs I heard you say you were afraid of this old boiler and was scared that it may be dangerous. What’s keeping you from moving forward and letting us solve this problem for you? She thought and got a serious look and said ” I don’t have enough money in my savings. I ask her if she wanted to do business with us. She said yes. I turned to my client and asked if he could do just the boiler and forget the water heater which they really did not need.
I shut up and they went back and forth and we got the deal.
Prospects can be nervous about being honest and most are not assertive enough to tell the truth and get to the bottom line. These people wanted to do business with us but did not know how. She was had so much need for approval and didn’t want to feel bad by telling us the truth. They would have shopped around and worked it out with some one else and probably would not have known why.
Another Lesson Learned
When the prospect thinks you’re leaving they relax. It’s over to them psychologically and they can finally tell the truth because they perceive the risk in doing so to be gone. It’s never over until you decide. Get the sales call to a no and then start over. Sometimes no is very close to a sale. Have guts to hang in there and ask a few more assertive questions.
The question, “What’s keeping you from doing X?” comes from the Meta Model which is a series a questions that seeks to reverse distortions, generalizations, and deletions. When your prospect gets stuck and gives you a stall or put off ask what is…who is… or how is questions to help them see more possibilities.