Selling is easier when we accept whatever our prospect says. That’s accept not agree with.
By accepting what our prospect says we pull them closer to us and lower their walls so we can, as professional salespeople, gather the information we need to determine if this prospect is qualified to be our client.
That might sound like:
Prospect – “We’ve already allocated our budget to other marketing channels for this year so we don’t have a budget for your service.”
Salesperson – “Thanks for sharing, Prospect. Curious, does that mean that you have zero opportunity to re-allocate your budget if you found something that you felt would support you in achieving your marketing goals this year?”
Prospect – “Well…"
In this scene the salesperson accepted the (possibly false) information about their prospect’s budget and used that information as a starting point to ask a question to gather more information.
We can do the same if we shift our mindset from “close” to “disqualify.” By attempting to disqualify a prospect before they get into our deal flow we end up with truly qualified opportunities instead of a bunch of “activity” disguised as opportunities.
With a “closing” mindset we’ll be prone to defending or discounting because we’re emotionally attraction to the outcome of getting a close, which puts our prospect firmly in control of our interactions.
With a “disqualify” mindset we’re focused on the process of gathering data about our prospect to determine if they are someone we want to work with. When we’re focused on disqualifying, we’re simultaneously focused on keeping our prospect OK because they’ll remember how we made them feel more than what we said in our conversation.
In a tougher conversation with a prospect a “disqualify” mindset supports us in accepting because we consider our prospect’s statement to be a data point instead of a personal attack.
Prospect – “We worked with your company seven years ago. The service was terrible and your Accounting Department could never get our invoices right!”
Salesperson – “I’m glad you told me, Prospect. That was before my time, but it sounds like your company will never work with mine again.”
Prospect – “Oh, I don’t know. Seven years is a long time. I expect you’ve changed since then.”
Salesperson – “True, seven years is a long time, but would it make any difference to you if we had changed since you last worked with us?”
Prospect – “I guess….”
Accepting whatever our prospect says won’t feel natural because we’ll feel like we’re losing control. With a shift in mindset from closing to disqualifying we will project confidence and conviction to our prospect, increasing our credibility without making a presentation.
Until next time… go sell something.
Click to read part 2 - The Power of Ignoring