“Thanks for inviting me in today, Prospect. On the phone we set aside 30 minutes for our visit today. Do you still have 30 minutes?”
“Yes, Salesperson. I’ve only got 30 minutes. Look, we’re currently using Your Competitor. Do you have a price sheet I could see that I could refer to if I ever wanted to buy from you?”
This is what David Sandler called a “wimp junction” moment. We can wimp out, hand over our information (in this case our price sheet) and walk out with a warm shot of Hopium in our bellies believing that “they really like me so they’ll buy.”
On the other hand, we can assert our right to be treated as an equal in this conversation, own our process and quickly discover if we are speaking to a real, qualified prospect or a tire kicker.
Sounds easy, but we first have to have two mindsets about this conversation. First is “we have the right to be treated as an equal human being.” Second is “no one invites a salesperson in without a reason.” Without those two mindsets locked in we will fall to our number one competitor in sales… ourselves because we won’t believe we can say/do what we need to, to take control of this conversation without breaking rapport.
With those two mindsets locked in we might say to our prospect, “thanks for asking for our price sheet, Prospect. Everyone I meet with asks me for one, but I often discover there are a few reasons other that price that I get invited in like you invited me in today. If we take price off the table what other reasons did you invite me in today? My notes from our phone call are you wanted to discuss….”
Said gently and respectfully we shelve our prospect’s request for information by making it sound normal and turn the conversation back to them to discover if they trust us enough to share their real reasons for inviting us in. As professional salespeople we get paid on the information with gather.
Our prospect has two responses to our question:
- “nothing. I want to make sure I’m getting the best price.” – fair enough. Our prospect either doesn’t trust us or they are a price buyer. With this response we might gently push them away to attempt to pull them closer by saying, “thanks for sharing, Prospect. We typically aren’t the cheapest. If you’d like me to compare I’d need some current invoices, but if all you’re seeking is a lower price maybe it’s best if I gave you the rest of our meeting time back to you.”
- “well I’m looking for more/better/different….” – now we might have a real prospect, but we’re working on a 30-minute window and one of the items our prospect wants to discuss would take the remaining time. In this case we might say, “thank you, Prospect. That’s a lot. Given that we only have X minutes remaining in the 30 we set aside let’s fast forward. If we’re at the end of this meeting and you want to continue talking which of those items have we addressed? (Prospect shares) Great, I have a couple of boxes to check to before we wrap up. May I share? (Prospect agrees and we share). So if address your item and check my boxes our next step would usually be scheduling a longer conversation to address the rest of your items and confirm if we wanted to move forward. Are you comfortable with that?
If we are emotionally unattached from the outcome (a closed sale) we can comfortable go down either path and leave with a disqualified prospect who respects our professionalism or a qualified opportunity with a clear next step. In either case we didn’t wimp out.
Until next time… go sell something