To view part 1 click the link: The Power Of Accepting
To maintain control of our sales process there is great power in accepting what our prospect says. There is also great power in ignoring certain things our prospect says.
To clarify, we use ignoring strategically to avoid stepping into a trap that our prospect sets for us, not as a way to avoid answering a question that makes us feel uncomfortable.
For example, years ago I heard an entrepreneur who owned a business specializing in painting exteriors of residential and commercial buildings. They told a story about speaking with the decision maker for a local hotel, who asked them “have you ever painted a hotel before.” The entrepreneur’s response was, “we’ve successfully painted multi-story buildings before.” By ignoring their prospect’s (irrelevant) question about experience painting hotels that entrepreneur maintained control of their sales cycle and ended up closing the sales.
Prospect’s aren’t asking us questions like “do you have experience with <my type of company>” maliciously. They’ve been taught by the amateur salespeople they meet daily that that type of question typically makes a salesperson uncomfortable and prompts them to start saying and doing things that aren’t in their best interest, like defending. Because our prospects are still human, they also want to avoid uncomfortable social interactions, like telling a salesperson “no,” so they ask experience or feature-based questions to give them an out to say, “well you don’t have <BLANK>” as a way to justify not working with us.
In the example above the entrepreneur successfully maintained control by looking for analogs to their prospects question in their experience. Do we have experience painting hotels? What is a hotel? It’s a multi-story building. We have experience with multi-story buildings.
Let’s say we don’t have experience of any type or our product doesn’t have a feature our prospect asked about. One of several ways to address that is to be “disarmingly honest.”
Prospects are used to salespeople blowing smoke when they feel under pressure so when we confidently, calmly respond, “we don’t have <FEATURE>. Should we stop talking?” our prospect only has two answers, no or yes. Either is great because we’ll either find out that feature isn’t important, or we’ll save time by ending a conversation with a suspect before we invest a lot of time and effort in an opportunity that wouldn’t close anyway.
Strategically ignoring our prospect’s attempts to pressure us keeps us in control of our sales process and differentiates us on how we sell not what we sell.
Until next time… go sell something.