Expect the unexpected could be the slogan for sales. Yet some things are predictable. There will be times when prospects and customers don’t see your point of view. Your response could help you sell or make you miss the sale.
Be prepared for push back.
A good salesperson prepares for every sales call. One piece of the preparation is to consider how the sales call could get derailed. Expecting every sales call to go as you expect it to go is naïve. It’s also fatal. You’ll be caught unprepared when you finally experience a customer who pushes back.
Instead, your preparation should consider where in the sales call a customer could disagree with you. You can plan your response and be ready if you think about what could go wrong.
Some points in the sales process that you should be ready to handle are when the prospect says he’s happy with his existing supplier. Another is when there is industry disagreement about a specific business procedure or practice. Be prepared if you’re discussing a price increase or you know that your prospect has strong ideas about the merits of a particular product or type of product.
Don’t do this.
The worst thing you can do is be more forceful about your opinion in the attempt to get your prospect to change his mind. It’s unlikely change will happen especially if he doesn’t know you very well. Even if your prospect does know you well, he might be resistant to change and by pushing harder he simply digs in more.
Instead, set your goal to understand why your prospect thinks the way he does. Learn what he has considered that has brought him to his current understanding. You could say, “Tell me more about your opinion. I would like to learn about it.”
Then really listen.
Keep your emotions in check.
When you get emotional your listening skills tends to worsen. They miss subtle listening clues. Emotional listeners focus on their answers instead of the speaker. They tend to get louder. Even worse is when they interrupt the speaker. All these actions will stop the sales process. Your job is to pay attention when your prospect pushes back. Focus on making your listening better.
Let the speaker finish by waiting for the silence after he speaks. Then you can respond. Pay extra attention to your voice volume. Control it so that your speaking voice is cordial, not forceful or attacking. You can certainly ask questions to learn. Watch your tone of voice so it is non-threatening if you ask, “What about…?” if your intent is to present some other point of view.
You may never change your prospect’s mind. That means you might be unable to sell him something now. You still might sell a prospect something if your preparation for push back leaves the door open without damaging any relationships. Later is always better than never.
Best wishes for your sales success!