Live to Sell Another Day (Rule #27)
Perhaps the situation may change someday for your non-interested prospect.
Whether selling books in college door-to-door to Mrs. Jones or later selling sophisticated hardware and software solutions to professional business enterprises, I always was prepared to counter any response from my prospects in early discussions. Sales is not random. Preparation of anticipated situations is key.
Once past the introductory 20–40 Second Speech (Rule 26), the prospect might respond to you in one of three ways. In answering your open-ended transition question the prospect might say:
• “No, I’m not interested” or “This is not a good time” (same thing)
• “That’s not really my issue”
• “Okay, tell me more”
In all cases you should be positive and tactful. After all, not everyone buys. There are lots of other fish out there, and perhaps the situation may change someday for your non-interested prospect. As I always say: “Live to sell another day.”
Let’s address how you might respond to each of these scenarios.
Not Interested- The first response of “not interested” requires a counter-response that explores yet doesn’t push it. You might respond by simply saying “Okay, sounds like things are in pretty good shape over there. I just wanted to introduce myself to you. We’ve been quite successful with others like you and thought it might make sense to explore how what we’ve done for others might possibly work for you and your firm.” If they say, “Yes, well thank you for calling anyway.” Say a cordial goodbye and say you’ll keep them on the list and check back with them later in the year. Most people will not object to that. If they say no to that, then peg them for a call in six months anyway. That person may be gone or you might approach another party. Go to the next prospect. Don’t spend your time with non-interested people. Incidentally, if they say that “It’s not a good time” it’s usually an excuse for lack of interest or understanding. Offer to call back at another time and try to set it up. You will most likely catch their voicemail, at which time you simply give them a powerful 20–40 Second Speech as a voice message.
Maybe – If the response to your open-ended question is “That’s not my problem or issue,” then the door is open for you to explore and find out just what is the problem. If you’re prepared to discuss potentially five or six problems that your target prospects have, again which you know your product addresses, then you can just offer up another problem or two until you find a hit or ask them outright. For example: “Bob, we’re dealing with a lot of companies working through a variety of challenges. What are the top two issues that you’re facing right now relative to your IT environment?” You’ll find this will further draw them out and then you can respond and probe appropriately (See Rule 32 – Become a Probe Master).
Yes – When the customer responds with any answer to your question other than no, then you’ve got them engaged for next steps. Per your developed sales process playbook (Rule 11) you will then proceed to ask them appropriate questions about their situation and environment, probing and qualifying as you carefully guide the conversation. You might simply set them up for another phone call that will include someone more senior or technical on your end, again per your sales process. Or perhaps invite other people on their end. You are still in the Initiation stage moving toward the Discover stage.
Manage yourself. Be crisp, clear and respectful. Ask natural exploratory questions and respond as your natural inclinations take you. Your confidence will shine through. There will be no pressure or angst on either end of the phone. You have a product to sell; you are simply giving people a fair chance to respond to it and letting the chips fall as they may. Maintain professionalism and live to sell another day!
Are you effectively managing the conversation?