When you call a prospect and hear “We’re fine, thanks,” are they really fine? And how do you know?
Here are the possibilities:
- they are not fine, but don’t know you and don’t want to speak with you but may be speaking with other vendors to seek change;
- they are fine;
- they think they are fine but don’t know they can be better with your service;
- they are not fine, and they don’t care as they are happy where they are at and don’t want to change.
In 3 of the 4 above, you have a prospect. But there is no way to get in if you don’t know how to get beyond the ‘Fine, thanks.’
PROSPECTS HAVE NO TIME FOR STRANGERS WHO WANT SOMETHING
Think about it from the prospect’s side: Why would a prospect speak with a stranger – a sales person who might push them, or want to suck their time to get their own needs met, or sell them something they don’t want to hear about?
They wouldn’t. The only time folks are willing to speak with a sales person they don’t know is when/if they are already searching for a solution, and then you’re in a competitive situation. Then it will feel to you like you have a hot prospect when indeed you don’t. That’s why you get surprised when these folks don’t buy: they are buying from someone else.
But the majority of prospects – at least 90% – won’t even have a conversation or open up the possibility. They don’t want to be pushed, questioned, or assaulted in any way. And unfortunately, most folks in sales enter a prospecting conversation with an agenda to make a sale – get into rapport, qualify, and either get an appointment or make a pitch.
CHANGE THE APPROACH/CHANGE THE OUTCOME
Imagine if you call up and want to give something. Imagine if you call up and want to help them decide how to be excellent. It’s an entirely different conversation.
Rather than say: “Hi, I’m John from X company. Do you have a moment? I sell Y and I believe you could greatly benefit from it. Would you be willing to spend some time on the phone with me to see if we have a possible fit? I’d love to tell you about how our product can work for you.” And that’s a nice sales person.
Say this: “Hi. I’m John and I’m from X company. This is a sales call. Is this a good time to speak? I sell specialized sales training (or whatever), and I’m wondering how you choose new sales skills to add to the ones you currently train your sales folks? And, how would you know that adding something new might offer you an additional tool kit to work with what you’re already doing successfully?”
By using your conversation to have the prospect begin to consider ADDING something, it’s much easier for them to start to think positively about change (and make no mistake, purchasing your solution – regardless of what it is – represents change). Not to mention you are suggesting an addition rather than a subtraction.
What sales folks forget is that when you pitch or present your solution, you are asking buyers to give up what they are familiar with and has gotten them the success they currently have. It’s not so simple as seeing something new and liking it. It’s an entire change management issue they must deal with. And knowing the details of your solution is the very last thing they need. The last thing.
So think about the question I’ve posed a hundred times or more: Would you rather sell? or have someone buy? Your closing rates are less than 90%. Why not try adding something new to the front end of what you’re doing and have a greater chance of attaining excellence? After all, you’re not fine. Thanks.
Take a look at the Learning Accelerators to help you add functionality to what you’re already doing.
3 thoughts on “Getting beyond “We’re fine, thanks””
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This is an interesting approach …
I sell new-account business only (re-building a sales office for an IT consulting and integration company) and the only tool we get is the telephone and whatever lead list WE care to compile. It’s VERY tough! Most C-level or Dir-level people are as technically adept as we (or sincerely believe they are) and, fundamentally, we have the same products OTHER integrators have, so … where’s the differentiation? There isn’t any! So, how did I wind-up working for this company … it was much better than unemployment (20 months out of work!).
So, to be able to NOT have to say “My dog’s bigger than XYZ’s dog … or more importantly my dog’s NEWER or more ADVANCED than XYZ’s …” can potentially make a difference. I will try it out on my next 250 cold calls and report back.
Steve: a brief discussion won’t get you much change. The model is quite
complex – very learnable, but because it’s not sales it takes some learning
– but must be taught. I have books on it (www.buyingfacilitation.com) and
mp3s, and learning/study guides and Learning Accelerators.
You might get a bit of a tick up with the new thinking, but for real change,
you’ll need to learn a few skills.
This is NOT SALES but a change management model.