Sales Resistance and the Recession - 7 Steps to Turn Prospects Around

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 17, 2008 @ 08:07 AM

You learned the three R's when you were in grade school but selling in today's economy is about two R's - resistance and recession - and they are related.  While resistance is always lurking in the background, the recession brings it to the forefront and your salespeople must be able to sell - despite it - and therein lies the problem.

Most salespeople, upon hearing "not interested" or "we're all set" or "we're not spending any money" or "we'd like to do this instead" usually utter some form of "OK" and end the call. 

A much smaller percentage of salespeople try to turn it around but in doing so sound like high pressure salespeople.  Any presentation in the face of resistance, regardless of how short, is perceived by the prospect as pressure.  There are a very small percentage of salespeople who will turn it around by asking permission to challenge or push back - I actually use these words: "Is it OK if I push back on something you just said?"

As long as your salespeople let their prospects talk - taking notes about the cracks in their argument and the discrepancies in their logic - it doesn't really matter when your salespeople make the attempt to turn their prospects around.  And once they make the effort, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes.  It might sound something like this: "I heard you say that you're most interested in providing moon travel and that's important.  But I also heard you say that you're struggling with your existing tours of the earth and your fleet is unreliable, in disrepair, and customers are getting upset.  Why wouldn't you want to solve the existing problem first?"

There are seven steps for turning prospects around in the face of resistance. 

  1. Listen
  2. Take Notes
  3. Ask Permission to Challenge
  4. State Their Goal
  5. Note Discrepancy 1
  6. Note Discrepancy 2
  7. Ask the challenging Question

And there is one rule for turning prospects around in the face of resistance.

  1. Do not present facts or logic 

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan 

Topics: coaching

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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