On a recent coaching call, I was explaining how to handle the prospect who doesn't admit to having an issue with which they need help. During a first call where the salesperson is taking a consultative approach, it's not unusual for a prospect to become protective or defensive by denying having issues. At this point, most (74% according to Objective Management Group) salespeople will choose one of the following three paths:
- They hang up - no problem means no solution - good bye.
- They get combative - of course there's a problem - we just haven't found it yet, so let's fight.
- They revert to selling their features and benefits, hoping to generate interest.
- It's possible that there simply isn't another part of the story. No problem. No solution. No prospect. But your salespeople can feel good because they made a second effort.
- It's possible that the prospect isn't ready to share the rest of the story yet. No problem. Use that as an excuse to schedule a get-acquainted meeting so the prospect can feel more comfortable about sharing. That is a much more acceptable outcome than taking a put-off.
- The prospect doesn't like the question and ends the call. Salespeople with Need for Approval or Difficulty Recovering from Rejection won't like this, but that's how this sport works.
- The prospect begins sharing a challenge or issue and the salesperson can schedule a first meeting or call.