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Today’s sales anxiety is here:
|“How to overcome the fear of resistance from experienced clients who have a negative view of sales people”
What is really going on here?
This was an interesting anxiety to consider because there is so much in it, including
- your fear of what others might think
- your self-consciousness about being in sales
I’ve written about role issues before in my posts about cognitive dissonance here and here. In regards to fearing that clients have resistance, let me share two important concepts that will help you ascertain whether there is any real resistance, or whether you are imagining things.
I’m with you, I hope my prospects give me a “yes” to my propositions, although I’ll accept a “no”, but they’re welcome to keep their “maybes” to themselves.
Getting them “real”
If you’re perceiving resistance, then it’s time for a take-away (see below).
If you’re not perceiving resistance, but anticipating it, then get them “real”. Instead of imagining resistance, probe for it.
We’re all familiar with the amiable personality phase that people will assume when they want to avoid conflict. They will always say yes to appointments, demonstrate kindness, answer your questions openly and listen to you as you go about your pitch, politely making all the right noises, then finally excusing themselves from any real commitments.
This is a waste of time, for both you and your prospect. Worse, amiable salespeople and amiable prospects indulge in it routinely, in the hopes of preserving a “relationship”. It rarely matters that this professional socialising only serves to prolong the inevitable parting, because there really just isn’t a deal there.
If you are anticipating resistance, but not seeing any, simply get them real by asking the prospect a question that reveals their genuine level of commitment. Here’s a few:
- The investment for this solution will cost between X and Y, is that within your current budget?
- When did you last approve something of this nature?
- What might stop you from investing in this today?
- Who else might you need to speak to to get a final sign off on this agreement?
How they answer these questions – not only their words, but the speed at which they respond, the tone of their voice, their body language and facial expression will all serve to instruct you on whether they are seriously interested and capable, or not.
Ego-driven prospects also mask resistance, but in a different way. If they don’t have the money or authority to say “yes”, then they might instead aim to put you off your game by having you jump through countless hoops solely to postpone the final question that will reveal they neither have the power nor the money to say “yes” to you. In these instances, I rely on the take-away.
The take-away looks something like this:
- “Is it possible that this might not be the right solution for you? Because I’m sensing that you might not be as interested as I hoped?”
- “While we think this is the best solution available in the marketplace, for whatever reason, it might not be for you. Can you think of why this solution might not be right for you?
or even the more direct…
- “I’m sensing some resistance to my proposition, and that’s alright. If you think this isn’t for you, then it’s ok to tell me as I wouldn’t want to waste your time or mine.”
To the uninitiated, these phrases might seem somewhat brash, or arrogant. As with most things you might say, tone of voice is everything. A calmly, well-worded, and sincerely communicated take-away separates the serious from the frivolous. It allows the prospect an easy out if they’re not interested. If they are interested, I can assure you that they will reply to your take-away with a renewed enthusiasm for your offer, often followed with the honesty you seek.
Get the “no’s” out of the way to make room for the “yes’s”
The reason you fear resistance is because you fear the “no”. Don’t fear it, get it for real, because it’s miles better than a “maybe”.
“Maybe’s” make you feel better, give you a false sense you are making progress, and provide you with an empty security that enables you to take your foot off the pedal.
Instead, get through as many “no’s” as you can, and as quickly as you can, because it’s through the “no’s” that you will get to the “yes’s” faster.