I sometimes get asked by salespeople “why don’t people just tell us the truth?” or “why can’t they just let us know what’s going on?” There are even sales experts claiming that buyers lie to you…cue a series of manipulative loaded questions to undermine them and give you a psychological edge…
…That kind of thinking is not healthy or helpful! It creates a conflict and selling is all about getting agreement! I understand it gets really frustrating. The amount of frustration is directly proportionate to the amount of opportunities in your pipeline though!
Prospects and buyers do not lie to us, nor should we think or feel that way. They tell us what is conducive at the time or give a response they think we want to hear from a less well thought out question. Or they go silent.
Reverse engineer the problem: if we think the buyer is holding back on us it’s our responsibility to figure out why- it’s either they’ve lost interest, the questions we are asking aren’t stimulating them or there’s something else going on in their business that’s distracting them.
I was in a sales coaching session recently and suddenly felt this happening. So slammed on the brakes in the conversation and asked “tell me which bits have been most helpful so far and any that have been less helpful…”
There was a look of relief on my client’s face and he told me what was and what wasn’t relevant. Thankfully it was the most recent piece we’d just started on so we were able to change direction.
Here are some examples of questions you can use or adapt for your own purpose which will uncover delays, issues or other pipeline stalls:
“Is there anything else going on in the business that might take priority over this?”
“What will you do if you don’t do this?”
“Apart from you who else is involved in the process?”
“How important is it to you to fix this issue?”
“Is there anything else you feel I should know?”
“Have I missed anything?”
I hope you find this useful and can apply or adapt ideas for opportunities in your business. What questions do you use in this situation? Please share this article with anyone you know who would find it useful.