You’re close, really close, to making a sale. Your potential client is in the market for your product or service and you’ve had a couple of good meetings.
Based on his most recent e-mail, “Everything looks good — I’ll get back to you so we can move this forward”–everything points to a probable sale. You feel so relaxed, happy, and hopeful. Then a couple of days go by with no phone call or e-mail. You tell yourself, “He’s probably busy. I know he’ll get in touch tomorrow.” But tomorrow comes and goes with no word.
You start to panic. Your self-talk turns negative: “I can’t believe this…This is really starting to hurt…He let me believe it was a sure thing…I trusted him…now he’s disappeared on me, and I was counting on this sale…” The relaxed, happy feeling is gone. You’ve fallen victim to “hopeium ” again.
Have you been in this situation before?
Of course you have–we all have, and it’s painful. So, can you keep from getting dropped? Yes–With the new mindset, you can abandon the salesperson role and come from a place of integrity that stems directly from your personal brand that doesn’t compromise your authentic self. This opens communication with your potential clients so you can learn the truth about their situation–and that’s what you always want.
These suggestions will help:
Don’t assume the sale. Potential clients are used to the traditional buyer-seller relationship, so they may decide not to tell you things that might make them vulnerable to you. Until you’re sure you know the complete truth, you can never assume the sale.
Keep making it easy for potential clients to tell you their truth. Toward the end of your conversation, ask, “Do you have any more questions?” If potential clients say no, follow up with the 100-percent-final truth-gathering question: “Now, are you 100 percent sure that there’s nothing else that I can do on my end to make you feel more comfortable with this situation?” You’ll be amazed how often people then say, “Well, actually, there is one more issue…” And it’s at that point that you really start to hear their truth.
Call back to get the truth, not close the sale. Most potential clients who suddenly “disappear” will be expecting you chase them down by calling them and saying, “Hi, I was just wondering where things are at?” Instead, eliminate all sales pressure by telling them that you’re okay with their decision not to move forward, based on their not having called you back. In other words, take a step backward. Most of the time, it’ll open the door to a new level of open, trusting communication.
Reassure potential clients that you can handle a “no.” Of course we’d rather not hear a “no.” But the only way to free yourself and your clients from subtle sales pressures is to let them know that it’s not about the sale but about the best choice for them–and if that means no sale, it’s okay, because it’s ultimately not about you but about them.
Ask for feedback. Whenever potential clients “disappear,” call them back (e-mail them if you have to, but only as a last resort because dialogue is always better) and simply ask, “Would you please share your feedback with me as to how I can improve for next time? Now that our sales process is over, I’m committed to understanding where I went wrong.” This is not being feeble or weak — it’s being humble, which often triggers the truth.
Don’t try to “close” a sale. If your intuition tells you that the sales process isn’t going in the direction it should be going – which is always toward greater trust and truth–trust those feeling. Then, make it safe for potential clients to tell you where they stand. It’s simple–all you have to say is, “Where do you think we should go from here?” (But be prepared: you might not want to hear the truth of how they’re feeling. You can cope with this by keeping your larger goal in mind, which is always to establish that the two of you have a “fit.”)
Give yourself the last word. Eliminate the anxiety of waiting for the final calls that will tell you whether the sale is going to happen–instead, schedule a time for getting back to each other. This eliminates chasing. Simply suggest, “Can we plan to get back to each other on a day and at a time that works for you–not to close the sale, but to simply bring closure regardless of what you decide. I’m okay either way, and that’ll save us from having to chase each other.”
You’ll find that these suggestions make selling much less painful because you learn to focus on the truth instead of the sale.