Apr17Header blog

Do You Know This Prospect?

“Part of my job involves purchasing. That means I have to deal with salespeople. I hate the song-and-dance that goes on. They act like they’re your friend, but they’re just there to sell you something, right?

“And if you don’t watch out, you’ll end up buying too much, the wrong thing, or something that’s priced too high. I think it’s best not to show your hand too much, or they’ll take advantage.

“So, don’t take it personally that when you show up at my office, I may keep you waiting. And if I do talk with you, I’m going to be skeptical, because I don’t think our goals are the same. I may need something from you, but you have an agenda of what your company is pushing to sell, and you’re trying to meet your quota. Me? I’m just trying to make the best deal. That will make my boss happy. Since you and I are at cross purposes, I’m pretty doubtful about the outcome. But hey, take your best shot.”

How to Respond?

Remind you of someone? Yet, there is hope. Your knowledge of Q4 relationship selling should make it easy to recognize this prospect’s behavior. Once you size-up the prospect, what can you do to work with this person’s skeptical behavior and resistance to get somewhere?

Q2 Distrustful Behavior

It’s not difficult to identify this behavior as Q2 passive — negative and suspicious of the selling process. In fact, it may seem hopeless to engage with the prospect.


Remember, though, that while we can’t change people’s personalities, we have proven that you can influence others’ behavior through your own behavior.


You already have a leg up in that you most likely don’t fit this prospect’s sales stereotype: you don’t act unprofessionally. You are not trying to trick people into buying against their better judgment.


You Can’t Sell if They Aren’t Engaged

However, this person’s mental resistance and skepticism are formidable. The place to start is to try to raise receptivity. For Q2 behavior, you should not be trying to “sell” anything at first. You simply are trying to begin a conversation, to learn something about the other person. After all, you can’t accomplish anything if this person stays behind a barrier. Getting through starts with your listening.


It also means not being a know-it-all; don’t try to impress this prospect with your knowledge of your business. Rather, use probing to put the spotlight on the prospect, finding out his/her specific needs. Be patient, and never pressure someone exhibiting Q2 behavior to move along or make decisions.


Handled this way, you offer yourself as a problem-solver. After all, the prospect has to buy from someone. So, even if cynical, the individual may be receptive to letting you help him/her succeed in the boss’ eyes. That differentiates you from being “just another salesperson.”


Overcoming Distrust

Similarly, using a probing strategy to build rapport is also a good way to avoid the distrust this prospect has for friendliness from a salesperson. Adjust your behavior so that instead of trying to be an instant pal, which comes off as disingenuous, you build trust as a go-to resource for the things the other person needs to accomplish.
It’s all a matter of modifying your own sales style when confronted with Q2 behavior, concentrating on the other person instead of you, and probing to learn how you can meet his/her needs.