Five minutes. You wouldn't think it would be difficult to misconstrue those two simple words. However, after many years of marriage, I can assure you that it has two entirely different meanings.
To me, it's about five minutes, give or take a few. To my husband, it's exactly five minutes. On the dot. Not one second later. I drive him crazy.
Same thing with the word "Nothing." When my husband asks, "What's wrong?" and I say "nothing," he assumes he's off the hook. Truth is, he's in really deep trouble.
See where I'm going with this? When you're selling, you and your prospect may have entirely different perceptions of some very common phrases. This disconnect can cause you to do the wrong thing. For example, here are two common things that prospects may say to you:
"We're happy with our current provider."
You think, "Darn it. Everyone's 'happy' with my competitors. I don't know how I'm going to meet my quota - especially since I can't find anyone who's ready to make a decision."
When your prospects brush you off with this comment, they really mean: "You've said absolutely nothing that piques my curiosity and makes me want to learn more." In reality, research shows that over 70% of the people who say this to you would change from their current provider - if they had a good reason to do so.
Instead of hanging up frustrated, you might say, "I hear that all the time. But if you knew that we've helped similar firms reduce their overall print spend by up to 29%, would that interest you?"
"Is that the best price you have?"
You think: "OMG. Another person who's only focus is on how much things cost. That's all people care about these days."
Your prospects usually mean: "I need to ensure that my money is well spent. In fact, I'll even pay more if I'm getting additional value."
Instead of panicking, you might ask, "Are you really looking for the cheapest option? Or, are you focused on making a smart investment?" This leads to an entirely different conversation and ultimate outcome.
Here's the deal. Don't take your prospects' words at face value. Think about what they might really be saying. Ask questions to get clarity. And, if necessary, rephrase what you say. Your goal is to have meaningful conversations about what really matters.
About the Author
Jill Konrath is the author of AGILE Selling, SNAP Selling & Selling to Big Companies. Click here to get her FREE Email Sales Kit.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.
7 Questions to Improve Your Sales Strategy
Elevator Speech vs. Unique Selling Proposition vs. Value Proposition