Don’t You Understand Me?
This is a Sandler Weekly Sales Tip from guest poster Shulman & Associates.
Nick figured that Heather was just another one of those prospects that had to run through every objection she could think of before making a decision. For the past 15 minutes, he had been doing nothing else and he was, he admitted to himself, gradually losing his patience.
“So just what is it that you want me to hear?” responded Heather.
“Well, it looks as if the picture I’m trying to paint for you isn’t what you want to see. If it isn’t, how do I clear things up for you?”
“That’s simple, Nick. You tell me that spending this amount of money is an investment, and I have to say that the amount you’ve mentioned is way out of range of what I’ve heard from others who have sat right there in that chair.”
“In light of our reputation for service, can you foresee a time when you’ll need service?”
“I have to say it, Nick…that’s about the sixth time I’ve said something and you just don’t hear the message. I tell you that your product is high-priced compared to what others sell it for, and you start telling me about my people yelling for service. I hear them Nick, but I don’t hear you.”
“I was just trying to make the point that while others can sell you the product, can you see them, in the future when we both know service will be needed, servicing it?”
“Let me hear it from you Nick, if I buy from the competition, will you come and fix it later? Either I pay them for service or I pay you, what’s the difference. Sounds like I save some money up front, and then get you to service it – music to my ears.”
“How do you know that we’ll provide servicing to someone who didn’t buy from us? It would appear to me that if I had to see client X who bought from me, or client Y who did not, I’d keep client X in view.”
“Tell you what, Nick,” said Heather with a grimace on her face, “I’m going with the competition. Hear me?”
Heather is frustrated with Nick to such an extent that she has made the decision never to buy anything from Nick. From Nick’s point of view, he’s got a prospect who is just coming up with the standard, run-of-the-mill objections and enjoys playing hard-to-get.
What do you think would have happened if Nick had simply said to Heather, “I don’t think you understand me,” and waited for a response?
She most likely would have responded that she didn’t, and further she would have come back and said that Nick didn’t understand her.
At that point Nick could have said, “What do you want to do about this sorry state?”
Either Heather would have ended it and left, thereby saving Nick from wasting time, or she would have reopened the possibility of a sale happening.
Instead, Nick assumed Heather was just coming up with objectives that he needed to overcome in order for him to do his job.
Wasn’t his job to understand Heather and allow her to come to a buying decision? Or was his job to continue to misunderstand her and finally drive her from the store without any chance of her buying from his company?
You can choose to understand what a prospect is saying or ignore the message. What is easier to do than ask, “I kind of get the feeling that you are talking about X and I’m talking about Y. How do you feel about it?”
At best, the prospect will say she understands what you are saying perfectly and keep going. Great, that’s what you want.
However, if you get the other response, that’s your alarm bell to let you know that the two of you are not communicating. Now you need to restart your communication channels so that you both understand where you are both going.
“Don’t know where I lost your message. If it wouldn’t be a problem, could we start back at the beginning again? Go ahead.”
Either the prospect will think you are nuts and leave, though the chance of this happening is minimal, or the prospect will feel that you are one of the only people she has talked to that really wants to understand her needs. This feeling alone will do more to make the sale than anything else you do.
Most of us are absolutely convinced that everything we say is crystal clear and that no one could ever misunderstand a single world – now did you read that as “word” or “world?”
About the author:
Shulman & Associates is a professional development firm specializing in sales and management training and sales force evaluation. Visit their website and sign up to receive the free sales tip of the week. Learn how to increase sales, improve margins, and accelerate new business development.