I like rainbows and puppies and unicorns as much as the next guy.
I'm all for "win-win" and "win-win-win" scenarios.
I love it when a prospect calls me with a need. We have a nice, friendly conversation. I make a recommendattion. They pay full price and go home even happier than they arrived.
I love sipping a nice scotch while smoking a smooth Ashton Maduro as I sit in a hand-stiched leather chair next to my happy client that just agreed to a nice six or even seven figure deal.
But those happy moments usually arrive only after turmoil, angst, negotiation, and posturing, which you sometimes invite, but other times it's not fault.
The world is a messy place filled with good-intentioned but lazy, fatally-flawed individuals who, through the process of taking narrow-minded shortcuts such as lying, have created a heightened and unnecessary sense of distrust in the minds of your prospects. So in order to do what they think they must do to protect themselves and their interests, your ideal prospects, the people you can really help, put up defenses.
Maybe they are overly aggressive and even hostile to you. Maybe they are aloof and standoffish and play hard-to-get. Maybe they attempt to wear you down by asking for all of the details in the forms of brochures, presentations, proposals, and references.
Regardless of the tactics used, when you understand their overall strategy—to get to the truth—you can adjust your tactics to do the same.
Because in any and all relationships—including buyer/seller—the truth must come out if your goal is to establish anything beyond a one-night (one-sale) stand.
While the original mistrust may not be your fault, addressing it and navigating the treacherous lack-of-trust waters to a win-win resolution is your responsibility as a professional salesperson. And it starts with the smiling jab. Allow me to explain.
In the world of NLP they call this a "pattern interrupt."
Oren Klaff, in his fantastic book "Pitch Anything," calls it reframing or busting the frame. I just call it jabbing them in the nose...with a smile. (Smiles are like bacon. Everything goes better with bacon...and a smile.)
Before we go on let's get two things straight:
- I don't mean a literal jab, even though some people probably have earned it.
- There are multiple types of jabs when it comes to dealing with prospects.
Since #1 is obvious, let's get into the types of jabs, including when and how to use them.The most obvious is when you're dealing with an aggressive, A-type personality. You know the type.
- rude boss that looks down on everyone, shows up late for the meeting, barks at the staff, interrupts you every chance he gets, and is an overall bully.
Most salespeople show up to a meeting with the bully with the best intentions including a nice PowerPoint presentation, handouts for everyone plus extras to leave behind, a demo unit to show how easy their stuff is to use, and they even use great breath spray before walking into the meeting only to have everything come crashing down before the boss even arrives. And it's by design.
The hard-charging bully has a gate-keeper that informs you the bully is running late. You are instructed to take a seat in the lobby and you'll be informed when the bully will see you. When the bully arrives he cuts to the chase, tells you he only has 25 minutes instead of the hour you agreed to, and he doesn't have time for your presentation so can you "just show me your pricing options."
Most salespeople cave at this point.
The bully has kept you on ice, delayed your start, interrupted your flow, and positioned himself as king of the hill so he can get his questions answered, put you on the defensive so you are merely responding and reacting as he delivers blow after blow in his attempt to wear you down so even if you give your stuff away you feel like you can then "make it up on volume" so you didn't waste all of your time.
The sad truth is, when you give in instead of fight back, you perpetuate and accelerate the downward spiral of "salesperson = beggar," and everyone suffers.
When you're dealing with bullies like this your jab with a smile is almost literally a physical jab because these bullies only respect, respond to, and recognize power.
In an ideal world you've already agreed to a mutual agenda and you can refer to that when the bully charges you and say, "Hey, Mr. Bully, remember when we set this meeting you agreed to the agenda that I emailed to you and I also brought a physical copy here. What has changed since then?"
The jab has been delivered. The smile can come in the form of simply not attacking him and calling him a liar, just ask the question like you are genuinely confused—which you are—then shut up and let him answer.
If you do not like his answer you are free to end the meeting right then and there (especially if you have a mutually-agreed upon agenda, which states as much) because you are not a beggar nor are you a punching bag.
If you did not agree to an agenda up front, you can still say, "Hey, Mr. Bully, last week you agreed to meet and I told you it would take an hour to address everything. What has changed since then?"
Don't begin catering to his every whim.
Don't try to compress your presentation and skip over slides.
Keep your composure.
Understand the value you bring.
Recognize that you'd only be wasting everyone's time if you ran through everything quickly.
And most importantly, accept the fact that life is a game, sales is a game, and negotiating is a game, and that you are now in the ring, toe-to-toe with a big time game player that has just set the rules of the game and while he may not want or expect to be punched in the nose, he does not mind it if it happens, and it's the only way he'll respect you and see you as an equal, which is really all you're asking for.
Because we know that people buy from people they know, like, and trust.
Bullies only like and trust people that have a backbone and stand up to them...with a smile.
People that know they have a great solution that can solve his major issues and are confident enough to withstand his onslaught and present their case in concise, professional manner, which means you do not attack the bully, but you do attack his tactics.
If you need more help growing your sales, check out the following resources scattered around this site and a few others I operate, such as:
- Make Every Sale
- Hire The Best Keynote Speaker
- Infusionsoft Review
- HubSpot vs Infusionsoft
- Ontraport vs Infusionsoft
Now go sell something.