Are you looking for a way to manage conversations with prospects that go “south” without warning? I know this has happened to me quite a bit throughout my years in business. If it has happened to you, then you know it’s never a fun situation. In fact, in can be quite unnerving to feel like a prospect is not just saying “No”, but also saying it with enough attitude to make you want to back slap them…and their mamma just for bringing them into this world. I have definitely run into my fair share of “objectors” in my day, and I think it’s important to know that when leads and prospects behave in ways that make you want to act out of character, or respond in ways that are not consistent with who you want to be, then it’s definitely time to end the conversation and move on.
I recently had a friend share a story about a person she was introducing her product to who, at first, was very cordial and polite during the initial meeting when she explained the benefits of her product. She then went on to say that when she returned the next day to “close the deal”, the prospect began berating her, the company she represented, and the products she were hoping to sell to this person. She was obviously taken aback from this sudden change of heart and obvious hostility, but instead of remaining calm and allowing room for this person’s objectionable behavior, she immediately went on the defensive, and began firing darts back at the prospect. Rule #1 in business is that the customer is always right. We all know that the customer is not always right, but that’s a nice way of saying “don’t argue with your customers” (or leads and prospects for that matter). This NEVER leads to a good outcome, and you will certainly kill any chance you have to turn the situation around.
Now, you might say that this situation was not possible to be salvaged, but I beg to differ. Think about it for a minute…what if my friend, instead of arguing with the prospect, decided that she would hear him out, and ask clarifying questions to truly try to understand what his concerns, issues, and objections? What if she, instead of matching his hostility, decided to take a step back and listen intently to what he was saying despite how she was feeling inside at that moment. It’s quite possible that if she had decided that she was going to benefit from the feedback and take it under advisement, while also leaving room for him to feel the way he was (ie, not trying to change his mind…another major blunder in moments like this). It’s very likely he would have no choice but to reciprocate her action by also calming himself down and using a more reasonable tone of voice while also sharing his concerns in a more constructive way. You see, when we match negative energy with negative energy, the result is a really negative situation, but if we decide to remain positive and seek understanding, then our prospects will most likely give us an avenue to turn the situation around and potentially have an opportunity to address their objections and make a sale.
I know, you’re not quite sure this will work, but trust me, it has for me…and it can for you as well. The key is to remain calm, and never argue with angry, hostile, or negative leads, prospects, or clients. Instead, remain calm, speak calmly, and above all, listen to what they have to say while asking questions to show them that you’re trying to understand. This will at very least maintain the relationship between the two of you and even if you don’t make the sale, you’ll have the chance to keep them as a warm market for something else you may have to offer down the road. It’s a win-win situation for you and you’ll feel like a true professional when you know that you can master your own emotions and achieve positive outcomes in any negative situation. If you can do this, you will truly be unstoppable!