Calming an upset prospect can not only earn you a life long client but several referrals as well. Not only that but the social networking connections are worth every bit of energy it took to win that prospect over.
Here are some ways to turn a negative prospect into a positive one based off of this bloggers own personal experience:
Years ago, I met with a potential client who had a growing insurance agency. He was at that stage where his number one challenge was hiring new advisors and support staff and doing it all without spending himself into bankruptcy.
He had a big need for business planning help, but when I first met with him he shocked me by saying he didn’t believe in wasting time on a plan. When I tried to point out how planning would help him make decisions he shot back with, “I’m intuitive. I make decisions on the fly. How can I plan for what will happen three years from now when I can’t predict what will happen next week?” There was no way I was going to earn his business unless I could change his basic assumptions about planning.
I knew that arguing or telling him he was wrong would only make him more defensive and closed to my ideas. If I was going to be able to help him, I needed to find a way to expand his thinking without confrontation.
The pivot technique
Luckily there’s an effective way to do this that many successful salespeople do naturally. It’s called the Ransberger Pivot. The pivot is a method invented by Ray Ransberger and Marshall Fritz, an American libertarian activist, for opening a useful discussion with people who don’t agree with your position—without telling them they’re wrong. The idea behind it is pretty simple: don’t argue or confront—listen. Listen to and understand your prospect’s objections, then find a common ground between their position and yours. When you reveal the common ground you take their ego out of the equation and create a platform from which to build.
A new way of thinking
I could see from the look on his face that for him this was a new way of looking at planning. And that it had some appeal. Time for one last build. I said, “When you clearly define where you want to go, it’s easier to choose the actions you need to take today to get you there. Plans don’t predict the future, they create it.” Now our common ground had expanded to include my position on planning. We’d gone from being on opposite sides of the issue to agreement. And from there we were able to start talking about planning his future, rather than arguing about the value of planning.
It always pays to turn the tables to shed a positive light on both your advice as well as your prospects ideas.
What is your favorite trick to reel in a negative prospect?
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