YOU’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY! With those words my great prospect dispensed with me and dashed my hopes for a big sale……not really. Well, she did say that, but fortunately I had no “hopes” as I’ve learned to live that cardinal rule of sales: Don’t get emotionally involved in a sales call – and also another one that says, You’ve got NOTHING until you’ve got a check in the bank, and even then, keep one eye over your shoulder. Ultimately I had to admit to myself: She’s just not that into me!
Back to driving crazy – how could a laid back, low key guy like me possibly drive a prospect crazy? Probably, I didn’t, but more importantly, how do you deal with prospects who come down on you like that?
Here was the scenario. I met a lady, let’s call her Susan, who owns a company. She hired me to do a little work with the agreement that we would speak further if she liked what I did. When the initial work was done, she said, “Let’s get together to talk about the next step, call me next week and we’ll set an appointment.” I called; we set a date, which she cancelled the day before, due to her schedule. I called back, here were the ensuing conversations:
Susan: You caught me in a conference call. Call me in a week and we’ll schedule a date.
A week later.
Susan: I’m on a conference call. Call me in two weeks; I need time to get out from under my backlog of work.
Brad: Sounds like maybe this isn’t real important; are you sure you want me to call back?
Susan: Absolutely, call me in two weeks and we’ll get together, I can’t talk now, I do want to speak with you.
Two weeks later:
Brad: Hi, it’s Brad McDonald.
Susan: (loud and emphatic) You always catch me on a conference call. I promise I will call you, I don’t need anything now, you’re driving me crazy!
Brad: I don’t want to drive you crazy, good bye.
Wow, what makes prospects treat us that way? Prospects who dump on you like that have a need for power that is not being met elsewhere in their lives. So they take it out on you, a target of opportunity. Don’t take it personally. This is not combat – when under attack, fall back! We don’t need power hungry or rude people in our lives; when somebody pulls a power play on you, consider whether that person is a prospect you really want to turn into a client…or not. If not, dispense with them politely and quickly.
In an effort to sort out who’s into you and who’s not, use an UP FRONT CONTRACT. As evidenced by my exchange with Susan, it won’t always work perfectly, but generally it will help you eliminate those who are not really into you.
George: Let’s talk in a week and set a time to get together.
You: George, I’m glad to call you in a week, but can you help me out here? As hard as it is for us to get in touch with each other, can we set a specific time for our call?
George: Ten AM on Tuesday.
You: Great, should I put that in my calendar in pencil or pen?
You: One more thing, what would you like to accomplish on this call?
If George gives you much pushback on this, he’s just not that into you! If he’s serious about talking or getting together, he will appreciate your questions and answer them.
Above all else, stay in your adult ego state when dealing with prospects. Don’t get emotionally involved and don’t fire back when you are attacked. When prospects decide to take out their anxieties or frustrations on you, don’t absorb the attack, let it bounce off.
In one sense you can be grateful for the rare occasions when your prospect abuses you; when she says, “You’re driving me crazy,” remember, it’s not your fault, she’s driving herself crazy – it’s then that you know – She’s just not that into me!
Copyright, Sandler Training, 2009.
Brad McDonald is President of Sandler Training of Norfolk. He can be reached at 227-9996.