Entrepreneur - - By Andrew Neitlich

Don’t read your prospect’s mind

Here is an interesting observation:

Many times, prospects call me and ask me if my programs do X or Y (i.e., in the case of my Boxing Fitness site, do I provide Continuing Education Units? Or, is my Certification accepted in gyms in Great Britain). Usually the answer is “no,” so when I get these questions, I cringe. I fear I’m not going to get the sale.

But I just answer honestly, without trying to sell, and a funny thing happens:

Many people sign up any way!

The same thing happens when I sell larger projects. People ask tough questions about services I may not offer, or ask if I can reduce my price, and the correct answer is “no.” So I say, “Sorry, but no.” And people often buy any way.

So don’t assume that because someone is getting a negative answer that they won’t buy. Don’t assume that they need that feature. Just stand your ground and answer honestly. People respect that, and often still buy. Sometimes they just want to know.

There are other examples of reading the prospect’s mind that can get you into trouble. If you assume that a prospect wants a certain feature and build that into your proposal, you can lose the sale by adding something they don’t want. For instance, I recently got called in to do some organizational development work for a University. I wanted to try out a new cultural assessment tool, and thought the client would love it. But this tool made them very uncomfortable and I almost lost the sale — until I spoke with them openly about it, found out their concerns, and pulled it out of scope.

Don’t assume you know what your client wants or is thinking. Have open, honest conversations with them and stand on equal footing when you do. Your sales will go up because you’ll understand what they do and don’t want, and what their real concerns are.