While there’s no magic wand that will instantly get a prospect to say “yes,” one industry professional believes there are magic words that will do the trick. Inc.com contributor Geoffrey James knows that to shift a prospect’s “no” to a “yes,” you need to keep the conversation going. Whether you’re selling online or in-person, a continued conversation will help you learn more about the other person and propose a deal that will make sense to that person. How do you keep the conversation going though after a negative response?
Typically, a seller will respond by asking why, or will essentially ignore the prospect and continue with the pitch. Or, some reps simply accept the rejection and quickly give up. James believes none of these should be your next action; he suggests a different tactic. James swears by the following four “magic “words: “Just out of curiosity…” This little phrase will help you continue the dialogue, and it serves as a way to learn more about the prospect and the reasons for his or her hesitancy. He gives the following example of how it works:
- Prospect: "I'm not interested."
- You: "I understand completely. Just out of curiosity, why aren't you interested?"
“By saying ‘I understand completely’ you signal that you heard the ‘no’ and that you respect it.,” he explains. “Then, by leading with ‘Just out of curiosity…', you've asked the prospect to educate you without questioning that decision.” He goes on to explain that one of three things will happen next:
- The prospect will decline to answer, which just leaves you where you were at before you asked. No harm done.
- The prospect shares deal-breaking information (“we are going out of business,” etc.). This lets you know the deal’s demise is beyond your control.
- The prospect gives a reason that you can actually influence. Whether it’s budget or they work with a competitor, you’re instantly clued in to how to counter effectively. You are aware of the barrier(s) and can continue the conversation with the upper hand.
The beauty is that you can actually use those four magic words again in the conversation to uncover specifics, such as the actual budget or who they currently use as a vendor. James believes this strategy of respectfully continuing the conversation is invaluable. The next time you face objection, try using his tip to stretch the conversation and gain important insight.