Topics That Can Drive Away Prospects

by | 2 minute read

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is so impor­tant when work­ing with prospects. But, there are cer­tain top­ics that you should avoid if you hope to land their busi­ness. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, many reps can’t always dif­fer­en­ti­ate between what’s appro­pri­ate to dis­cuss and what isn’t. A recent arti­cle, writ­ten by CEO of Sales­folk Heather R. Mor­gan, lists six things NOT to talk about when con­vers­ing with a poten­tial client, both in-person and dig­i­tal­ly. “The occa­sion­al detail about your life has its uses in a sales rela­tion­ship, par­tic­u­lar­ly once you move beyond the cold-email stage,” she explains. “But mis­us­ing that tac­tic by giv­ing away inap­pro­pri­ate infor­ma­tion can stop a poten­tial deal dead in its tracks.”

Below are a few high­lights from her post:

Rela­tion­ship prob­lems. This top­ic is a def­i­nite no-no, as it can only make things awk­ward. No mat­ter how much you’re dying to vent or how car­ing the prospect seems, avoid this top­ic. You are speak­ing with the prospect to dis­cuss his or her busi­ness — not your love life.

Last night’s shenani­gans. Not feel­ing so hot today because of a few too many the night before? Keep it to your­self. Men­tion­ing a fun get-together can be a great con­ver­sa­tion starter but drunk details should be kept to your­self.

Finan­cial issues. Dis­cussing mon­ey trou­bles can make prospects think you’re look­ing for sym­pa­thy (and an easy sale) even if that isn’t your inten­tion. “If you’re hint­ing at missed mort­gage pay­ments or high cred­it card bills, the prospect no longer feels spe­cial and starts to think you are only look­ing to solve your prob­lems, not theirs,” Mor­gan writes. “An easy way to steer clear of this trap is to avoid all money-related talk that isn’t part of the deal at hand.”

While it’s impor­tant to devel­op rap­port with prospects, get­ting too per­son­al can make the prospect uncom­fort­able. Dis­cussing these top­ics also puts your pro­fes­sion­al­ism into ques­tion and cre­ates con­cern over your moti­va­tion. There are sit­u­a­tions where per­son­al details can enhance the rela­tion­ship. But, as Mor­gan warns, “until you’re com­plete­ly sure of what those per­son­al details should and shouldn’t be, pro­ceed with cau­tion.”

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jes­si­ca is a senior research ana­lyst for Sales­Fu­el focus­ing on sell­ing to SMB deci­sion mak­ers. She also reports on sales and pre­sen­ta­tion tips for Sales­Fu­el and Media Sales Today. Jes­si­ca is a grad­u­ate of Ohio Uni­ver­si­ty.