Topics That Can Drive Away Prospects

BY Jessica Helinski
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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.”