So there is this interesting phenomenon that happens in sales – you are going to trigger people. They are going to feel like you don’t care, like you are being pushy, or annoying, or you are the bearer of bad news.
But this isn’t your business. As long as you have integrity and deliver a high quality product or service that creates results, you don’t get to control how they feel. Trying to control how they feel is actually JUST as manipulative as other sales tactics.
So if how they feel is NOT your business, what IS your business?
Asking: “Is this sales tactic effective?”
First we have to define effective:
1. People say YES
2. People pay you on time (+well)
3. You enjoy working with these people and they value your expertise/take your advice.
4. People get the results they wanted working with you and give you raving testimonials.
(Caveat with #4, Not everyone is going to get amazing results. Because with most services there is a limit to what you can do. My health coach clients can’t MAKE their clients eat healthier and exercise. My travel consultant clients can plan an AMAZING trip, but if “Johnny” is whining the whole time that is beyond her responsibility. All you can do is be the best expert YOU can be in your field and continue learning and growing through training, trial and error, mentorship and experience. Over time, you will get better and better – and more in demand – and be able to hand pick clients who will get better results than others.)
If you don’t get to control how other people feel in the sales process, how do you differentiate between effective sales tactics and ineffective ones? Both will trigger your prospects – so you cannot use that as a measure of ineffectiveness.
#1 Define Prospect: Anyone who SAYS (keyword: *says*) they WANT the goal you help people achieve, or to solve the problem you help them solve.
If they have explicitly said they DON’T want it, they are not a prospect. If they aren’t a prospect, move on. Don’t waste your time or theirs chasing them down. (Just because you think “Jane” *should* want to be healthier, doesn’t mean SHE does. Stop wasting your time trying to convince her, click here for the Freedom From Convincing Template.)
If you are constantly attracting people who don’t have the goal or problem, you have to work with the Inner Ideal Client first (start here to find your Inner Ideal Client)
If the person in front of you hasn’t said anything about the subject, you don’t know yet if they are a prospect or not. Oftentimes, when you have a simple, clear elevator pitch, people will open up to YOU that they have the goal or problem you help people solve.
When you hear the magic words that they want the problem solved, or want to achieve a goal THEN you stand in your expertise and make a recommendation for next steps. This is where you might trigger them. They may not want to, or be ready to hear the truth. You cannot (and should not) protect them from the truth. The truth of what is required to achieve their goal: time, money, energy, etc. NOW. Be careful — don’t overly-exaggerate sacrifices to (unconsciously) scare people away. Remind them of the benefits of doing what is required. What they get, what the alternative is if they don’t do it.
Example: When I was leasing office space, people would get triggered when I told them the pricing. They often had mis-managed expectations. They wanted Tiffany’s at Target pricing. They would blame me, project their disappointment onto me. At first I took this personally, over time I realized they just didn’t like the truth and that had nothing to do with me. So instead of arguing with them, I patiently and confidently gave them choices: you can have the Class A office building with a luxury restaurant and nice hardwood floors and doorman, and pay $30k/year. Or, you can have the Class B space with a deli, older finishes for $20k/year. Which do you prefer?
If they refused to choose, I realized they were living in denial and I no longer wasted time with them. Some people eventually HAD to face the truth (their lease was ending and they had to make a decision – think about this like an apartment lease or house rental too). Others put off leasing space indefinitely. Depending on how quickly I knew they would have to make a decision, I could wait out their need, or move on and spend my time finding prospects who were more realistic.
In many of our businesses, the need is more subjective. There is no “lease ending” equivalent that requires them to make a decision by a certain date. They can just put off their goals as long as they want to live in denial. Maybe something happens where they can no longer stand the problem, or not achieving the goal. Maybe they are finally ready to face reality because they really want to change. And sometimes you meet people who want something so bad, they are happy you are finally giving them the answer. FINALLY helping them solve their problem, achieve their goal.
If you find that you are triggered by people who are in denial, that you need to convince them,
#1 – Can you see how you are wasting a lot of time and energy with people who will likely never be customers? You could be spending those precious resources targeting people who want to work with you.
#2 Can you see, objectively, how it isn’t really about YOU and your value?
#3 Move towards the trigger. Find out what is underneath. What are you really afraid to FEEL? (read more about Dealing with Sales Fears)…where do you prefer to live in denial?
This isn’t unique to marketing or a sales conversation either. If you cannot have these conversations with people when they are your prospects, if you shy away from them, or sugar-coat, or pussy-foot around the truth – you won’t be able to have these conversations with your paying clients. Which is a disservice to them and helping them get what they want.