We all know every prospect is somewhere between a yes and a no – but the real question is: are they a “slow yes” or a “slow no?”
Brian Hicks brings this up in discussing the “ultimate closing technique” in his article in the April issue of Benefits Selling. He says it’s a foolproof technique for getting prospects to give you the answer you need. He suggests posing the question:
“Mr./Ms. Decision Maker, we’ve been talking about this for a little while now and I feel like we’re making progress, but I want to be sure I’m not missing the signals. My question is, is this a slow yes or a slow no?”
And then you continue with: If it’s a slow no, I’m guessing you’re not going to do it and just don’t want to hurt my feelings. I appreciate that, but I make my living on two words: “yes” or “no.” “Maybe so” doesn’t help me or you, because I’ll keep coming back until I hear one of those answers and it becomes awkward for both of us. So if this is a slow no, let’s end this right now.
If it’s a slow yes, though, you’ve seen value in what we’ve discussed but there’s some question I haven’t answered that’s keeping you from moving forward today. Do you mind me asking what that is?” And once the prospect tells you what it is, you respond: “I understand. If we can resolve that, is there any reason you wouldn’t want to move forward today?”
While you wouldn’t use this “technique” on your first visit, you might be amazed at how positively people respond to this kind of openness after you’ve established some rapport. How would it change your sales calls if you were this open with all your prospects?
Hicks suggests that it also gets your head straight because he says there’s something about a “maybe so.” Maybe so is a bit of a Snuggie. It wraps you up and keeps you warm. As great as warm is, though, it doesn’t get you paid. As sales people, hear “no” so often that we find ourselves craving the warmth of that Snuggie and we don’t want to give it up.
But here’s the $64,000 question: How much is that Snuggie costing you? How many hours have you spent tracking down a prospect who just won’t get off the dime? Imagine how much progress you could be making with an eventual yes if you got just one “maybe so” to say no.