Sales and Sales Management Blog

October 20, 2009

Guest Article: “Listen to What Your Prospect is Saying to You,” by Wendy Weiss


Listen to What Your Prospect is Saying to You
by Wendy Weiss

I just hung up the telephone after an annoying conversation with someone who called to inquire if I would be interested in a joint venture. You see, yesterday I had received an email from Jane, the marketing director, describing their program and asking if I would be interested in promoting the program to my list. I took a look at their web site and it looked like they could have something of value to offer. While the program Jane wrote about in her email did not seem like a great fit, I am interested in finding joint venture partners that would add value for my subscribers, so I replied to the email:

“Hello Jane,

“Thank you for your email.

“I am not sure that we have an ideal fit for my list with this program, however I am looking for joint venture partners to work with.

“My list is entrepreneurs, business owners, sales professionals, service professionals and network marketers. I currently have 9600+ subscribers.”

We agreed via email to have a telephone conversation.

At the beginning of our conversation, I reiterated that I was not sure that their current program was right for my list. However, I was interested in finding potential joint venture partners. I asked what other types of programs they offered.

Jane responded by asking me about the market that I serve. Since I’d already given her that information in my email (”my list is entrepreneurs, business owners, sales professionals, service professionals and network marketers”), that was a bad first question. I pointed out to her that she already had that information.

Next, Jane began to give me details of their program offering. I let her talk for a minute or so, then said, “Jane, I just told you that I did not think this program is a fit for my list and asked you about other programs you plan to offer in the future. Why are you telling me about this program? It’s not a fit.”

She then offered to tell me about their principal, Mr. X, and his background and credentials. As I never promote any programs or products to my list unless I am familiar with them, I agreed to hear her out. Jane told me that, “Mr. X was a renowned and award-winning author and expert in his field. He had helped thousands of business owners with his unique and amazing programs…” I interrupted the hype and told her I didn’t see a fit, but I thanked her for her time. End of conversation.

So, what are our lessons learned today?

Jane sounded “on script.” That is, she’d been given a script, and a hypey one at that, and she was hell-bent on delivering it no matter what. She paid no attention to the information in my email, hence her first bad question. She didn’t listen to or question me when I told her that I was not interested in the program she was promoting but wanted to talk about other possibilities. She could have asked me, “What types of programs are you looking for?” or “What types of programs would be of value to your list?” Unfortunately, she did not.

While I am a true believer in scripting, that is not the way to use a script. While you always want to craft your presentation so that you are prepared, you also must listen to what your prospect says to you. Sometimes, despite all of your preparation, you may not have exactly the right script. Occasionally, you will come across a prospect who asks questions or offers objections that you have never before encountered, so you don’t have an ideal way to deal with them. Even so, you need to respond to your prospect appropriately. If you ignore their questions or statements (the way Jane did), you will end up with a prospect who is seriously annoyed (as I was).

If you encounter a question or an objection that you have never before heard, listen to your prospect and respond to what they are saying to the best of your ability. You may not be perfect, but that’s ok. After you hang up, write down exactly what your prospect said to stump you so that you don’t forget it. If you thought you had a good response, then write that down too so that you don’t forget it. Otherwise, go looking for better responses. Talk to your manager, colleagues, coach, read books, attend teleseminars or seminars – do what you need to do so that you don’t ever get stumped by that particular question or objection again.

You must pay attention to what your prospect says to you. In the above instance, if this was the only program that Mr. X produces, and the only program that Jane was interested in promoting, then I was not a qualified prospect for them. I very clearly told Jane in my email that, “I am not sure that we have an ideal fit for my list with this program…”  If she had nothing else to offer me, she should have responded to my email, told me that was their only program and thanked me for my interest. She would have saved us both time and aggravation.

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling™, is an author, speaker, sales trainer, and sales coach. She is recognized as one of the leading authorities on lead generation, cold calling and new business development and she helps clients speed up their sales cycle, reach more prospects directly and generate more sales revenue. Her clients include Avon Products, ADP, Sprint and thousands of entrepreneurs throughout the country.  Visit her website

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2 Comments »

  1. […] Guest Article: “Listen to What Your Prospect is Saying to You,” by Wendy Weiss « Sales and Sale… salesandmanagementblog.com/2009/10/20/guest-article-listen-to-what-your-prospect-is-saying-to-you-by-wendy-weiss – view page – cached Guest Article: “Listen to What Your Prospect is Saying to You,” by Wendy Weiss — From the page […]

    Pingback by Twitter Trackbacks for Guest Article: “Listen to What Your Prospect is Saying to You,” by Wendy Weiss « Sales and Sales Management [salesandmanagementblog.com] on Topsy.com — October 20, 2009 @ 9:48 am | Reply

  2. That is curious. I would think that “your program doesn’t fit” is an objection they have heard before. It is always a challenge for a sales person to use insight or intuition about a customer’s “No Go” sign. Otherwise, if they are making every effort, most sales persons will try and try again. I think she definitely was on the wrong track to stick to script. Better questions might have helped.

    Comment by Sales Training — October 20, 2009 @ 2:12 pm | Reply


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