“Going Negative to the Heart of the Matter”
Sandler Trainers: Tracy Bullock & Jim Stephens http://www.tbullock.sandler.com/
Entrepreneur Radio: Terry Fisk http://www.pnwb2bcfo.com/partners/terry-frisk/
~~The Conceptual or You Seriously Think its a Good Idea to AskThat?~~
Negative Reverse Selling is the strategy where you position the buyer to argue on your belief. It’s the truth serum in sales. It helps buyers get clarity and provides clarity for the sales individuals requirement or commitment to follow through.
Buyer’s buy in spite of you, not because of you. They buy for their own reasons and unless we’re helping them discover it for themselves then we’re getting into the way. The technique to say no to someone who is buying from you takes a lot of nerves and guts. The questioning strategy and the comfort to use it comes much later.
The concept sounds like it should be negative, but we use the term defined as the opposite of what the buyer may expect. In an upfront contract, you use the unexpected expectations to let your prospective client say no and walk away or, if there is a yes, then have a clear understanding of what a future looks like.
Negative is in the sense of counter-intuitive and opposite of what someone would ever think of in a selling situation. In the buyer-seller dance, more sales people build rapport to move immediately into a presentation doesn’t allow for a phase of qualification for an engagement with a prospective client or buyer.
The reason to use negative reverse is to continuously give nudges to point back to the upfront contract and keep communication open and directed. When a client expresses a neutral position in an engagement then reversing that allows for a conversation where they clarify their position more articulately. This mode of questioning allows for a fruitful way to express reservations. It is more productive as a salesperson to engage from a position of skepticism that invites curiosity, rather than an optimistic position of certainty that leads to disappointment.
In sales, you need to become comfortable with silence and allow prospects to process information and find clarity in their own thoughts so that they can voice objections or provide clarity to you on where they are in the sales process. Sometimes when it seems like someone is on the fence, they might be more curious about what the best choice for them to make is in an engagement with you, while you might feel this is a resistance or a think over, this could simply require a clearer future and a conversation in the future.
The hurtles might not be about the engagement, but could be about the different pieces in their business that require more visibility and conversation and questioning in order to provide clarity. If you don’t rush a sales process. If you focus on setting up and asking questions then you can help prospects become clients and carry them through their own buying process to help them come to a conclusion on what they need and how they need it.
Most sales people get so excited to solve a problem that they rush in to prematurely fix a problem. Often times problems are rejected by the buyer. The salesperson needs to recognize that they need to be skeptical for the sake of both sides of the conversation to reduce the amount of eagerness. No matter how quickly you want to sell a client, you can’t force them to buy faster than they’re willing to process. You must moderate your approach to mask the buyers approach. Caution is required to allow buyers to move forward at whatever their pace is.
~~ The Technical or Wait, why am I talking? ~~
Negative Reverse Selling is the art of being skeptical as opposed to over-eager. Salespeople get happy ears and hear exactly what they want to hear, they get over eager and assume what they shouldn’t assume. Negative reverse selling is the art of moderating your own enthusiasm, remaining skeptical, and refusing to get emotionally hooked. The buyer should sell you instead of you selling the buyer on why they would need your goods or services.
So what does that sound like? I don’t suppose you’d be able to walk me through your technical execution of this approach, would you?
“I don’t think we’ll be moving forward.” Would be responded to by a traditional salesperson as: “where did we go wrong?” Whereas a negative reverse might be, “You know, I didn’t think we were going to, where did I lose you? What part of this process doesn’t seem right for you?
A prospect might say to you “I’m going to need some referrals, can I give your customers a call?” A traditional response might be, “Well sure, I’ve got a lot of clients I could set you up with.” A negative reverse of this question would sound like: “You know, I always appreciate the fact that people want to check out my professionalism and the content and progress my clients have made, in order to provide you with specific information let me know what you’re looking for, and what would you most like to learn to make your final decision, because I get the feeling that you’re not ready to move ahead yet, is that the case?”
When you do engage with prospects, we want you to mirror their intensity and communication style, so you could say something like: “I’d be happy to provide you with a referral when it’s appropriate. Right now, I’m just not sure this is a good time, because I don’t hear that you have made a commitment. I’ve made a commitment to my clients that I will not waste their time with someone who has not made a referral commitment to buy from us. So as soon as you get ready to buy, we can have that conversation, in fact, I can introduce you personally.”
A prospect might say, “this looks great,” and a traditional salesperson would try and sign them up, “great—would you like to pay with check or credit card,” but we’d like to get to the core of their agreeability and engage what they mean. “When you say it looks great, I’m so excited that we can bring something that interests you, but what specific piece are you thinking? I’m kind of surprised that you’re this enthusiastic.”
A neutral prospect might say something like, “Interesting proposal, but it’s unlikely that we’ll make a change.” While a traditional sales person might hear a rejection, a Sandler trained professional would say something like, “Out of curiosity, we’re sitting here for a reason, so I’m wondering why you invited me in. What piece of our initial conversation intrigued you enough to invite me in and if you’re really not likely to commit, then I wonder if it would be smart to even continue our conversation?” A harder version with a more dominant client might sound like, “I’m not surprised to hear that, change is messy, and I didn’t get the sense that you had the heart for that kind of action right now. When do you suppose you might be ready to face the hard work of changing?”
The negative reverse builds on the potential objections of client as well as their reasons to desire and cultivate change in the future. If you soften your negative reverses then you can say very hard hitting things without ever making the prospective client feel like they were not being nurtured. This allows for you to use and engage multiple DISC styles in the same conversations.
If a buyer says, “I’m interested, but can I get a discount?” There are a lot of Sandler ways to respond to that, “Gee, I don’t know, what do you mean by discount?” “Frankly when somebody says that, I don’t know if its even worth a penny or a hundred thousand dollars to you, if you don’t mind let’s decide whether or not it makes sense for us to work together before we decide what you’re paying and whether or not its fair?” Or a little harder version could be: “You know, absolutely not. Why would you want to hire a Sandler trainer who sells based on discounts? Is it over? Or should we keep talking?” Or a nurturing response, “You bet I can. What 25% of what we discussed would you not want to accomplish?”