Look for the Loose Brick
Next time you come across a reluctant customer, don't
go on the offensive. Instead, discover what your prospect
considers a priority and begin there.
I hear salespeople say that speaking to a particular
prospect was like "hitting a brick wall." The
prospect seemed to get bored or, worse yet, to actually
become defensive or offensive, every time the salesperson
mentioned a product benefit or feature.
Next time you hit a brick wall, don't attack head-on.
Instead, look for the loose brick. The loose brick is
always the one thing which the client needs most. The
loose brick is the absolute top priority to the client,
at that given time. In the same way they say it is one
step that begins the journey of a thousand miles, it's
by starting to chip away at that one loose brick that
will lead to taking down a prospect's entire wall of defense.
Finding the loose brick requires active listening and
calm questioning. If you want your prospect to get down
to the truth, you may need to expose a little of yourself
first to establish a deeper trust. And if you take such
an approach to your next difficult conversation, you'll
successfully achieve two things.
1. Discover the real problem.
If you're actively looking for the loose brick, you
might find out what's really a thorn in your client's
side. And it's usually not what you'd expect. You've got
to find what their internal problems are, and they usually
aren't what's on the surface of their business. In fact,
they are rarely related to the products or services you
Sometimes it's listening to their fears or frustrations
about their current job or boss and offering an understanding
ear. It could be just asking what their personal aspirations
are relative to this project and assuring them that they
will be met.
2. Avoid a complex sale.
Complex sales are just that -- complex, and we often
don't have the time to execute them. Some people go into
a sales call with a very well laid out plan of what they
want to sell. You know what happens then? The buyer very
often is inclined to figure out what about the proposal
isn't right or needs to change.
You'll be better served by going into a sales call with
a plan in mind than without one, that is true. But you
must also have the willingness to listen, to react and
find a way to place your value proposition in the context
of their immediate needs. Once you begin to listen, sales
will no longer be a time to sell but to let your prospect
tell you what they want and you configuring your product
or service around those needs.
By Keith Ferrazzi