What do you do when you’ve got the prospect all the way to the edge and they hover there…
You may be a sales person and you can’t seem to close the order.
You may be a business advisor and you’ve come up with an achingly compelling business case for the client to take action and yet inertia kicks in
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
The metaphor is obvious, you can’t TELL people to do anything. (Unless you are in an army?)
If you have a teenager to hand… try telling them what to do.
In my experience their critical filter will kick in immediately and tell you how they can’t do it.
Human Nature and the case of the Critical filter
When you try to sell or TELL a client or to “persuade” them or maybe to get them to take your most excellent advice…
Firstly take a look at your own motivation.
If you’re like most honest people you’re trying your best to add value, to listen, to come up with great ideas.
You’re trying to identify pain points and to clarify objectives and outcomes.
All to be highly commended. However your inner voice is screaming:
”Just Do IT! ”. And that may be the problem:
The leading the horse to water part is complete and you may even have followed a great sales process.
The problem comes in making the horse drink. Because people will not do what you want them to do.
They only do what they want to do.
Try this test on yourself.
When someone TELLs you to do something, what’s your unconscious and instant instinct?
If you’re like most people you have a critical filter which kicks in, a nanosecond after they finish telling you.
It works out very quickly how that won’t work here and tells them that.
And what if they pretend they don’t actually care if you do the thing they want you to do – what’s your instinct?
Do you suddenly find you’re very thirsty?
So if you are a pursuader you can do a few things but they all amount to giving control over to the person or the horse.
Make it clear that you are there to help but they need to buy.
The technique is to stop selling and try getting the prospect to buy.
1. Ask a Question: “But sorry I get so wrapped up.
I need to keep reminding myself that this isn’t my business, you’ll get the benefits we talked about not me.
It’s your business… what do you think?”
2. Tell a story: ” I know the OkiKoki company (in a similar line of business) made these changes and it took them a little longer to get the benefits.
But that’s their business and yours is very different.
How quickly do you think you might get there?
3. Make a Suggestion: “I can only suggest these ideas to you.
I realise that it’s up to you to choose your own way to do this.
We’ll be around to support you but I understand this is your decision.
What do you think of the suggestions?
These are our suggestions. Just drop your critical filter for a moment and see if they make sense to you .
Then tell us …. How do you get people hovering on the edge to buy from you?