We all have people whom we find difficult. We don’t understand them, connect with them, or even talk comfortably with them. But, when we own a one person business, seeing someone as a difficult person gets in the way of our selling effectively and their buying wisely.
It is easy to blame the other person. They’re the difficult ones. But, the truth is, if you find someone difficult, for sure they will find you just as difficult. And, if you’re difficult they won’t want to work with you. They’ll take their business elsewhere.
It’s just human nature to dig in our heals when we’re irritated. We want them to change. We want them to be like the folks we find easy to deal with. And they feel the same way. They dig in their heals too. They want us to change. Then when we don’t change they leave. They won’t buy, even if we have the perfect solution to their needs.
Selling to a difficult person works best when we step back and let them set the stage for our sales call. Follow their pace. Give them information in the way they best understand Speak to their needs. When we start where they are it is more likely we will lead them to the sale.
Sally told her prospects so much, so fast, everyone was overwhelmed. She was stuck on fast forward. She truly believed the faster the sales presentation, the more sales a day she could make. Yet when she finally slowed down, she made fewer presentations but many more sales.
Sally’s mistake was meeting her own comfort and needs, not her customers’ comfort and wants. If she had focused on her customers’ comfort and wants, she would more easily close the sale.
The easiest customers to be with are people like us. Selling to someone not like us is harder. We have to choose how to approach them.
Most fast paced, high energy sales people prefer fast paced prospects. If this prospect is task oriented, they quickly cut to the bottom line. No small talk here. Give the facts first and fast. You have what they want, they buy. You don’t have it, they leave, often with a disparaging remark as the door closes behind them.
If your high energy prospect is people oriented you may think a new best friend just walked in. They chat, ask about your family, your life, your business, but not what they are looking for. Be friendly, but take charge of the conversation. Turn the questions to what they want, how you can help them, how they will use your products. Be assumptive with your close. Tell them about your return policy to give them a way out. (They won’t take it but are reassured that it is there!)
Slow paced prospects challenge fast paced entrepreneurs. Slow down! Slow both your body and your words. Be prepared with details and specifications. Focus on the product, not small talk. Don’t take the penetrating, demanding questions personally. They really do want to know the subtleties and nuances. Don’t let their silences unnerve you. It takes them time to think through buying decisions. They need to be thorough to be right.
By taking the time to analyze just which customers and prospective clients give you trouble, which you find difficult, you will be prepared for them the next time you want to sell to them. Preparation pays off. Think about who you have difficulty selling. Then spend some time developing a script to use with them. Practice words that start where they are, and lead them to a closed sale.
Then, when you recognize one of your difficult prospects, take a deep breath, reassure yourself you know what to do, and put into action your preparation and practice.
Recommended Books on How to Sell to a Difficult Person:
- Power Sales Writing, Revised and Expanded Edition: Using Communication to Turn Prospects into Clients
- Getting Past No
- Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets
- Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way
- How to Close Every Sale