They Replied, Now What?
The biggest mistake I see sellers (myself included!) making is taking the client’s invitation to speak as an invitation to talk benefits. Even in cases where the buyer blatantly asks you to talk benefits beware.
This usually creates problems.
Here’s the skinny. Buyers sometimes think they’re ready to buy when they’re not. Or they believe they’re ready to start the buying process. But they’re not. They’re not educated enough (yet) to buy.
The result often involves a second reply from the client that ends up going nowhere. You follow-up and follow-up yet the discussion gets stalled.
To avoid this, in your reply to the buyers’ first, positive invitation to talk do this:
- Acknowledge their invitation and promise to deliver that information… but first…
- ask the buyer to discuss their situation (to “be sure you make the best recommendation”);
- reveal just enough about your solution to keep them curious (create tension);
- push back (think negative reverse selling).
This kind of “go slow” approach helps build a conversation about what is most important to them—not what you’re selling. It also helps the prospect qualify themselves.
Slow the Process Down
The sale is not the goal. Nor is the meeting. Qualification is your objective.
Show prospects you only want to talk about them (for now). Push back if needed. Don’t talk benefits yet.
Instead, write your second email reply (in response to their invitation) in a way that slows them down. Help them to feel safe talking with you — someone who isn’t in a hurry to sell yet.
This technique creates trust. It demonstrates you’ve got an agenda: Them first, then the sale.
Ask questions about why they are opening the door. Questions they should have answered (but may not yet).
Help them vent frustration, fear or excitement about what’s important to them — at this exact moment. Reveal “just enough” about what you have in mind to keep them curious about where you’re going with this.
Don’t be afraid to push back. If and when appropriate instead of pushing forward, pull back. Directly say or hint that it might not be a good fit. When a prospect starts to object, you might choose to suggest it might not be suitable, after all.
This is an old Sandler technique. It’s also referred to as the “Pendulum Theory” where we shift the momentum in order to help the prospect introspect more deeply.