Probing the prospect’s early objections

Though there is a science (of sorts) of responding to objections,  usually the best is simply  getting the person talking.  Listen, explore what is behind the objection (or their hesitation, even if it is not a clear objection).  Then, when you have a sense of what is bothering them, respond accordingly.

Suppose you've arrived for your sales appointment, and now the prospect is saying something to the effect, "Sorry, I don't want to keep this meeting with you, after all." 

You could respond, "Why not?"  That might be okay, but it might also be perceived as confrontational.

A better probe to get them talking:  "When you say that you don't have time to talk, do you mean just as the moment?" Pause to listen to their response.  Then: "Perhaps we could reschedule for some time next week, perhaps on Monday afternoon? Or would Thursday morning be better for you?" 

Second probe, if necessary:  "You say that you don't feel our meeting would be a good use of time.  Why do you feel that way?"

Third probe: "When we talked on the phone last week, you seemed quite interested in discussing the possibilities, particularly given (my firm's) record of success with other firms in the area."   (If you had made that call on the basis of a referral from another client, remind of that name at this point.) "Has there been a change since then?"

“It’s never too late to find your next career” — US News

One sub-theme of this present blog is "reinventing yourself" — maybe reinventing yourself from an employee to a self-employed person (who remains self-employed by learning to those services face to face).

In that regard, US News has again published another very apropos item on one of its blogs, this one referencing, which, if I understand it, is a new collaboration between Boomerater and US News.

Anyway, check it out; it may be very much of interest to you.

Click to go to the US News blog item, "It's never too late to find your next career"

Here's the link to Boomerater

“7 Ways to survive the jobless recovery,” from US News & World Report

The link is below, so I won't go into much detail here.  Only to point out that three of the ways echo what we've been saying here and in the sales books:

  • "Don't wait for lost jobs to return."
  • "Don't count on big companies."  They are doing very well, thank you, with fewer employees.  But, as an entrepreneur you can find those big companies a ready market if you can show how you fill the needs that they still have, even after layoffs.  Outsourcing, in short, can be sourcing to you, if you can find the need and make the case for yourself.   (That is, if you can sell— which is what we're all about here and in the sales books.)
  • "Become entrepreneurial."

7 Ways to survive the jobless recovery, Rick Newman, US News

Alas, Amazon has wrong cover up for SALES PRESENTATIONS & DEMONSTRATIONS

For whatever reason (mischievous elves, gremlins, perhaps even human error!) Amazon is showing thePresSmallColorFix9-30 wrong cover for Sales Presentations & Demonstrations.  What is showing is the cover for How to Sell Face-to-Face: Survival Guide both for itself and for Sales Presentations.

"It'll be fixed soon," so they say.

Till then (or whenever!), here's the correct cover for Sales Presentations & Demonstrations.

DEMONSTRATIONS. Sales training course / handbook: gain pre-commitment; read
& send nonverbal messages; practical how-to presentation… demo as proof
source; questions, objections.
  by Michael McGaulley
[paperback: ChamplainHouseMedia;

2010; $9.95; ISBN: 0976840634; ISBN-13:

USA Today: hard times can be a gateway to new careers

USA Today has been running a weekly series (Mondays) "Small Business Start-up," exploring issues new entrepreneurs face. 

Here's the opening for this week's piece, and I trust it resonates with the purposes of this blog:

"For millions of Americans, the recession has been a
curse. For a relative few, it's something more complicated: A catalyst for
change. An opportunity to grow. A kick in the butt.

"In some cases, economic necessity has been the mother of
re-invention. It has forced people to pursue careers they might never have
considered if they hadn't gotten — or quit before getting — the ax."

And, a little later in that same article:  [career-changers] "agree that if they hadn't been pushed, they never would have made the

Andrea Kay, author of Life's a Bitch and Then You Change
Careers, says many people hang onto jobs they don't like, oblivious to the
fact that their unhappiness — which they mistakenly think they can hide — hurts
their performance and attitude.

"'Typically, not until someone is forced out of what they've
been accustomed to doing do they feel the need to change,' Kay says."

And,  "In a surprising number of cases, we're happier — /if, after
the shock, anger and fear, someone is willing to see there's an opportunity to
do something different,/ Kay says. 'Then they ask, 'Why did I wait so long?'"

Why did I wait so long to try it on my own? 

'Nuff said.  The link below takes you to that article, and from there to the others in the series.  You'll also link with Rhonda Abrams' on-line series of videos and tutorials on small business start-ups.  Beyond that, you'll tap into case studies and readers sharing their own start-up stories.

To read the USA Today article, Oct. 12, 2009, page 1

Washington Post: “The Hard Part Is Getting Out of the Starting Blocks”

Well, it'd be true even if the Washington Post had not so declared!

Actually, the context is a bit different than you'd expect. Columnist Tom Heath uses that headline as a lead in to get his own mental neurons warmed up, then tells of rather unlikely successful start-up.  (Actually, come to think of it, a lot of successful start-ups seemed "rather unlikely" before the ball started rolling:  "Ahh, Mort, that'll never work, don't waste your time!")

The article also gets into how Infoition News Services got that crucial first client, and how that first led to others, and then others.

Link to Washington Post article:

At last!

A few weeks ago, I expressed my frustration in getting the new series of sales training books up by quoting Yogi Berra: "Things take longer than they do." Still true, but now I'd add a corollary: "And sometimes things take not only longer than they do, but even longer than you can ever imagine!"

In any case, the three new sales books are finally out, as you'll see in the column on the left. (How to Sell Face-to-Face Survival Guide (for people very new to, and maybe a little intimidated by, the thought of selling face-to-face); Sales Training Tutorials (more detailed, with more advanced guidance); and Sales Presentations and Demonstrations

(Alas, there's still a small glitch:  as of this moment, Amazon is showing the cover for Sales Survival Guide both for that book as well as for Sales Presentations, which has a green cover.  "Within the week it'll be fixed" — so I'm told.)

By way of celebration, I'll be putting up free sample chapters within the next few days. (That is, samples beyond the free sections available via the link at the top of the left column.)

That said, this blog has been in semi-hibernation while waiting for the books, and now will begin adding fresh material. 

Sales courtesies and customs, part #1

Seems to me there's too much emphasis these days on "social networking" as a business-building tool.  Not just Facebook and Twitter and all of those ways of getting your name out, but the plain old networking— going to civic clubs and business expos and handing out your business card.

All of that is well and good (provided it doesn't take over your life, as I'm hearing about some of the online social networkers/addicts).

But it's not enough to have your name out there and recognizable:  even more important is to have a GOOD name, one that carries a positive aura.  We'll be focusing on that issue in this and the next item in this series.

Continue reading Sales courtesies and customs, part #1