American Idol and The Salespersons Friend

I’m not one to watch too much TV, but my daughter loves American Idol. She was watching it yesterday as I was in the other room reading. I walked into the living room to talk to her about something and watched part of the show. I can’t believe it takes an hour to tell you who got voted off! or received the least votes….I know one is American Idol and the other is Survivor.

What I really thought about,  is the poor singers up on stage as Ryan Seacrest plays word games and says you have to wait..or you are safe. I’m sure it makes for great TV and rating, but it sucks in real life. And that brings me to my topic for the day. Does anyone have a guess?

What the contestants, in this case Mike Lynche, wanted and need was an answer! How many times do we as salespeople wait and wait for an answer? It’s a follow up next week or next month. Call me in a few days… I want to but not yet… All salespeople know these stalling tactics. People become professional non buyers and worse yet…non decision makers.  These prospects are known as P.O .H. Prisoners of Hope.

What did you think as they dragged out the who stays/who goes routine? I hated it, just like every Idol contestant who was on stage last night…I wanted an answer! Even if it’s your gone, or in our case a no. What can we as professionals do to enhance our chances of walking out with an answer?   

  1. Throughout your sales process you need to be clear about what you want, your objective. Don’t assume the prospect knows. You want his business or you want an answer at the end of your presentation…. either a yes or a no.
  2. You need to state that you are only doing business if it is mutually beneficial. You get the business if you enhance theirs somehow.
  3. Gain agreement at the end of your first phone call or meeting, if  you have one initial needs meeting before the presentation,  that at the next meeting a decision will be made. This is a must, you need to be able to hold your prospect accountable if they give you a maybe.
  4. At the end of the presentation you say ” We both agreed last meeting/call that we would make a decision today”..then use your closing line.

This is not perfect. Some prospect won’t like having their feet held to the fire and may not even agree to make a decision.  Take a deep breath…this is ok. First off, you will have people that appreciate your honesty and for the hard work you have done, you deserve an answer.

I have seen salespeople wait months on end for a decision. Holding out hope.  Too much time is wasted on follow up. Most prospect have already made their either decision and they are just unsure of themselves or are uncomfortable telling you know to your face. Let them know a no is ok, and as a professional you appreciate this.  If they are unsure help them get over it. As I stated this won’t change your maybe’s to 100% yes/no but if the rate dropped down to 80% isn’t it worth it? you can use you time more profitably then following up.

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12 Responses to "American Idol and The Salespersons Friend"

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