Don’t Chase. Dance.
Think about a couple dancing. When one dance partner steps away, the other partner usually takes a step back, as well. Following that, both parties might step together more closely.
Together. Apart. Together. Apart. Step back. Step in. Step back. Step in. Dancing follows this general pattern.
This moving together and apart happens repeatedly throughout dancing, relationships, and, yes, even selling. In selling, “a step away” occurs when one party—usually the prospect—needs a little space. For example, a prospect might say they need to think it over, or they need to talk it over with their business partner, spouse, etc. Stepping away gives the prospect a feeling of space.
If the salesperson steps back, as well, it becomes more comfortable for the prospect to step in again. As an example of this, the salesperson might say, “Take all the time you need. I am in no hurry. If you need 10 years, take it.” This might seem like the salesperson is throwing the sale away, but she isn’t. What she is saying without saying it is, “I am not like all the other pushy salespeople out there. I actually care about your boundaries and your need for some space.”
If the salesperson doesn’t step away when the prospect does, and instead starts pressuring, the dance becomes a chase. The problem I see with many salespeople is that when the prospect steps away, the salesperson often becomes insecure and steps forward, causing the prospect to step back again. The continued pressure causes the prospect to step back yet again. If the insecure salesperson continues to chase, the sale is almost certainly lost. At this point, it is not a dance. It is a chase—and the prospect is running from the salesperson.
Step back. Step back again. Turn around and run. Keep running. Run faster. This is the pattern of someone being chased. Sadly, many salespeople know this pattern extremely well.
Because it seems like the sale may be lost by stepping away, it takes a truly confident salesperson to step back when a prospect does. The funny thing is that because the salesperson isn’t acting like a pushy salesperson, the likelihood of making a sale increases. The prospect almost invariably will feel safe to then step in again (show more buying signals and interest), at which point the salesperson can step in, as well, and give compelling reasons to move forward, thus continuing the dance.
Top salespeople are confident enough to dance. Struggling salespeople wonder why they chase prospects all day long.
Want to be a top salesperson? The next time your client wants to think it over, encourage them to do so. In fact, you might even suggest this may not be the right time at all.
Then try not to smile too much when they take a step back in.
Let them step back and step back with them. This gives the dance a much greater chance of continuing.
The very top salespeople get this.
EksAyn Anderson is an author, sales and negotiation expert, and speaker. His book, “The Key to the Gate: Principles and Techniques to Get Past Gatekeepers to the Decision Maker,” has sold internationally. Anderson has extensive selling experience, including selling to governments, associations, and other businesses. His educational background in psychology and life experiences have taught him not only how to connect, communicate, and sell but also how to teach teams to increase sales, negotiate with the best, and create loyal long-term clients. Learn more at xfactoredge.com.