If I'm talking with someone, especially someone who is very direct and analytical like I am, I'll often start out the meeting with reasons we won't work well together. In other words, why they won't want to work with me.
Rather than waste time, I want to get all that stuff out of the way! And it's amazing what it does to the conversation.
I get plenty of phone calls that go something like this: "I've sent my people to some half-day workshops, and I'm looking for some new training opportunities for them. What do you have?"
While we do have some workshops and classes that are just one day or less, that's not the bulk of what we do.
So I reply with, "You're probably not going to like the answer."
Shocked, they ask, "Why not?"
"Because most of our clients start off with a multiple year agreement."
Then there's silence. Finally, they respond, "What?"
I continue, "You shared you sent your people to a half day workshop. How did that work out for you?"
"What do you mean?"
"You invested money and time on a one-time workshop. What did you get out of it?"
They pause. "Well, we didn't necessarily get anything."
"Then why would you want to do the same thing again?"
The next thing you know, we're having a full-blown conversation.
If you want an actual conversation, you have to make it about them and their reasons. It's not about you or your reasons! And that takes some of what we in Sandler refer to as disarming honesty.
You can say things like:
"You're not going to like it, because it's going to take too long."
"We're not the least expensive option out there."
"I don't know if we can deliver in the time-frame you're looking for."
People are used to salespeople telling them whatever they want to hear. They've build up defenses against it. But if you're really trying to make it all about them, you'll talk about the possibilities of bad stuff early in your conversations.