Sometimes, prospects you’re working with will feel uncomfortable. Maybe a question you asked made them feel that way. Perhaps it was someone else involved in the conversation. Or it might just be the situation itself.
Of course, different people feel uncomfortable in different situations. But the more you can do to make them feel comfortable, the better!
A client of mine sells home insurance. One day he got a phone call from someone who was frantic. She was about to close on a home, and her real estate agent shared how much money she was going to have to bring to the closing. It was way more than she had budgeted for.
Needless to say, she definitely felt uncomfortable at that point!
Her real estate agent recommended she call my client to see if there was any way he could help. Feeling extremely not-OK, she gulped and picked up the phone.
Many insurance agents would answer the phone and immediately jump into offering options. Instead, my client first acknowledged that the prospect was dealing with a difficult situation, and that he understood it was uncomfortable for her. Then, over the course of a half hour, he asked around 15 – 20 questions, all to uncover what was going on and see what he could do to help.
So how was this different? First, he acknowledged that she was in an uncomfortable situation. Second, he made an effort to understand the situation. Only after all that did he determine what changes in insurance they could make that would let her close on that home without bringing a huge check to closing.
Instead of acting like an insurance agent, he was acting more like a doctor!
Good doctors do all they can do make you comfortable. Not all of them do that, but the really good ones do. Doctors have to ask a lot of potentially uncomfortable questions about what is probably an uncomfortable situation.
One of the most powerful things you can do as a salesperson is to make someone feel comfortable, just like a good doctor! Paying attention to their communication style and communicating with them appropriately plays a huge part in that.
But you can also say something very simple: “I get the sense that you’re uncomfortable. Is it okay if I ask you a few questions so we can find out if I can help or not?”
See, most salespeople will try to avoid talking about the discomfort. They either don’t recognize that it’s going on, or don’t care. And whether it’s conscious or subconscious, your prospects are comparing you to every other salesperson they’ve interacted with.
Remember Sandler Rule #23: The Way to Get Rid of a Bomb is to Defuse It Before It Blows Up.
Instead of avoiding your prospect’s discomfort, talk about it! If you can ask questions and make them feel more comfortable early on, they’ll be that much more likely to buy from you. After all, people buy how you sell long before they buy what you sell.