“What do you do when you call a prospect back and you can tell by the tone of their voice that they don’t want to talk to you, even though you had a good call with them previously?”
So just to clarify…
You’ve spoken with the prospect before, the previous call(s) seemed to go well and you had a follow up call scheduled to advance the sale and when you make that call and the prospect answers their phone they sound up beat but once you do your introduction you hear a change in their tone… Kind of like an “Oh, it’s you…damn…” type of response?
First, congratulations on consciously recognizing the change in tone… too often (and I used to make this mistake myself) sales reps will ignore the shift in tone and pretend it didn’t happen. And doing so puts us in a bad spot because there’s “heaviness” at the plate and “resistance” is up next to bat.
There’s a difference between recognizing a “tone shift” but making the decision to ignore it and recognizing it but fooling ourselves into pretending it didn’t happen.
One means you see the situation as is and you are moving forward anyway, and the other is operating out of fear that you are going to lose a sale.
At least if you consciously decide to ignore it, you aren’t operating out of “scared” mode.
What I’ve found however to be the best option is to address it – all be it in a somewhat humorous way… It’s important to let your natural personality come out when addressing it. I’m a pretty direct person (many of you may have seen some of my posts / responses on several LinkedIn Group Discussion to know this is true) so dealing with it head-on works best for me.
Here’s a Real World Example:
Prospect: This is (Prospects Name), how may I help you? (Up beat tone)
Me: Hey (Prospects Name), it’s Michael Pedone with SalesBuzz.com…
Prospect: Oh, hey (Ugh tone)
Me: You know, you don’t really sound thrilled to hear from me…
Prospect: Oh (usually chuckles or back peddles a little) no-no, it’s just that…
And now they "pop" with a real objection that is causing a problem in the sale that I need to know about anyway.
If I ignored the “down-shift” however and tried to advance the sales call, I would most likely have gotten a blow-off / stall that would have delayed the sale, making the cycle longer than it needed to be or might not of ever have gotten the sale to begin with because they decided internally that whatever “problem” they were having in moving forward, wasn’t solvable. Yet if it was something I knew about, I may have had a solution.
Breaking the Ice
By breaking the ice, it kick starts the conversation / dialogue that we needed in order to find out what changed since the last time we spoke and what needs to happen next in order for us to reach the ultimate win / win.
The key is to be natural while addressing it head on.
Just make sure you SHUT-UP after you address it… give your prospect the chance to blurp out their reason. For all we know, the reason for their tone shift may be subconscious and they needed a “jolt” in order to recognize why they are feeling the way they do. And both parties need to have that out in the open in order to neutralize it.
Otherwise, you will be back at square one because he/she didn’t get out of them what’s causing their angst.
CSS: Chief Sales Scientist
SalesBuzz.com (A 2011 Sales Training Company Watch List Award Winner!)
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