Have you ever had a prospect say to you- “just send me some literature?” In our training we refer to this response as a “push back.” A “push back” is an automatic response that has been conditioned within a prospect because of years of dealing with sales people who approach them in a certain way. I bet you have even said that once or twice to a sales person…right?
Next time you hear that response try something different. Thomas Freese, the master of the question based approach believes that “the underlying strategy here is a negotiating strategy we call tit-for-tat. The way it works is when a potential buyer asks you for something, you earn the right to ask them something in return.”
For Freese, the idea is to say yes to the literature request, but now you have earned the right to ask for something in return. In this case it is the right to ask a question.
“I will be happy to send you some literature. Can I ask you a question first?”
The majority of people will instinctively say yes. It is then and there where you have to change the prospects perspective. We preach that the question you should ask next should always be one you already know the answer too.
“Should I send a stack of our standard marketing material or would you rather know more about how the product actually works?”
Once again the prospect will most likely say they want to know more about the product. This then gives you the chance to change their perspective. Remind them of other prospects who first wanted literature but learned more about the product with a sit-down meeting and a white board to outline their specific goals and concerns.
Clients will push back. It is only natural. But with a question based approach there is always another question to ask – questions that can stimulate rational thinking and illuminate ideas.