Sometimes, a prospect just won’t fit with your solution. Don’t stress! It’s better to figure that out early than waste time chasing an unproductive lead.
An outright refusal can actually be a gift – it lets you clean out your pipeline and focus on remaining deals with higher potential. Before you start pulling out your list of Powerful Pushbacks, use the three techniques below to determine whether you’re dealing with a true objection or a flat refusal.
1. Ask for feedback.
“Would you let me know if it sounds like I’m presenting a solution that doesn’t meet your needs?”
One of the best ways to weed out bad fits from your pipeline is to be up front about fit right from the start. Get in the habit of asking your prospects, “Would you do me a favor and let me know if it sounds like I’m presenting a solution that doesn’t meet your needs? I want to make sure we’re making the best use of both of our time.” This serves the dual purpose of communicating respect to your buyer and giving them an opportunity to say “no” before you get too far down the rabbit hole.
If your solution isn’t a fit, it’s best not to force it. Know how to recognize an outright refusal so both you and your prospect can move on with your day.
2. Do your homework.
The easiest way to tell an objection from a refusal is to really know your prospect. You should do enough research to know with reasonable certainty whether this prospect is a good fit for your business—or know the right questions to ask to determine fit. Analyze your best customers and list out their attributes. Make a baseline for a good fit—not meeting these criteria puts your prospect on the “bad fit” list.
3. Ask the right questions.
In a consultative sale, a selling conversation is as much an interview of the buyer as it is of the seller. If you’re not certain of fit, ask tough, pointed questions aimed at disqualifying your buyer. Remember, a disqualification is not the same as a lost opportunity—it’s cleaning out your pipeline to make room for more viable opportunities. Use your “good fit” list to determine the right questions to ask. At Criteria for Success, we’re interested in developing long-term partnerships with our clients. If a prospect indicates they’re looking for a one-and-done solution, it tips the scales for us in favor of disqualification.
You’ll also want to make sure you ask the right open-ended questions. Expressing a genuine curiosity in your prospect’s needs (rather than forcing your solution) will help you identify a good fit.