Have you ever observed a sales meeting that begins to derail? Go south? The prospect asks pointed questions, looks skeptical upon hearing the answer or simply has a really bad case of “resting face.” When a deal starts “going south” it’s easy for sales professionals to get emotionally triggered, defaulting to fight, flight or freeze responses.
My advice: Teach and coach the CPR approach.
Help your sellers bring back life to conversations that need resuscitation.
The first step is curiosity. When members of your team find themselves getting emotionally triggered, encourage them to seek out and embrace curiosity. Get curious. Stop reacting. Start wondering what is driving this prospect’s defensive or guarded behavior. It’s as simple as asking these questions, “What is informing this person? What else is going on here?”
For example, a prospect might be guarded because she just had a sour experience with a previous salesperson who made lofty promises of which few were delivered.
So of course, this prospect is going to ask specific, pointed questions to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.
Next comes perspective. Once your sales team taps into a curiosity mindset, teach them the importance of acknowledging the prospects point of view. In the emotional intelligence realm, this is referred to as cognitive empathy. It’s the ability to state what another person is thinking or feeling using their vocabulary. In this situation, it might sound like:
“Mr. or Ms. Prospect, I sense you might be hesitant to trust in the information I’m sharing about our capabilities. This hesitation often comes from past disappointments where people have made lofty promises and failed to deliver. Am I reading this situation the right way?”
When you state your prospect’s perspective, you create an emotional connection that paves the way for deeper conversations. A fundamental human need is the need to be understood. Salespeople capable of demonstrating an understanding of the prospect’s daily challenges build trust, hold deeper conversations which eliminates superficial exchanges.
Lastly, teach your sales team to observe the change in the prospect’s response. When a salesperson applies curiosity and empathy, they change the dynamics of the conversation.
The conversation becomes collaborative, not combative.
The salesperson is viewed as a partner, not just another vendor.
Embrace curiosity. Demonstrate an understanding of the prospect's perspective. Create collaborative responses and conversations.
With the CPR approach, your salespeople can breathe new life into a floundering deal.