I was speaking with one of my clients’ salespeople today about a project they’re working on. A final presentation/meeting had taken place and the salesperson was telling me he was confident it would be moving on to the order, yet the way he said it suggested all wasn’t as clear cut as he was making it out to be.
“Did they say that?” I asked.
“Did you ask?”
“No … not really.”
“Why?” I enquired.
“I didn’t feel I could as one of the people in their team seemed quite negative, so I was concerned he would object.”
He told me this person had been quite positive until this meeting and his behaviour was unusual from the times they had met before. “You should have asked him if he was happy about everything or said that you had noticed he seemed different. Then you could follow on by asking was there something you needed to go over again or in more detail,” I told him. On the basis this individual was influential in making the decision (which the salesperson had told me) it wasn’t good not to engage this person and understand why they were acting in this way.
It may have been that this man had something on his mind that was nothing to do with that meeting and project. It may just have been that he was having a bad day – who knows? Unfortunately the salesperson didn’t – as they didn’t ask.
If it turns out to be a case of the scenarios above it may not affect the salesperson’s chances of success, but if the man’s change in behaviour was down to him feeling that the product/service wasn’t right for them, or down to the salesperson having said or done something he didn’t like … it could have cost the salesperson the opportunity. That would be such a shame having spent the time and effort to get that far.
It is always good to ask what is happening when someone seems disengaged. In doing so you can learn:
- that something needs addressing
- that you could have explained something better or that you need to improve something
- information about your competition’s offering that may be better than yours (that you didn’t know)that your prospect has needs that you haven’t fully understood
- that something has changed in your prospect’s situation
Often the issue you’ll need to address is simple and with that person now back on board you can ask the question all salespeople must ask, having made the final pitch; if they would like to go ahead. Otherwise … what was it all for?
I wish you every success!