5 Tricky Prospects and How to Handle Them

March 26, 2015 Michael Wang

When you’re a sales rep, you shoulder the burden of convincing prospects that your solution is worth investing time and money in. As a rule of thumb, inbound prospects tend to be easier to convince, while outbound prospects often take a bit more time to win over. After the qualification process, prospects generally fall into a few common categories. Here are 5 types of tricky prospects you’ll encounter and tactics on how to best handle them.

1. The thrifty

Tactic: Remind them what they’re missing

The thrifty one is extremely careful about where they spend their money. They often reference a tight budget or an unwillingness to spend on ‘nice-to-have’ products. During sales calls, they’ll be spending much of their time justifying the value of investing in your product.

As many sales reps know, these people want hard evidence. Clear numbers for pricing, ROI, and time saved are a perfect way to move the conversation forward. Interactive collateral, such as dynamic charts and calculators, provide a way for the thrifty to go through a number of scenarios their business might encounter. This increases their chances of discovering a perfect solution for their situation. As a final thought, supplement ROI-driven collateral with case studies that showcase the potential of choosing your product. Your goal is to present what they’re missing without your solution in their workflow and have them construct a dream solution containing your product.

2. The skeptical

Tactic: Illustrate success competitors have been seeing

The skeptical doubt that there’s a problem or solution to the status quo. They either don’t feel any urgency towards the problem you’re solving or have tried to solve a recurring problem to no avail.

The best way to get through to the skeptic is to show them what their competitors are doing. Make sure you can bring up clear evidence of the competition successfully using your product and deliver this in concrete, actionable steps. Not only does this showcase the presence of a problem and your solution, but it also instills a sense of urgency. No one wants to fall behind the competition. Convert the skeptic and you have yourself an influencer who understands the necessity of implementing now.

3. The unimpressed

Tactic: Warn about the unforeseen

The unimpressed are just not wowed by your solution. These guys are usually veterans, who have worked with similar products or been in the industry for an extremely long time. Put simply, they’ve seen it all before.

To catch the unimpressed off guard, you have to anticipate unforeseen problems that your product can solve. Describe a scenario that is not currently present, but can potentially become problematic. This type of prospect is arguably one of the most difficult to convince, but stick to your guns and sell them on the future. If you can show them that your product is solid and worth investing in for the long haul, the unimpressed will become one of your strongest champions.

4. The cryptic

Tactic: Silence is golden

The cryptic ones can’t be read. They are the ones who give vague replies that are not direct rejections, but far from any type of commitment. You just cannot find out if they are truly interested in your product.

The best way to decrypt them is to inject some silence on a phone call. Ask a question and let them answer. After they’re finished answering, hold the silence for a bit. Most people are uncomfortable with the dead air and will fill it with more clarifying statements. This is where you can get these prospects to divulge valuable information about their current pain points and give you the intel needed to close the deal.

5. The indecisive

Tactic: Make them itch

The indecisive can’t make up their mind. One second they are super gung ho about the product and the next second they are just tepid. They either cannot make a decision or do not feel compelled to make one at the moment.

The key to convincing the indecisive prospect is to create a sense of urgency. Urgency is like an itch – once you make them aware, you have to scratch. Show the indecisive what they are missing by dawdling, whether it’s time or money lost. Set deadlines for them and make sure you follow up. These people understand the value of your product, you just need to lay out the steps for getting them to a decision.

About the Author

Michael Wang

Michael is the marketing manager at Datanyze. He's a beat boxing legend (check YouTube).

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