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Why Do My Prospects Lie to Me?


If you seriously believe that your prospects and customers are always telling you the truth – this column may not be something you should be reading. It may burst your bubble and worse yet, cause you to question your current selling methods. Now that can really mess up your selling karma! Wimps believe that customers and prospects are always honest with them. Professional sales people know that the prospects natural defense system is to lie, mislead and hold back the truth.

Prospects Defend Themselves

“Prospects defend themselves against me?” you may ask. Well not necessarily against you as a person, (although that may be the case in some instances), but against what you and your selling methods represent. You see, selling systems since World War II have mostly been the same. Big name companies have all had their own style and pet “moves”, but they are all variations on the same theme; i.e. Three Steps: Qualify, Present, Close.

Now in theory that makes a lot of sense. However, the reason that system has had less and less success recently is because almost everyone in sales uses it. Good salespeople like you, plus every big-mouthed, obnoxious, double-knit polyester, pushy, fast talking, terrible sales person. And guess who just called on your prospect a few minutes before you did? You got it, Herb from “WKRP in Cincinnati” (the guy in the loud madras sport coat and yellow pants – for those of you too young to remember the sitcom). Guess why your prospect is a little defensive after that experience? - Self and financial preservation! You need a different system (and appearance) than the “Herbs” of the world.

Qualify, Close, Present (QCP)

Okay, stay with me on this. I know you’re thinking – “there’s no way you can ‘close’ a sale before you ‘present’ the product features and benefits. Dave, you’ve crossed the line on this one”.

Let me share a story with you that proves that QCP works and that even good prospects don’t usually tell the whole truth.

One Christmas season a few years ago, my lovely sister, Danielle, asked if I would accompany her to the Short Hills Mall. She needed to pick out some new shoes to match her new Christmas party dress. Now one of the last places I wanted to spend my Saturday was shopping for shoes at a very popular mall during the Christmas season. However she asked if I had plans – I replied “not really” (Qualify). I’ll make it worth your while.” She stated. “Hmmm, oh, all right” (Close), I replied. I know she had an idea of what kind of shoes she wanted. She had a swatch of material from the dress, heel height was a given, so I figured this shopping experience would be a walk in the park – so to speak.

“By the way what is my reward?” I inquired. “I’ll buy you a drink at Joe's American when we’re through shopping for shoes”, she replied. (Presentation)

We eventually got in the mall (after 15 minutes of jousting and playing chicken trying to find a parking place), walked into the first shoe store we came to (I could already taste my adult beverage). A nicely dressed sales dude walks up to us and asks the proverbial sales question, “Can I help you?” Danielle says, “No, just looking” (Lie/Mislead).

The next two salesmen ‘presented’ a lot of shoes and also did not “close” like the first. I did eventually get my adult beverage.

Success Formula

Because poor sales people have taught your prospects to be defensive and hold back the truth, it is your job to not look, walk, talk or act like the stereotypical salesperson. If you are going to be efficient and successful in sales, use the success formula of Qualify, Close, Present. After you qualify the prospect, sell yourself through trust. Get the prospect’s commitment first, before you waste a lot of your expensive time giving away free consulting. Then after the commitment (Close), present only the information that will satisfy the prospects real needs.

Connect with us here if you have additional questions or want to schedule a follow up conversation!

Dave Fischer, President, Chartwell Seventeen Advisory Group

Dave Fischer, President, Chartwell Seventeen Advisory Group

Sandler Training NYC