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Sales Solutions
Use Take-Aways to Engage Reluctant Prospects vol 4, issue #1
January, 2007

It is an oddity of human nature that when we're told we may not have something, or that we don't qualify for something, that something becomes more desirable.  A person to whom we're attracted spurns our advances; suddenly, we want that person even more.   It's the reason young women play (or are accused by men of playing) hard-to-get: the rarer they make themselves - the more they take themselves away - the more they're desired.

Consider the typical cold call.  It goes something like this:

  • "Hi, I'm John Doe with the Acme Company"
  • "We do x, y, and z"
  • "I'm certain our offering will meet your needs/solve your problem/help you achieve your goals"
  • Let's set up a meeting so I can show you how.

The average prospect recoils at this presumptive approach. He's heard it so many times, from so many sales people, that he's become conditioned to think something along these lines:

"How can this guy be so sure of himself?  He just called me out of the blue; he can't possible have any idea what my needs, my problems, or my goals are.   And I'm going to waste my valuable time meeting with him?  No way!"

How can we avoid this seemingly inevitable outcome?  Add a Take-Away to your call.

A Take-Away is a statement that suggests to a prospect that what you offer might not be right for him, or conversely, that perhaps the prospect is not a good fit for what you offer.   It's a powerful technique for getting indifferent or skeptical prospects to agree to talk with you. Here's why: The Take-Away removes the presumptiveness that is such a turn-off to most prospects by injecting a refreshing dose of humility.  It acknowledges - and conveys to the prospect - that until a discussion of this prospect's specific needs, problems, and goals takes place, you truly cannot know if your offering is a good fit. The Take-Away disarms the prospect of his unstated objection, while simultaneously piquing his interest ("what do you mean it might not be for me?").   And most importantly, it gets you what you wanted in the first place - an opportunity for further discussion with the prospect.

Here are a couple of examples of Take-Aways:  "Joe, I'm not sure if what we offer is right for you…" "Joe, without knowing more about your business, I can't know if what we offer is right for you…."

"But", you say, "I've always been told to present my product with confidence."  And so you should.  The Take-Away - while it may sound negative - actually projects confidence.  Your willingness to turn down a prospect- to disqualify him - is something the prospect is not used to hearing. It's a powerful show of confidence in your product, and it elevates you in his eyes above other sales people.  It conveys an aura of selectivity - that this product is not for everybody, but rather only for a select few.  And who doesn't want to be considered part of a select few?  

Action Item

Include a Take-Away on your next few calls.  If you have a sales script (always a good idea, so long as you don't sound as if you're reciting it), work the Take-Away into it. Keep track of the percentage of calls that advance the sale forward. Then compare this with your previous experience. I expect you'll be pleased with the improvement.

Good Selling!

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