This weekend I watched Shark Tank. Â I had avoided it because it sounded so goofy and so many other bloggers were on the band wagon. Â But what I saw happens all the time in real life too so it was worth discussing.
Over and over people came in with their ideas that they held onto like children. Â But when questioned, they were so focused on the person asking the negative question that they ignored the fact that others were still interested! Â One couple actually blew the deal because one of the investors asked an, “I’m interested” question while another made a comment about why she was out and they addressed the “I’m out”! Â They put all their energy into defense when there was a perfectly good chance of getting the deal if they had just listened and stayed focused on their goal.
If I knew someone going in, I would certainly recommend they accept the “I’m outs” for what they are and hear everyone before they started defense. Â They should also remember, as we all should, questions are not negative or positive – they are an indication of interest. Â In someone asks you a question, there’s a reason they want to know the answer. So answering it helps move the process along. Â Answer them honestly – this is not the time to make promises Â you can’t deliver. Â If a customer does say “I’m out”, see if you can understand why. Â One of the nice things the sharks do is they do explain why they are out. Â Most of the time, there is no point in discussing – if the shark doesn’t feel they have any connection to an industry, your talking isn’t going to change that. Â But, there are times when they say something that isn’t accurate and the presenter has a chance to explain. Â That happens in our sales process too – if a customer says “I’m not interested because…” Â you get a chance to really explain why they are wrong.
Now sometimes, they are right. Â “I’m not interested because we have filed Chapter 11” isn’t something you can answer. Â But, can you offer them something? Â Put them on a mailing list to keep up with industry trends? Â Call back in 1 month when their position will be clear? Â The name of a good industry-focused recruiter? Â Something? Offering something even to a “no” shows you believe in your product and actually interested in a relationship. Â And that can go a long way to turning a no into a yes.
So be careful not to be defensive when talking to people. Â If they ask a question, take it at face value and don’t try to read too much into it. Â And if they are “out”, try to give them something so at some point they come back in.