Recently, I conducted a workshop where we discussed how creating the “yet” is one of the most important jobs in sales. What does it mean to create the yet? First, you listen for the yet moments from prospective buyers, which often come in four common variations:
- We have no needs.
- We’re not buying.
- We don’t work with firms like yours.
- We’re not adding any other vendors.
When you hear this, you first need to add one word to what they’ve said (and it’s best to do so silently in your head):
- We have no needs, yet.
- We’re not buying, yet.
- We don’t work with firms like yours, yet.
- We’re not adding any other vendors, yet.
Your job is to create the yet, to enroll the prospect in shifting their thinking from disinterest and disengagement to intrigue and interest in exploring a relationship with you and your company. There are 11 ways to do this; one of my favorites is to ask an informed question about their company or industry. For example, if you’re talking with an economic buyer in the transportation industry you can ask how recent regulations, that you read about in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, are changing how his company is doing business. Since people like to talk about themselves and their companies, it’s likely that he’ll openly discuss this with you. Then, you simply flip each response into your next question. He’s enjoying being heard and you’re gathering details, filtering these through all of the possible permutations as to how you could bring value to his organization.
How well does this work? Earlier this year one of my clients had a conversation that began with, “We have no needs.” He used my advice above, turned the conversation around, and landed a million dollar account.
This is sales at its best. No longer do you have to wait until they decide they have a need. Instead, you show buyers why it’s in their best interest to buy and buy now.