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“Yikes,” I exclaimed as a godawful screeching noise filled the car. We were driving downhill on a narrow twisting road in Escalante National Park enjoying the surreal landscape. It was the first day of our long drive home.

Warning Signs

“It’s the brakes,” my husband said calmly. Instantaneously, my eyes widened and my palms started sweating. I looked at the canyonlands far below and immediately realized there were no guardrails on the side of the road.

“It’s just a warning sign that they need replacing,” he continued. “We’ll need to change them when we get back to Minnesota.”

I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was just an alert — a signal to get our attention that we needed to do something different.

…which got me thinking about all the warning signs our prospects give us.

I’m talking about things like people checking their cell phones during presentations or working on their computer when you’re talking to them. Or, even quickly bring up a price objection before they know if you can provide value. These things drive me crazy. They’re totally rude.

But, they are also early indicators that our conversation is not resonating with them.

When I recognize that, I now have a choice. I can either continue down the same path — which ultimately leads to sales disaster. Or, I can change things up to hopefully get a different response. For example, I might:

  • Ask a thought-provoking question. It’s a great way to reengage a prospect who’s mentally checked out.
  • Address the obvious. For the multitasking prospect, I simply say, “You sound really busy right now. Let’s reschedule.”
  • Remove the pressure. Anyone who throws up obstacles early hates dealing with product-pushing salespeople. So I might say, “I have no idea if this would be a good fit for you.”

These strategies alter the conversation. They provide a jolt. They build trust. And, they’re honest responses to the situation.

Your prospect’s warning signs are like the screeching car brakes. Pay attention and you won’t have any trouble. But keep going down the same path and disaster lies ahead.

By Jill Konrath

Retrieved 23 May 2012 from:

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