I hear salespeople say that speaking to a particular prospect was like "hitting a brick wall." The prospect's guard was up in full force. The prospect seemed to get bored or, worse yet, to actually become defensive or offensive, as the case may be, every time the salesperson mentioned a product benefit or feature. It pains me to hear this, as I've known exactly what it feels like to be in such a position.
Whenever I've encountered such a fortress or offensive, my instinct has been to conceive an equally abrasive battle plan or retort the likes of which this very difficult and disturbed character has never seen! No. No. No! Of course that isn't the way to go. We shouldn't be attacking anyone whom we want to call a customer, anytime.
Next time you hit a brick wall, don't attack head-on. Don't ever try that. I promise it is painful. Instead, look for the loose brick. The loose brick is always the one thing which the client needs most. The loose brick is the absolute top priority to the client, at that given time (Be prepared. It will change -- frequently). In the same way they say it is one step that begins the journey of a thousand miles, it's by starting to chip away at that one loose brick that will lead to taking down a prospect's entire wall of defense.
Finding the loose brick requires really active listening and calm questioning, not interrogating. And remember, if you want your prospect to get down to the truth, you may need to expose a little of yourself first to establish a deeper trust. And if you take such an approach to your next difficult conversation, you'll successfully achieve two things.
Remember, if you get resistance, stop even thinking about selling. Think about listening and understanding what the person (not the "client" or "customer" at that point) really needs. Your first goal shouldn't be to sell anyway. You need a foot in the door. You need to build a trusting relationship. You need to get a chance to prove that relationship. So first look for the loose brick. You can always upsell later.
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