Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Indifference & Skepticism


It's the holiday season and we're talking about indifference and skepticism? Is Ebenezer Scrooge running this website? No matter what time of year, us sales folks have to deal with those "Bah Humbug" attitudes. Here are some ways to handle these less-than-ideal responses and maybe even turn them into a sale.

Let's talk first about the difference between these two attitudes. Indifference occurs when the prospect has no opinion about the value you have shown them. Basically, they don't care. Skepticism occurs when they question if your product or service can really help them accomplish what they want. They don't believe what you're telling them. If you're confronted with skepticism or indifference, you haven't presented enough customer-specific value to show how you can help them.

Remember, mild acceptance may be confused with indifference or skepticism.
* "It seems like it could be a fit ..." Ask why it only seems like a fit. This may identify skepticism.
* "Yeah, that would be OK ..." Ask if they would allocate part (or all) of their budget to accomplish that outcome. That may identify indifference, and closing hard would drive out an objection.

If you aren't sure, ask. There's no real downside to asking. Be sure to mirror their dominant DISC personality traits when asking more questions.

You will know you're confronted with indifference when:
1. The prospect's response is not emotional.
2. There isn't even a sprinkling of acceptance or objection.
3. Logic says they should have an opinion, but they don't care.
4. Basically, they seem like they just don't care.

If you get to a point where you have encountered indifference, close hard and force them to have an opinion. This will identify the true objection if they're a decision maker (DM). Keep in mind that most of the time you are confronted with indifference, it's because your contact is not the DM. This should cause you to probe deeper to fully understand their Value Opportunities. You can gain a better understanding of the DM loop if they aren't a DM.

You will know you're confronted with skepticism when:
1. The prospect's response is emotional.
2. There is mild acceptance thrown in.
3. You've received feedback that you've properly identified the Value Opportunity. You just haven't convinced them that your company can deliver the proposed value.

Skepticism is the customer saying "prove it." They don't believe that your company can deliver what you say, or they doubt what you say can help them. First, find out why they don't believe you. Probe deeper using QACF to uncover the source of the reason they don't believe what you're telling them is the truth. You may also have to present more value by using specific proofs and showing the benefits to them.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of three leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, and VertMarkets.

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