Does this sound familiar to you?
Prospect A says, “This looks very good. I think there’s an excellent chance we’ll do business.” The salesperson thinks, “I’ve got one.”
Prospect B comments, “Your price is higher than we expected.” The salesperson thinks, “I’ll have to cut the price to close the deal.”
Prospect C reveals, “We were hoping for a shorter delivery time.” The salesperson thinks, “I’ll have to push this through as a rush order to get the sale.”
The salesperson’s thinking may appear to be appropriate, but is it? Or, is the salesperson guilty of “mind-reading” – assuming facts not in evidence and misreading between the lines.
In the case of prospect A, what is an excellent chance? And, when will the prospect stop thinking about it and take action? Was prospect B’s comment a request for a price reduction or was it merely out-loud thinking about the need to increase the budget projections? Was prospect C’s hope for a shorter delivery time actually a demand? There is no way to tell without asking for clarification.
When a prospect uses words or phrases that are vague, ask for an explanation. It would be appropriate for the salesperson to ask prospect A what “excellent chance” means. A suitable response to prospect B’s “price is higher…” comment would be, “And, you’re telling me that because…?” Don’t jump to conclusions. Get the facts.