Once Bitten: Getting Through to Prospects with Negative Perceptions
A few weeks ago my three-year-old daughter was attempting to pet a small dog and the dog turned around and bit her as hard as he could. There are a few important things I learned from this experience. First, my daughter was not hurt, but she was scared. Second, my daughter is the sweetest, kindest calmest little girl, but that did not matter. Finally, the biting incident has changed the way my daughter looks at dogs of all sizes and she will probably never change back.
So how did this happen, you ask? Well, it turns out that this is Horace’s fault.
Whois Horace, you ask? Horace is a small boy who used to live nearby and had regularly tormented this dog. A few years earlier this dog was happy, playful and full of life. This small dog loved kids and was always ready to play fetch and get its belly rubbed. Then a boy named Horace moved in and started to torment the dog. Horace likes to take the dog’s toys and hide them rather than play fetch. And Horace enjoyed pulling ears and tails far more than rubbing bellies.
Naturally, the dog became defensive. It learned to bark and snarl and started to look at children as if they were a threat. And the dog learned that proactively biting was the best way to keep bad things from happening to it. The dog did not know my daughter was kind and gentle and he had no reason to fear her, but Horace had changed the dog’s beliefs about children.
Salespeople like to see themselves as honest caring professionals, interested in creating valuable partnerships with their prospects and clients. These partnerships should lead to long-term relationships and are always based on honesty and trust. All too often, however, Horace has gotten to our prospects before us. Horace convinces our prospects that price is all that matters, that everybody has poor service and that salespeople are nothing more than vendors, they always have been vendors, and always will be. When salespeople run into a prospect that has had a particularly bad incident with a Horace, the prospect will often snarl and bite. The salesperson won’t get hurt, but it will change the way they approach prospects going forward.
Part of the training we do is helping salespeople understand how to deal with prospects who have had tough visits from Horace. We help our clients learn to relate to their prospect’s pain, build a more equal relationship and create partnerships that Horace can’t walk in and screw up.
Tired of dealing with the mess Horace created?