The TACTIC: When a prospect is negative, strip line hard!

Tactics Sales


“I have to tell you,” stated the prospect, “all of you salespeople are alike.”

Nick wanted to walk out the door, get in his car, go home and find a nice job as a mortician. At least then, he thought, the customers are dead. Having absolutely no idea how to handle this, he just nodded his head.

“Yeah, I see you know what I mean. All you do is try to sell people things that they don’t need.”

“Well,” said Nick, “when you say ‘sell them things they don’t need,’ what exactly do you mean?”

“This item here,” the prospect said, pointing to the item in back of Nick, “you’d probably try to sell me that.”

“Why that?” asked Nick in a confused voice.

“Probably because you have the best commission on it — or it’s a discontinued line.”

“You’ve bought discontinued lines . . . “ Nick started to say, and before he could finish, the prospect cut in.

“Not that I know about, but who can tell?”

“So I guess that you don’t want to buy anything at all from me?” asked Nick.

“Time out, I didn’t say that.”

“Oh, I’m not sure what you are . . . ” and Nick would have finished but could not for the life of him figure out what to finish with.

“Tell you what. Show me something within the price range I mentioned earlier, and I’ll take it.”

“Uh, well, OK,” answered Nick.


Taking a negative prospect and turning him into a positive prospect is easy. All Nick did, without realizing it, was to keep saying things that gave the prospect the chance to say more negative things. And then Nick started to take the sale away. Suddenly the negative prospect turned positive. If Nick had tried to prove that he was not like “all of you salespeople,” Nick would have lost.


Negative prospects are being created every day by salespeople who do not sell but try to badger people into buying. Look on the bright side. These negative prospects really do want to buy something; they are just used to salespeople who do not know what to do with the pain they feel.

Negative prospects are the easiest people in the world to sell if you remember one thing as you work with them: They don’t want you to get in the way of their buying your product/service.

If you can stay out of their way, you will sell them.

Negative prospects are negative because they want to buy very badly and have not been given the opportunity to do so.  


Don’t get in the way. Don’t defend what you are. Don’t defend your product/service. Don’t get upset when they tell you that you are the last person in the world from whom they’d buy.

What you do is to reflect back the negative comments as questions. Very quickly the negative prospect will either leave or suddenly decide that you “aren’t like all the others” and will do business with you. If he quickly leaves, you haven’t wasted your time. If he stays, you have a customer.

And that’s all you have to do.


Negative prospects have been created by salespeople who don’t know how to handle prospect pain.

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