It’s likely out of all the leads in your pipeline, you have a prospect or two who just can’t seem to make a decision. In this podcast, Business growth expert David Blaise talks about methods of overcoming this hurdle and getting clients to commit.
In our last episode, we talked about the problems associated with not having enough leads in the pipeline and no discernible process for getting them there. If you missed that episode, you can check it out now at topsecrets.com/134
But if you DO have a bunch of leads in your pipeline, and if you do a reasonable amount of prospecting, then it’s likely you have at least a prospect or two who just can’t seem to make up their minds. They just can’t seem to make a decision.
They’ll say they’re interested, but they’ll keep putting it off. They’ll keep asking questions, but they won’t commit. They’ll have delay after delay, reason after reason, and excuse after excuse for failing to take action. For whatever reason, they just can’t seem to get off the fence.
Some of these prospects will tell you the truth, while others, well, you know the drill.
Naturally, we don’t want to appear pushy. So we might allow prospects like these to keep putting us off — sometimes for days, weeks, even months or even years. But when we do that, we’re really not doing our prospects or ourselves any favors.
As Professionals, We Need to Encourage Our Clients to Take the Actions that Will Benefit Their Businesses
If the promotion we’re recommending to a client is a good one — if it addresses their needs, targets the appropriate audience, communicates the right message and has a good likelihood of success — we do our clients a tremendous disservice if we fail to encourage and yes, sometimes push them to take action.
On the other hand, if the promotion we’re recommending does NOT make sense for the client, does NOT address their needs or fails to communicate the right message, then we shouldn’t recommend it to them in the first place, let alone encourage it or push for it.
To some extent, it’s about motives. What are our motives for the conversation? What are we trying to do? Are we trying to help the client to get a result they need and want or are we just trying make a sale for ourselves?
Either way, whether it’s a good or bad promotion, there is rarely any benefit at all to putting off a decision.
If it’s a good promotion, they should do it. If it’s not, they shouldn’t. No one should waste time considering a bad promotion or putting off implementation of a good one.
Being Passive is Often Deadly in Business
So every now and then, I believe it’s a good idea to push a little harder and do what’s necessary to help nudge indecisive clients off the fence.
Find out what’s holding them back. If it’s valid, come up with other options, if it’s not probe deeper.
A yes decision is great. A no is good too, because it allows you to move ahead. Ultimately, it’s the “maybes” that will kill you.
So what can you do today to help drive an indecisive client to a yes or no decision? I tend to favor a direct approach, with questions like: What’s currently holding you back? Is there something about this promotion you’re uncomfortable with? Do you have something different in mind? What’s your timeline on this?
I don’t recommend asking these questions in an antagonistic way, or even asking them back to back as I just did. Just ask them in a way that lets the client know that you genuinely want to help. In order to do that, we have to fully understand their needs, and occasionally do what is necessary to help get them off the fence.
This topic reminds me of one of my favorite quotes of all time from Tom Watson of IBM who said:
“I never varied from the managerial rule that the worst possible thing we could do would be to lie dead in the water with any problem. Solve it, solve it quickly, solve it right or wrong. If you solved it wrong, it would come back and slap you in the face and then you could solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without immediate risk, but it is an absolutely fatal way to manage a business.”
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