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Breaking the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Sales Resistance

This article might seem obvious to you. But I can guarantee that, if you heed its message, you will decrease the patterned and periodic resistance you encounter in certain areas. How’s that for an inducement to read on?

Many people come to me with a common problem: The prospect consistently demands a price reduction, or the prospect regularly demands an hourly rate, or the buyer is insistent about obtaining a specific number of days guaranteed on site. The logical notion of those encountering these and similar consistent arguments of resistance its that, if I can provide an answer to the objection, then they can apply it across-the-board.

I can provide the answer, but it’s often a painful one. I’ve found that in virtually all cases where you encounter identical resistance among disparate buyers that the cause is somewhere in your own behavior and language. You wouldn’t be facing uniform resistance on identical points among diverse prospects if you, yourself, weren’t doing something to engender and even encourage it.

I know that’s an almost indigestible proposition, but bear with me.

When I role-play these situations with mentorees, inevitable we turn up the “switch” that sends the train down the wrong track. For example, I found one person who consistently faced the problem of buyers who wanted a “deal” to be saying early in the relationship, “We’ll work with you flexibly in every facet of the relationship, and we feel we can provide better numbers than the competition.” That’s pretty much an invitation to say later “The competition will do this for 30% less than you will. Can you give us a better deal?” You want to outstrip the competition on value delivered and ROI, not on low fees!

A woman who found that the buyer rarely followed through on agreements to set up a next date was also consistently committing two errors: She was not providing any value whatsoever during the initial meeting (focusing solely on the background of her methodology) and she was not confirming a next date and time while facing the buyer during the first meeting. A small firm which found itself constantly delegated to the human resource department and low-level people who could not purchase major assistance was using solely human resource people for testimonials in its literature and the principals constantly used “HR” in their initial language with the prospect. Small wonder they were delegated to the place that was clearly in the hearts and minds.

The most egregious example of creating your own constant resistance was a woman-and this story is absolutely true, as are all my stories-who, when asked about fees for her workshop, replied consistently, “The normal workshop I’ve described in $7,500, but we have less expensive alternatives if that’s a problem.” Have you ever observed a automobile sales person, or someone selling high-end clothing, say to a customer, “This is our best selection, but before we even talk about it, let me show you something cheaper”? You probably haven’t because they wouldn’t last very long.

Grit your teeth and commit to that most punishing of self-development tools, introspection. Ask yourself if your resistance does take on a somewhat consistent and patterned form. If so, is there anything at all you can be doing differently to reduce the likelihood that you are actually the creator? I’ve seen people begin speeches by saying, “I’m not very good at this,” which quickly convinced the audience of that fact despite the quality of what followed. First impressions create ongoing perceptions which inform a person’s reality.

Modestly and humility play small roles indeed in the sales and marketing process. Arrogance and hubris are to be equally disdained. But in achieving a healthy confidence in your prospecting and initial conversations, don’t let the little guy on your shoulder whispering in your ear that you’re not good enough or that your fee is too high cause you to plant the seeds of your own demise. Flick him off your shoulder and focus on the tremendous value you bring to the client.

There is absolutely no need to apologize or compromise before you begin!