In our most recent blog, we talked about Negative Reverse Selling and using strip-lining techniques to get neutral prospects talking about issues with their business and any related pain caused by those issues. Negative Reverse Selling is saying and doing the opposite of what the prospect expects salespeople to do. Strip-lining is giving the prospect more line to swim with, and allows the prospect to keep talking, making it one of the more effective tools in the NRS toolbox. It’s much easier to gather information once you set the prospect into motion, and Negative Reverse Selling is a great way to get the pendulum moving.
Let’s take a look at a scenario where strip-lining can be very effective in getting a negative prospect moving in the right direction. The prospect says to the salesperson: “We had a bad experience with your company. I have to tell you, I have absolutely no interest in doing business with you in the future”. That’s a pretty a negative prospect, right? So, a good strip-lining response is in order. Salesperson: “Wow, I am really sorry to hear that. I never heard about this situation. If I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t do business with us again, either. Could you be kind enough to share with me what happened?”
Notice what the salesperson did here. The salesperson validated the prospects feelings by letting them vent. We like to call this a “mental enema”. When a person has had a bad experience and is obviously upset and angry, let them get it out of their system. They may be emotional and a bit irrational, but letting them get it all out will go a long way towards allowing you to make reparations, and rectify the situation.
Let me share another story, this time a real life situation. I had a client in the printing industry named Omar. Omar’s printing company was selling printing services to a major company with a household name, based in New Jersey. Omar’s company had been messing up in a big way, delivering late on three shipments in a row. This really ticked off the folks at the larger company, prompting the purchasing agency to go over the salesperson’s head, and call Omar, the Sales Manager. The agent said to Omar quite heatedly, “This is the third time in a row your company has fouled up one of our orders. We’re done with you.” At this point Omar gave the agent a mental enema. Omar said, “If I were you, I’d be done with us, too.” Once validated, the prospect “dumped” (as the sales manager put it) all his pent-up aggravation, releasing enough negativity to finally speak somewhat rationally. Believe it or not, that conversation evolved into an appointment (or, as Omar called it when he was scheduling it, an “exit interview”). Because they had been doing business for some years, Omar was able to convince the company it would be a good idea to meet and develop plans to hand-off the business to a competitor.
Omar flew to New Jersey to meet in person with purchasing agent, and allowed the agent to once again validate how he felt about Omar’s company and how they messed up three orders in a row. Omar listened and nodded, then said, “I probably would have stopped doing business with us after the second order got fouled up. I totally understand why you are upset. I’d be livid if I were you.” At this point, the purchasing agent dumped and dumped, and dumped some more, dropping all his negativity on to Omar. However, by the end of the two-hour meeting, Omar left with a purchase order. How did he do that?
Omar was well versed in Negative Reverse Selling and using strip-lining techniques to give his angry client the chance to get all his anger out before going ahead and working to fix things. The purchasing agent at the major company was grateful to Omar for letting him vent, and then for rectifying the situation going forward. Negative Reverse Selling allowed Omar to make amends for a bad experience and go forward with some new business. That’s the power of Negative Reverse Selling.
In our next blog, we will go a little bit more in-depth, and breakdown the various ways to use Strip-lining Techniques with all types of prospects.