Be Frank in Your Discussions about Tough Issues

One of the issues with new b2b sales people is the lack of frank or candid dialogue with a prospect or customer. Now understand I’m not saying you should be combative or defensive in your talks with prospects or customers – what I am saying is you must get to the meat of touchy issues or potential problems or setbacks.

Too often I see b2b sales people attempting to be politically correct or something – it just frustrates me when I witness it.

Look the Sales Superstars don’t dance around tough topics, they attack them head on and direct. Let me clarify something here – you can be direct about a topic and be wise regarding how you say it. Being direct and rude does not get you a victory in this game – you will lose your credibility and rapport.

Looks like we are back to the rapport, trust and credibility thing again. Building rapport is all about building trust which when used with experience and expertise leads directly to credibility. You must take the time to develop these soft skill issues before charging head long into a touchy or difficult subject.

So assuming you have build rapport, trust and credibility, you are now ready to deal with any other issues you have learned about through your questioning skills. So what are some of these tough or difficult topics?  Here are the big three key issues to be discussed…

  1. Budgets and Funding
    Include authority to buy in this group. Does the person you are talking with have the authority to commit their company to buy what you have to offer? If you are aware of budget cuts, be up front with the buyer  and state… “Given the recent budget cuts, has that impacted our progress in your project? How can I help you find additional budget funding to make this happen for you.”
  2. Getting Key Decision Makers On Board
    This is particularly important during two scenarios – 1. When budgets are tight and  the sale is big, you will need to get to the highest levels for budgetary approval. and 2. When what you are selling has NEVER been brought by this prospect or customer. You will need to get to the highest levels for buy-in to your sales project or objective. First times purchases are the hardest to make for the b2b sales person because the buyers and decision makers have  no experience, knowledge or know how regarding the implementation or impact. Since being safe and secure is more important than risk to the corporate buyer, you have to find the risk taker with authority. A typical statement to start the ball rolling is… “besides you and your team, who else will be impacted by this decision? Should we get them involved early in the process to get their buy-in and involvement? Who else should we discuss this process with to insure we get this done for you?
  3. Change Issues
    Change can impact any group of people inside the organization. And, change seems to bring out the worst in people who don’t like any kind of change or disruption to their world. So, it is important to think about who else will be impacted and how can we address the issues of change early in the sales process. You need to be prepared to ask your contact … “With this level of potential change in your business, practice, processes, etc., who will be impacted the most and who will be most resistant to our change initiative? When do you think we should meet with X? And, what are the major issues or problems we need to address to make this work in your opinion?”

As you can see, this is pretty simple to identify if you use questions to get the guidance you need from your contact. Take time to think through your previous b2b sales of this type. Who was impacted then? What were their issues?

Make a list of the answers and use these in your discussions with your contact. Open the door to frank dialogue to keep the sales process moving forward.

I heard that! Someone just said – if I push my contact with these types of questions they will just cut me off! Well, to set the record straight – if you are not asking these questions you will definitely be cut off or just told no without any explanation. The facts are decision makers want to work with confident and experienced b2b sales people. Show your resolve to move the sales process even when negative people are involved. Take control of the sales process and lead everyone through the process.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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