A ‘yes’ is great, a ‘no’ is okay too… what’s not is a version of “I’ll think about it”

It’s the worst place to be in particularly if you’re into sales, recruitment or staffing. Nothing wastes more time than being “in-between” a decision when one has all the information that’s needed to make one. (I’ve spoken about it at length previously but this keeps coming back to me every now and then.) No, I’m not discounting the fact that people need more time to think or talk things through the stakeholders (or their partners). That’s very much part of the process and quite understandable.

But despite all the information they need and the ‘approvals’ in place, what still holds them back to make a decision? Uncertainty. And I can’t blame them. We’re wired to doubt and be skeptical about the things that we don’t know. And I think that’s the key to successful selling (of products, services or just ideas) — managing our own expectations. I think the focus on almost all sales conversations is to help the (potential) client be clear on the next step. Even if it is to take a decision.

If you’re wondering how, it’s pretty simple. Have an agreement (verbal should do) in place that states that you’re okay with a ‘no’ or a ‘yes’ but not an “in-between” or a version of “I’ll think about it.’ This forces you to be super-clear on the information that needs to be passed on, while ensuring that your client asks all the right questions that will help him be clear on what’s at stake. Think of this as a training platform for you to be an exceptional communicator who knows the product inside out.

I tried this tactic the first time several years ago and have been in love since. It has forced me to be thorough with my ideas and be challenged (more often than anyone would like) to provide the best value to the client. And they don’t have to take a decision right now unless that’s what seems to be the next logical/natural step given what they already know.

This isn’t some technique by the way, just a productive way to make the best use of your limited time. Would it work? If you try hard enough, it does. Else it’s a hit or a miss as with all things. But what I can guarantee is that staying in-between keeps you in a limbo that you don’t ever want to get into.

You’ve been warned.

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