“Saying I don’t know will not encourage a strong relationship. Find ways to respond in a manner that lets them know that you’re willing to be part of the solution.” – Meshell Baker in today’s Tip 1592
Do you say I don’t know?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Meshell Baker, your favorite sales confidence igniter and authentic selling crusader. Here she is:
Meshell Baker: Today I’m going to speak about the phrase I don’t know about its impact and how to replace it. Now, as a seller or sales leader, your role is meant to be the expert. You’re actually meant to know.
Now, the interesting part about that is that nobody knows everything and it’s absolutely okay not to know. Having said that, how do I tell someone that I don’t actually know without saying, I don’t know? Well, that’s today’s tip.
Now, why is it important? Because as an expert, you lose credibility. As a sales leader, you lose credibility as soon as you utter those words, I don’t know. Replacing that with a strong, empowered phrase that lets them know that maybe it’s information that you’re not currently privy to, yet your willingness to support and solve on the other person’s behalf, be it the seller as a sales leader or the buyer as a seller, that you are more than willing to research and acquire, work with them so that that solution can be clear is what your role is.
Now, having said that, here are some phrases to utilize in the midst of saying, I don’t know. Now, when you are in that role which you don’t know, it’s not your area of expertise, yet someone wants to know your thoughts, here are three things you can respond with.
“I’m not sure I’m the best person for that answer,”
“But number two, here’s what I know, and here’s what I don’t know.”
“Number three, based on my understanding, I believe that.”
Those are three ways that you can respond to someone’s request when you actually don’t know. So it leaves you strong, empowered, and it keeps the conversation moving forward so that resolution or solution will be gathered.
Another one, what to say when it’s better to help someone find the answer. So some people are looking for you to be the answer and you want to empower them to get their own answer.
Great question. Let’s look into that. So that way you’re supporting them in finding a solution.
Number two, let’s see what we can get some more information on that. So you are actually supporting someone in becoming their own solution, thereby allowing them to be stronger in their ability to discover what they don’t know.
Another way, a better way to say I don’t know when you need some information to get the right answer. So here are two great options.
Before I answer, could you share a little bit more detail about what you need or what you’re looking for?
So this is especially important in a sales call or when you’re working with someone as a sales leader to really get more detail on what it is they’re asking before you say, I don’t know.
Number two, before I answer that question, could you clarify what you just said or your statement? So what it allows you to do is to see if there’s more to know that you might actually have a response to. Sometimes people pose a question and you’re not even clear on the question before you say, I don’t know.
What I want you to take away from today is that instead of saying, I don’t know, be willing to take the conversation further. Be willing to ask some questions. Be willing to work together with a person for that solution.
Remember, as a seller and a sales leader, you are the expert. That person is coming to you to ask questions and to maintain your status of being a top performer, of being a stellar sales leader, of being the solution, and the person that you want your buyers to refer and recommend to other people. Even if you don’t know, that’s okay.
However, saying I don’t know will not encourage a strong relationship. Find ways to respond in a manner that lets them know that you’re willing to be part of the solution. Have a great day selling.