“Don’t ask a question that can lead to a response of maybe.” – Jim Camp in today’s Tip 1619
Do you ask a question that can lead to a response of maybe?
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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 Jim Camp. Jim is a former VP of Sales, and is now an owner and coach with Camp Negotiations. His coaching expertise is in sales, negotiations, and leadership. Jim has also served as a military pilot and is retiring as a Major General from the United States Air Force. Here he is:
Jim Camp: Hi, everyone. This is Jim Camp here again bringing you another sales tip. Last week, we talked about letting go of results and focusing on what we can manage our activity and our behavior. Today, I want to focus on how you perceive the word maybe. What do you do when you hear the word maybe? A maybe is not a positive event. In our system at best, we refer to maybe as simply a no for now. Honestly, those we coach would rather hear no than the word maybe.
We know why people say no, there’s only four reasons. With a maybe, honestly, there’s nothing to get excited about. A maybe is a non-decision. In fact, if you’ve prematurely pushed to close the deal, you may have forced your opponent in the saying the word maybe. At least with a no, you can decide to go further. You could decide to discover what the real problems are. You can gather more vision and you can help your potential clients see the opportunities that are provided by your solution. Or with a no, you can simply move on. You can decide whether or not the negotiation ends or whether or not you continue.
Here’s a tip for today.
Don’t ask a question that can lead to a response of maybe. We’ll cover more about our behaviors in future episodes, but this one is important and I want to get to it right away. If you ask a verb-led question, you actually open yourself up to three potential responses: yes, no, or maybe. Questions like, will you, can you, do you see that this might be able to help you? Or is this something that you might be interested in? You get the picture. Verb-led questions box your opponent into three limited responses. In reality, using these types of questions can be useful if you’re confirming something, but it’s not conducive to building vision with your opponent.
Look, as an example, I know my LinkedIn profile needs work, and I’m very appreciative of everybody reaching out to me now that I’m retiring from the military and getting back into coaching. But you would be shocked at the number of emails I receive that actually lead with a verb-led question. For example, Jim, if I can help you generate higher returns, is this something you’re interested in? Think about that question. Is this something you’re interested in? My mind immediately shifts to, well, first of all, I don’t know who this person is. I appreciate their efforts, but I don’t know, maybe. It depends. It depends on numerous things.
Conversely, if they were to say, Jim, how comfortable are you with your LinkedIn page? What changes do you and your company face in marketing? How can we help you with both? I look forward to hearing from you. If I’m being honest, that’s the person I want to talk to. I want to talk to somebody that’s worried about my world, that’s willing to hear what I have to say, but is not applying pressure to me to make an immediate decision by using a verb-led question. The verb-led question doesn’t work at the beginning or anywhere in the negotiation unless you know the answer to that question before you ask it. I hope you found this helpful, and I promise I’ll be back with more sales tips. Take care.
Scott Ingram: To get your hands on a free download with the 4 Reasons People Say No from Jim and Camp Negotiation, just click over to DailySales.Tips/1624. Once you’ve clicked over there to grab that download, be sure to click back here for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!