5 Strategies for Handling Intimidating Prospects
Imagine your company gives you a list of leads and on the top of that list is your most fearsome super hero. How would you approach that sales call? You may be a big fan of this super hero. But perhaps his/her physical prowess, intimidation and indomitable will would bring some hesitation, if not raging fear. Selling to intimidating prospects has its challenges, but also great rewards.
Look for these behavioral clues:
- Rapid speech and quick gestures
- Speaks in bullet points
- Tends to take charge of situations
- Decides quickly & independently
- Focuses on end results and avoids details
- Possesses a penetrating stare
- They often prefer to wear black
We refer to this behavior style as DIRECT or High D. It is easy to see they tend to be faster paced and more task oriented, (as opposed to being slower paced and more people oriented). For this reason they are extremely productive which makes them a huge asset to their company or team. As a result, the High D places greater importance on accomplishing tasks over building relationships with others. They believe the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Therefore, they have no time for detours. Consequently, they may inadvertently ‘run over’ people. They tend to appear unfriendly as they pursue their objectives.
Please note: High D’s are not intentionally unkind or rude. Rather, they are simply focused on the mission or task at hand. Join them on their journey and they will become a life long client.
Although their manner may be intimidating, these folks are the easiest to sell to because:
- They want to buy. They will not grant you a sales meeting unless they are in the market to purchase. They do not say, “Yes”, to meeting ‘just to be nice’.
- There’s no time like the present. They usually intend to purchase at the time of the sales presentation. As a result, this behavior style does not want to have two meetings for one decision. Obviously, the larger the corporation, the greater the number of sales meetings. But this individual will ‘take the bull by the horns’ whenever possible.
5 Key strategies on how to sell to the High D behavior style
1. Psychology of Selling to the Direct client
Selling to any individual requires you understand their psychological needs as well as product needs. Furthermore, this deeper understanding will help you build rapport with your client. The High D’s needs include a) choices (options), b) challenges, and c) control. The things that really push their buttons are: d) being taken advantage of, e) losing control, or f) being disrespected.
Therefore, they want you to be:
- Brief and to the point – you can speak in bullet points
- Respectful of their time
- Direct – get to the point quickly
- Confident – look them in the eye
- Ready to take their order – they want to get this decision behind them
They are often so focused on their future that they are annoyed by the details of today. You could lose this client if you bog them down with minutia. The High D wants to know what you’ve got, what it will do for them, what it costs and how soon it can be delivered. They will make their decision quickly. Be organized and ready to take their order.
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2. Sell more by understanding:
Connecting with your client in the sales meeting is critical. You must first win their respect if you want to sell to them. This requires tweaking your sales presentation to meet their needs. You will be well on you way to earning their respect when you:
- Arrive at least 15 minutes early for your appointment. The High D believes if you are not at least 15 minutes early, you are late.
- Return their phone calls promptly. This practice is common curtesy and proper business etiquette. In fact, successful sales professionals have a ‘same day’ policy for returning all calls.
- Get down to business right away. (Can you imagine sitting down with BATMAN and starting off by asking him about his summer vacation?) Ignore the sales books that tell you to spend 10 minutes ‘breaking the ice’. Jump right into your presentation and focus on quantifiable results.
- They enjoy a fight. If they are interested, they will challenge you, your information, or your product. Answer their concerns and don’t back down.
- End early. The High D is a busy person. While they are listening to your pitch they are also thinking about the next three meetings they have scheduled. Therefore, if they have granted you 30 minutes, be finished in 25. Let them be the one to ask you for more time.
3. During your sales meeting make sure you focus on:
- Their goals
- Providing a solution to their problem
- The results your product or service will deliver
- Give them options
4. Communicate more effectively with the High D by using the following words:
5. Finally, here’s an example of how I made a sale to an individual who has a High D behavior style.
I will always remember one of my high D customers (I’ll call him Dennis). His demeanor scared most sales people away, and very few of the ones brave enough to approach his office succeeded in their attempt to sell him. I remember waiting weeks to gain 30 minutes of his time. In preparation for our meeting, I did the following:
- I planned to arrive early – High D’s will NOT be kept waiting, and, if there was a break in his schedule, I might get a few extra minutes.
- My presentation was designed to fit the amount of time Dennis allotted. It allowed me to finish my presentation early.
- Identified the key issues so that I could get right to the point – no personal chit-chat.
- Prepared a few key questions to identify his pain so that I could solve it in my presentation.
- We created printed materials for Dennis to peruse that included bullet points.
Adapting my sales presentation to meet his behavior style
- Dennis would interrupt me. This meant that I would have to work to maintain my focus so that I could keep the presentation on track.
- He would challenge me if he was interested. Therefore, I prepared myself not to take offense.
- One of my goals was to maintain control of the meeting. This was accomplished with was pre-prepared questions and answers.
- Foremost, I was focused upon the High D’s need for choices (options), challenges and control.
First, as I was introduced to Dennis, I returned his firm hand shake. Unfortunately, he took two phone calls, and his receptionist interrupted us once during our meeting. However, the bullet point presentation helped me stay on track and keep my presentation on schedule. The sales presentation focused on discovering the challenges he and his staff were facing.
The sales meeting began like this:
” You told me that you were looking to increase the effectiveness of your sales team. What I do is help sales professionals book more appointments, close more deals, and develop repeat clients who provide quality referrals.” Then I proceeded with my presentation.
Eventually Dennis challenged me:
Dennis sat forward, and he put his finger in my face as he challenged my ideas. He had a better idea. Immediately, he seized control of the meeting by pontificating at length on his idea, (I’ll call it option Y).
High D’s can become very intimidating. Keeping my cool I responded with a question rather than a statement to see where he was coming from. Likewise, I needed to recover some control of the conversation. “Dennis, why do you think that Option Y would work better than Option X?” His response indicated to me that his reasoning and approach would not give him the results he wanted.
How I turned the meeting around in my favor.
Most importantly, I turned the meeting in my favor by using the magic word – results. The word results is part of the ‘love language’ for the High D.
“ Dennis, I think I understand where you are coming from, but to produce the results you are looking for it would be best to do X. In our experience customers who did Y did not get the results you have stated you need. To get the results for the type of goals you desire, we really need to consider X… Of course the choice is yours.”
Consequently, I met his psychological need to make his own choice.
Because of this, I was able to direct this client toward a more suitable training solution without engaging in conflict. Finally, Dennis approved my proposal. Above all, he has been a great customer ever since.
Remember – the High D’s bark is often worse than his bite. If you respect them and meet their expectations, they will probably do business with you.
Connect with all behavior styles more effectively.
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Can you identify a ‘BATMAN’ in you client funnel? Make a list of their names. Tweak your approach with these strategies. Watch your book of business grow!
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- Recognize and adapt to your client’s communication style
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