I have to be honest here and tell you that when I started out in business I called, left voice mails for, begged, pleaded with, and beseeched everyone I foolishly thought was a prospect…nay “hot” lead. What a waste of my time and theirs. All the time these business people were giving me their answer by ignoring me. Their answer was a loud and clear “no” or “not now.” Why wasn’t I hearing them? I think it was because in a consulting practice where you’re selling yourself many of us tend to take rejection personally. We think the only reason a company would not want to do business with us is because they don’t like us. We think the rejection has nothing to do with a mismatch on product or service, timing, business conditions, or budget.
Over time, I’ve come to understand, “This is business not personal.” Profound words spoken my Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972).
Before I chase someone down these days, I take a different approach. Salespeople would call my process “qualifying.” Today, I ask myself these questions, “Am I chasing the decision-maker,” “Can I demonstrate that they have a need for my product or service,” “Do they have the funding” and “Can they make the purchase in a reasonable time frame?”
It’s not difficult to uncover the decision-maker at the company, just ask. As far as, does the business have a need for your product or service? Here you have to uncover their pain, make sure your product or service is the remedy for that pain and clearly explain what the benefits will be to the business after their pain has been relieved. If you can show that using your solution saves them money, then funding should not be as issue. Lastly, there’s the “when can we get started question.” Remember they may want to do business with you , but the timing is not right. Here you need to understand the difference between poor timing and an outright ploy to just keep you hanging on. Agree on a deadline together. If the deadline passes and they are not willing to make a move, walk away. If you are truly selling a service or product that people cannot do without, then there are plenty of fish in the sea…go drop your line in the water elsewhere.
So, take the thoughts of rejection and set them aside. You have two choices: either ask these four questions early in the selling process or get ready to have your emails and voice mails go unanswered.