4 simple words that unlock difficult sales conversations

by Steli Efti
difficultconversations.jpg

Ever been in a sales conversation that's been going nowhere? A negotiation that's been stuck? There's a magic four-word-sentence that can resolve these situations and help you get a real dialogue going. Just say the words: "Help me out here."

We've covered how to deal with prospects who flat out refuse to answer your questions in a previous blog post. (And if you want to learn how to easily handle difficult prospects, get my free objection management template.)

But sometimes prospects aren't outright resisting you ... they're just subtly evading a meaningful exchange of information. They do respond to your questions, but their answers have a very low information density and don't provide you with any valuable insights.

Here's what this might look like.

Conversation with a reluctant prospect

Sales rep: "What kind of sales do you do? Inbound, outbound, field sales?"

Prospect: "It's a mix."

Sales rep: "Ok, so what's your team like?"

Prospect: "We're a startup."

Sales rep: "How many people are working on your team?

Prospect: "A few."

Sales rep: "So what's the number?"

Prospect: "Well, it kinda depends on how you count it."

That's all wasted time. You need to ask qualifying questions, but if all you're getting are worthless answers, you need to stop and address that. Most of the time when you get answers like this, the person just doesn't trust you and doesn't want to give you any information. They're assuming you'll use whatever they give them against them.

Everybody has experienced calls where an obnoxious salesperson tried to debate you into buying his product. Not sharing any substantial information is an effective way for prospects to shield themselves from these attempts.

How to break through

Just say this: "Help me out here. I feel like I'm failing you here, and I'm absolutely not helpful to you. This conversation isn't going anywhere. What's the problem? Is it about me? Do you think I'm just some obnoxious sales guy and just want to get rid of me? Help me out here."

The magic is in these four words: help me out here. By asking for help, you're shifting the dynamic of the conversation. You put your guard down and they do the same in turn. They'll just open up because they typically don't experience a sales rep talking to them in this way.

Now you've paved the way for a real, meaningful conversation. A true exchange of information can take place now. You don't need to waste any more time and energy on an empty back and forth over the phone.

Negotiation gridlock?

Sometimes you're in a negotiation with a prospective customer, and it's just going on forever. Just say: "Help me out here. What is it going to take to make this happen? This negotiation has been going on for too long. Help me out here, what do we need to do?"

You can use help me out here in almost any kind of sales scenario to make good things happen. The more you ask for help, the more helpful people will be, it's really that simple.

Want to learn more how to easily handle difficult prospects? Get started with our free objection management template!

Get your FREE objection management template