If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced being dropped into the “silent zone” — a key moment in the sales process when you say to yourself, “Why has selling become such a painful and arduous process”.
The “silent zone” is when you’ve worked with a prospect over a period of time, built a relationship over-the-phone or in-person (at least you thought you built a relationship), they expressed serious interest in your solution, then all of a sudden, they don’t return your calls.
“It’s not like I did anything wrong”, you say to yourself. In fact, as far as you’re concerned, you did everything right.
You’ve done all the work to create sales momentum and all you get from them is radio silence.
”Will I get this sale?”, you ask yourself. “It feels like my prospect has let me down and broken the relationship that I carefully nurtured throughout the selling process.”
I want to shed some light for you on how you can use a different mindset to pull yourself out of the painful “silent zone”.
Most of us get caught up in sales “hopeium”. Hopeium is a comical term that expresses setting our hopes and desires on only making the sale. This becomes a self-directed trap because it completely silences the critical importance of being aware that we should be focusing on something else instead: getting to your prospect’s truth.
When we solely focus on the outcome, our trajectory is towards the result of getting the sale. We’re anticipating where things are going throughout the process, and we begin to expect things to happen as we hoped they would.
Then when we get dropped into the “silent zone” and we start to lose our centeredness.
Our sales process comes to a halt, we become anxious, frustrated, discouraged, and confused. Maybe we don’t even sleep well at night.
We’re preoccupied with what went wrong. And sometimes there’s even a sense of betrayal. They said they would call, but now they’re not. Why?
Well, the only person who can solve that mystery is your prospect. And your prospect will only solve that for you when you shift to focusing on discovering the truth of what’s on their mind, rather than trying to close the sale.
How can you approach your prospect when you know their avoiding you?
Something important has to shift in your mind first:
You need to be able accept there is a 50% chance the sale may not happen, rather than having your mindset locked into “making the sale” being the only outcome.
Why do you need to learn to “let go” of the sale at this point?
Because if you approach your prospect while hoping the sale will materialize, you introduce sales pressure to the relationship. Sales pressure pushes your prospects away from you and breaks any trust you may have developed with them.
Instead, you can eliminate all sales pressure by telling them that you’re okay with their decision if they decide not to move forward, which is something you can assume based on their not having called you back.
In other words, take a step backward rather than trying to move things forward.
When you’re chasing a vanishing prospect with calls and messages trying to move the sale forward, you’re following the old mindset of chasing the sale. You’re focusing on getting a “yes”, without know the real truth of their situation.
The solution is to let go of the end goal and start focusing on learning the truth of where you stand with your prospect and being ok with what the truth might be.
Read that a few times, and let it sink in.
You haven’t lost the sale. You just don’t know the truth yet. And all you have to do is call back and find that out. This puts you solidly back into a place where you can make a decision to let the prospect go, or re-look at how you can meet their needs.
Here are 4 very important reasons to make the shift to this new mindset so you don’t start to lose your confidence in your selling ability:
In the old sales mindset, when a client suddenly disappears, we start blaming ourselves. We don’t know where we stand with our prospect, and this state of limbo becomes really painful. Our self-talk is negative and full of self-blame. We’re on pins and needles, wondering whether the sale will come through.
Anxiety and fear settle in, because we’re in limbo and we don’t know the truth of the situation.
How do you get the truth? By looking for it, rather than looking for the sale.
When you’re looking for the truth, your prospect knows you’re okay with either a “yes” or “no.” You’re essentially asking, “What’s the truth?” Rather than, “What can I do to rescue the sale?”
So, the next time you’re wondering if you’ve lost the sale, stop and recognize you may have fallen into that old trap of focusing on the sale. And start re-focusing on the truth instead. Remember that all you really want is the truth of where your prospect stands.