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The Ruby Group | Akron and Columbus, OH

Have you ever walked out of a meeting wondering, “What in the world just happened?” Just like the “Who’s on First Base” skit from years ago, two people were in the same room, saying and hearing the same words, but both were in completely different worlds!

You asked a bunch of questions; the prospect shared some answers; you talked about her pain, how it’s impacting her personally, and what should be done to address that problem.

All seemed well, until you walked out the door or got back to your desk (feeling pretty good about the meeting), and then it hits you: There was no real decision made. Did I just close that deal or lose it? What do I do now?

You made some great points. She said she liked what she heard. You know your product can help her. She agreed. And, as you shook hands on your way out, she said to expect a call from her soon.

In Sandler, we call this “mutual mystification.”

It’s the idea that both parties are not on the same page. By agreeing and showing positive affirmation toward your presentation, you took that as a “yes” and got excited about moving forward. And, while she certainly agreed with many of your points, when she said she’d call soon, she was basically saying she needed a little time to digest everything you discussed, and likely had to talk with a couple people at the office before making a decision.

See how there can be two totally different perceptions of a single conversation?

Mutual mystification can be stopped.

In order to eliminate mutual mystification, it’s essential to do one or more of the following:

1.Set an Up-Front Contract and stick with it.
An Up-Front Contract is an agreement made at the beginning of a call or meeting that addresses four primary concerns:
           a.Purpose – what is the purpose of the call/meeting?
           b.Prospect’s agenda – what does your prospect expect/need to address?
           c.Your agenda – what would you like to get out of the call?
           d.Defined outcome – there are three options here: Yes, No, or a Clear Future. Yes and No are
              pretty straightforward. We’ll address clear future in action #3 below.

2.Repeat. Clarify. Confirm.
When the prospect says something that has the potential to create mutual mystification, it’s your job to “de-mystify” it. You can do this by repeating what you heard her say, clarifying the statement in your own words, and then confirming that you’re on the same page.

3.Set a “clear future” as the next step.
As referenced in the Up-Front Contract, defining a clear future is critical. It’s something you lay the foundation for initially in the Up-Front Contract, but then, when it comes time to actually discuss next steps, a clear future must be set and agreed upon by both parties. “Give me a call next week,” is not a clear future...that’s a foggy future! “Let’s schedule a call for Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 so we can answer any questions you have and discuss how to move forward,” is a clear future.

You’ve got to know Who’s on first base.

The trap of mutual mystification can be an easy one to fall into; but if you’re looking out for it, you can overcome it.

If you’re not sure Who’s on first base, take a step back and confirm Who’s on first base.

Thank you to Matt White for sharing. Matt is the owner of JoltCMS where he helps businesses help their customers.

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