“I’m really interested in these three lots fronting the bay. How much are they?” asked Bob.
Stuart thanked his lucky stars that he had decided to cover the office late on Saturday afternoon, which was normally known as the “dead zone” by the rest of the staff. He couldn’t wait to see their faces on Monday.
“Well, each one is the same price, $125,000 apiece. There’s no discount for buying three at the same time. Why do you want three?”
“Back in Connecticut we have ten acres, and we’ve gotten used to not seeing any neighbors. I’d like the same thing here.”
“Well I could appreciate that,” responded Stuart. “We do have owner financing available . . .”
I don’t think we’d need any financing,” said Bob, “Our plan is to sell everything in Connecticut and move here permanently.
“That’s a very enviable position to be in. Tell me, have you looked at these three lots?”
“Yes. Last year when we were down here. Over the winter my wife and I decided to take the next step. What can you tell me about local builders?”
For the next 15 minutes or so, Stuart went through his list of local builders showing Bob pictures of the houses they had built. With each moment that passed, Stuart knew the sale of three lots was a done deal. Never had he met a prospect who was so thorough.
“Well,” said Bob some 40 minutes later, “I’ve taken enough of your time today. Do you have a card with a home number on it so that I could contact you tomorrow? I know it is Sunday, but I’d like to get something going here.”
Stuart kept his hand from shaking with anticipation as he wrote his home number down on the business card. Oh yes, he thought, volunteering for the dead zone was a smart move.
Stuart cancelled his plans for Sunday and spent the entire day waiting by the phone. By one o’clock, he was beginning to wonder. By four o’clock he was getting angry. By seven that night he was wondering if the local fast food place still needed help. He could not figure out what had happened to his done deal.
Every salesperson has experienced the positive prospect who makes all the right sounds and moves and is a sure thing. But then, usually within a few days or at most a week, never comes back. Or, when you call, never seems to be available. You wonder why.
“Just a tire kicker,” is one response.
“Didn’t have anything to do and just came in to waste my time,” is another.
Both of these may be correct. The problem is not so much that this positive “sure thing” didn’t buy, it’s that so much time was wasted for nothing.
There is, of course, the standard salesperson’s response that at least the positive prospect will remember me when he really wants to buy. So the time wasn’t really wasted.
But consider this from the prospect’s point of view. What did Stuart do? He wasted the prospect’s time by allowing the prospect to carry him away on his tide of good feelings. Why would the prospect want to come back in a waste more of his time?
As tempting as it is to go along for the ride of good feelings, you have to stop it. You need to have the prospect understand that your time is valuable and that you are here to do business.
For example, Stuart could have asked, “I appreciate your being interested in three lots; do you have any idea of what the additional taxes are going to cost you for the next five years?”
At this moment, Stuart has interrupted the flow and brought an element of reality into the situation. He has paired what the prospect wants with some point that might cause the prospect to end the sale. If Bob were truly serious, would the taxes really matter?
Positive prospects should always have some minor point or points brought up that could end the sale. This puts you back in control by forcing the prospect to deal with you in a business-like manner.
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