Reps who can create relationships and develop trust are thriving in today’s sales environment. They know their customers and prospects extremely well, and have discussions that go beyond work and the service they provide.
But sales reps sometimes encounter folks who aren’t as honest about their business as they need to be. And when a prospect isn’t totally honest, it makes it difficult for the salesperson to create a solution that truly caters to their needs.
Obviously, you can’t accuse your buyer of lying. So what should you do?
If you suspect your prospect isn’t giving you all the information you need to be successful, there’s a science-backed way to try and get the real scoop from this person -- and it starts with being an early riser.
As the hours pass, our tendency towards deception becomes more powerful. Why? As our day goes on, we become tired, and our ability to make clear decisions gets worse as our willpower weakens. Instead of saying no to that fourth cup of coffee, for example, we have it because we just don’t have the power to resist.
Now, let’s take this concept and apply it to sales. If your prospect has had a long day, their willpower is lower than it normally is, and the idea of answering qualification questions (and providing 100% accurate answers) is too much to handle.
Want to get the whole truth and nothing but the truth from your buyers? Consider implementing the following two steps.
1) Schedule your next call or meeting early in the morning.
The best time to get prospects on the phone is early in the morning. A prospect’s willpower is likely at their best during the early morning hours and the odds of a completely honest conversation are the highest they will be all day.
Use this statistic to your advantage, and strive to set up meetings or conduct calls when your prospect first gets into their office. An easy way to do this is to send a list of times that work for you -- all between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.
2) Prepare the right questions.
Sales reps need accurate information in order to solve their prospects' problems. Some of this information might be personal or embarrassing to admit, so sharing it is difficult for certain prospects. But if you’re able to get your buyer on the phone early in the morning, it might just be easier for them to cop to their mistakes or shortcomings and provide totally honest answers.
What are your goals for this project five years from now?
Our service is X dollars per month; can you afford that?
What challenges do you come across every day?
How does this problem affect you personally?
Questions like these allow you to dive deeper into the business and better understand how to help the buyer.
The ability to create strong relationships, even with reticent or difficult prospects, is the number one talent of a great salesperson. If you’re struggling with getting the right information from a prospect, schedule an early call. You might just find that the rising sun can act as a powerful truth serum.
Originally published Nov 5, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated June 11 2021