What is "Going Negative"? How do you do it? When do you do it?
I've been coaching a group of salespeople three times a week for the past few weeks. On Tuesday, one of the salespeople asked me about going negative and asked if I could show him and the group how to do it. I did. On Wednesday's call, two others asked. So, we spent about half of the call role playng various situations where going negative was appropriate. You can only do so much in one call. So, I promised to follow up with a few scenarios that we did not cover. Enjoy the scenarios, but don't miss the warning (or the offer) at the end.
If you've been following for a while, you know that I'm big on asking questions. Consequently, my most popular download is My Best Sales Questions. I also teach a concept about questions marks and periods that I'm not going to go into here, but ties into both effective questioning and going negative. So, here's a few scenarios.
Them: "My boss suggested that I check out your offering."
You: "But, you've got a lot of other, more important things that you could be doing."
Them: "Pete told me a lot of great things about you."
You: "Seriously. Doesn't Pete say nice things about everybody?"
Them: "I'm thinking that this will be a great addition to our repertoire."
Them: "I don't see this as a priority this quarter."
You: "So, go away? Don't call me. I'll call you?"
Them: "My boss hasn't shared that information with me."
You: "And you don't want to know what the answers are."
Here's a few more.
You call. They answer. You say, "Uh oh! Sounds like I got you right in the middle of something big."
or "Sounds like this might be a bad time."
You and your prospect have been talking for a while and nothing's clicking. Try this, "I hope that I can be straightforward. You and I have been talking for a while and normally, by this point in the conversation, I normally start to feel something. You know, maybe we've got some good questions and answers going. It's like the conversation is flowing rather than forced. I'm not feeling any of that. You too?"
At closing time, the prospect tells you, "Everything's great. I just need to think about it over the weekend. Call me on Tuesday and we'll get it done." Try this, "Oh baloney!" (Wait for a response or not.) Then say, "I've had the opportunity to work with some really old, really experienced salespeople and they told me that when somebody says that they'll think about it or call me later, what they're really saying is I'm not buying, but I don't want to tell you to your face. So, they send you away. Don't take your calls and you'll never speak to them again. I asked, 'They're lying?' No, they're not lying. Essentially, they're missing a piece of information that you skipped during your conversation with them. So, essentially, it's your fault. Apologize to them for messing up, especially if they're a good fit and say good bye. Figure out what you skipped and don't ever mess up like that again."
Them: "That's not it at all."
You: "Thanks for trying to save my feelings, but it's OK. I haven't messed up like this in a l-o-n-g time. I'll figure out what I skipped and make sure that I fix it for next time, but there's nothing that I can do for you. Sorry. I apologize for wasting your time. Good bye."
Warning: First, "negative" does not mean be negative. It's also not reverse psychology. It refers to negative pressure. As in removing all pressure to move in the direction that they might think you want them to move. Do not act like the world is coming to an end. Do not be pessimistic. Just remove all pressure from the prospect. Second, this is not a trick, tactic or technique. It's the recognition and statement of something that may very well be true and giving the prospect permission to be honest with you. If your comment is not true, they will tell you what is true. If your comment is true, they will confirm and suggest solutions. BTW, overuse lessens effectiveness. So, mix it up with questions, factoids, etc.
Offer: if you've never experienced worked with a coach to role play real time situations, work toward your personal goals rather than their company goals, or tailor main stream processes to your personality and abilities, grab some of your friends and check out what others think.