We often overlook the importance of capturing the real meaning behind what other people say. For instance, when a wife tells her husband that she’s “tired of her job”, the husband immediately tries to solve the problem by saying “You should quit” or “Get another job”. The thing is, that isn’t what the wife was trying to say.
Or when a kid tells his Mom that he doesn’t want to go to school, the Mom right away concludes that the kid was being lazy or irresponsible, but failed to capture the real possibilities – perhaps he’s sick or being bullied at school?
It’s also a basic problem in telemarketing. When a prospect says “I’m just going around the market looking for good Managed IT services, but we’re not going to get one just yet”, a typical telemarketer would say “Great! Let me discuss to you some features I’m sure you’d love”, and then he’d go straight into details and technicalities.
What he missed is to acknowledge what the prospect really had just said. Although he was “going around the market”, he clearly stated that they are “not going to get one just yet”. A good telemarketer should have at least acknowledged the fact that the prospect is just shopping for information.
A good response would have been: “I understand that you’re still in the early stages of your decision making. Allow me to provide what you need to know to make it easier for you.”The advantage of using that statement is that it makes the prospect feel understood. He is assured that he will not be pushed for a decision because the telemarketer is aware that he’s not buying today.
A telemarketer should also know how to explore and read between the lines. In the scenario given, the prospect said that he was “looking for good Managed IT services”. However, one’s definition of “good” is very subjective, especially for a business. If his company is running short on budget, “good” may refer to a service that’s very affordable. On the other hand, if money is not an issue, then “good” is equated to quality, which means he may be willing to acquire a service despite of a high price.
It would be a grave mistake for a telemarketer to immediately jump into conclusion and assume what his prospect’s priorities are without even probing or analyzing his words. Rather than quickly transitioning to the sales pitch, the telemarketer should have responded with acknowledgment, such as “I hear what you’re saying – we all need to seek what’s best for our business. Tell me, what exactly is your basis for a good IT service?”
If you were the prospect, wouldn’t that sound heavenly to your ears?
The art of acknowledgment requires discipline – you have to resist the urge of jumping into an opportunity as soon as you see it. Breathe. Take time to acknowledge. It’s worth the effort, you’ll see, for it can help you determine what your prospect really needs, instead of having your sales pitch scatter all over the place without really hitting your mark.