THE FIVE STEPS OF PENETRATION SELLING®
STEP TWO: OPENING
Penetrating the Prospect’s Reluctance to Communicate
By Harry Frisch
Once your prospect is “located”, the Prospecting step is complete and you are ready to begin the “Opening” step.
In Penetration Selling, Opening is defined as getting the prospect into open, trusting communication. That is to say, getting the prospect willing to communicate openly and honestly with his salesperson.
In order to successfully lead your prospect through the final three steps of the sales process, which will hopefully culminate in a completed sale, it is essential for the prospect to have enough trust in his salesperson to give the salesperson the data he asks for, and to give it to him accurately. And so, it is crucial for a prospect to be properly opened, before the salesperson leads the prospect into the final steps of the sales process.
The key barrier you will need to penetrate, in order to open your prospect, is the general tendency for many, if not most, people to resist open communication with someone they have not grown to know and trust over a reasonably long period of time. And even more so if the person asking them questions is a salesperson they just barely met!
We often hear a salesperson starting off with the ill-advised opening question, “May I help you?”, which is too often answered by a reluctant prospect’s “No thanks. Just looking.”
In Penetration Selling, we learn that it is not only what is said to the prospect that determines how quickly and thoroughly the prospect will open, but how and when it is said, as well.
Among the keys to penetrating the prospect’s tendency to resist getting into honest, open communication with his salesperson is the answer to the question: What do you do next, when the prospect resists the salesperson’s attempt?
In Penetration Selling, if the prospect resists going into open communication, the salesperson … lets him resist! The salesperson, allowing the resistance, thus acknowledges the prospect’s right to refuse communication…and then, at the first appropriate opportunity the salesperson can create, the salesperson re-approaches the prospect and again attempts to open him.
There are many ways to go wrong in attempting to open a prospect, which will, almost all, result in the prospect having more resistance than ever to being opened -- thus delaying, or altogether blocking, the sale from moving forward.
The good news is that there is a simple formula -- so workable, that when implemented, opening becomes a fairly effortless endeavor.
The keystone of effective opening, guaranteed to penetrate a prospect’s resistance, and put him into immediate, honest communication with his salesperson, is for the salesperson to sincerely demonstrate himself as a person who is:
- Safe, and
The precise rules of how-to demonstrate oneself as Helpful, Interested, Safe and Caring are thoroughly covered within the Penetration Selling system (as fully detailed in the book, HOW TO SELL – Clear and Simple; www.HowToSellClearAndSimple.com).
Once the prospect gives a sure sign that he is now willing to communicate openly with his salesperson, the opening step should be considered complete and the salesperson should move the selling process forward.