Salespeople already know that appointments where one of the decision makers is absent from the discussion are called one-legger presentations. I’ve written and spoken early and often that sellers should do everything possible to identify all the players and then make every attempt to schedule appointments when all these folks can attend. This minimizes one-legger presentations and maximizes selling success.
Recently I heard a very successful career salesperson express his perspective that he doesn’t wig-out when he’s forced to propose to one-leggers. His perspective related back to the way he was raised as a child, where he was used to his mother making virtually all the business decisions for his family.
He recounted that when making purchase decisions, the only time she said she needed to talk to her husband was when she had no intention of buying what was being discussed. From those experiences he feels it’s very natural that in traditional households more times than not the female handles the financial affairs.
Those comments piqued my interest because I realize that “attitude is everything,” and that includes one’s mindset on one-leggers too. That tells me that a sales rep who admits he would divorce his wife if she spends any money without asking, probably will have trouble selling something to female one-leggers.
So the bottom line is, even when a one-legger balks, by stating a need to talk it over with somebody, they can still be closed as long as they want what you’re selling.
Roughly half the time you will be told they can’t make the decision alone, and that the other decider is unable to be reached at that time. Realistically, when you hear a response like that, it doesn’t add up. If the product or service being discussed is really important to that family, wouldn’t you think the other decider would find a way to be available to weigh in, if not in person at least by text message, or on a phone call?
Reality and experience reminds me that when a salesperson doesn’t close the sale on that visit, he or she rarely hears from that prospect again. Truth be told, what that means is the decision WAS made by the person the rep talked to. Apparently the salesperson failed the job interview and wasn’t hired.
If you’re going to win more of these tough encounters, it’s important to recognize that most folks would rather climb a tree and tell you a lie than stand on the ground and tell you the truth. Most are four-square against a face-to-face confrontation, so quit buying into this smokescreen or you will join the ranks of the unpaid entertainers.
Here’s the deal. In order to get decider #1 to verbalize their opinion of your proposal, why not just ask how they feel about it, or what they plan to tell decider #2 when he/she returns?
If the decider you’re in front of wants what you’re recommending, give him/her a little sales coaching. Remind them of several benefits they should recite to their other half.
If they are willing to call their spouse and have you talk to him/her, make sure you have asked and received permission to state, “it is okay with him/her if it’s okay with you.”
When you talk to the missing spouse, start by reciting that sentence and you may not need to say much else.
If you do, why not utilize technology and take a photo of your key figures or summary notes and text it to decider #2 so they can discuss it with the spouse over the phone while looking at it, which should really simplify the conversation. Your role then becomes to excuse yourself and step outside to “return calls/respond to messages,” allowing them some privacy.
So, although you’re much better off when both deciders are sitting in front of you (and you should work hard trying to arrange that), don’t give up when that doesn’t happen. Talk to everyone as if they have full decision-making authority, and with the suggestions discussed here, I’m betting you’ll close more sales. Equally gratifying is avoiding some of the accompanying frustration you’ve been experiencing.
“With the publication of ‘Sell is NOT a Four Letter Word,’ Doug has completed a bucket list check-off. With this offering he strives to help salespeople join the ranks of the top 20 percent who seem to always close 80 percent of the sales.” Check out the ToC of this book here. Jim Q. – Leesburg, Ga.
©2018 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC