Every episode of the popular Star Trek television series introduces some kind of threat to the Starship Enterprise. When that threat occurs, Captain Kirk immediately orders “Shields Up” to protect the vessel and minimize any potential damage. The shield even has all kinds of gee-whiz modifications depending on the kind of attack they’re under.
Because of the negative reputation of salespeople, many buyers have developed their own version of “Shields Up” to ward off unwanted sales “attacks.” These responses are meant to keep us at a distance and throw us off the sales trail.
While there are ten different sales shields, deferment is one of the most common:
- “I’ll have to run this by my boss.”
- “I can’t make a decision until I discuss it with my spouse.”
- “Procurement is in charge of this. Give me your number and I’ll have her call you back when she’s available.”
- “Send me some information, and I’ll give it some thought.”
Do any of the above sound familiar? While it’s often true that people need to involve someone else in a buying decision, deferment provides an immediate out and gives people a legitimate excuse or justifiable reason for saying, “Not interested.” It is also a frequent indicator that the individual is not the true economic buyer.
Are you tired of trying to navigate around Sales Shields? So is your team. At your next staff meeting, ask everyone to identify the Sales Shields they encounter most often. Ask everyone to put themselves in the shoes of their prospective customers so they understand how they feel. Acknowledge that your customers are busy and don’t like to be interrupted in the middle of a workday or a rare evening at home.
What would you like to hear that is so gracious, you would be inspired to “take the call” or spend a few minutes finding out more about the salesperson’s offer? What would be a non-invasive outreach you could use that would motivate someone to give you a few moments of his or her valuable time and mind?