Success Secret #5

How do you know when it’s OK to break the rules when you’re selling? How do you know that the prospect is asking the real question? How do you know that the prospect is telling the truth?

How about some examples?

So, I ask the receptionist, “Is Paul in?”. She asks, “Who may I say is calling?” I say, “Rick Roberge from David Kurlan & Associates.” She asks, “What is this about?” I say, “Sales development.” She says, “We’re all set.” and hangs up.

Or, I can follow the rules and do this: “Hi, this is Rick Roberge, is Paul in?” She asks, “Where are you calling from?” I say, “Westboro.” She says, “Hold on.” She comes back and says, “He picked up a call before she could get to him.” I asked, should I leave my number with you, or go to voicemail.” She says, “I’ll take it.” I give my name and number (no company). She asks, “May I tell him what this is about?” I reply, “I wish I knew. Hopefully he’ll be able to help when he calls.”

In case you don’t believe this, Pete Caputa, Paul LaFlamme and Steve Crowe watched it happen and heard both sides of the conversation. Incidentally, my target, Paul, the managing partner of a good size CPA firm called back 2 hours later.

In the first hypothetical but very realistic example, I didn’t follow the rules and I was dead in the water. In the second, I was in control, and got my phone call returned. I don’t have to answer the receptionist’s questions just because she asked them. I’m calling to talk to her boss and it’s er job to put me through.

The rules say to ask questions, get a compelling reason and create urgency. If your prospect says, “Hey, I’m short on time. Let’s get right to it. What can you do for me?” The rules don’t change. You can either follow them or ignore them. But if you ignore them, you run the risk of hearing, “That was nice, but we don’t need it.”

The rules say to get the prospect’s budget. If you don’t get their budget, be prepared for, “Oh, we didn’t figure on that. We don’t have that in our budget.”

So, back to the question, “How do you know when it’s OK to break the rules when you’re selling?” Maybe never, but definitely not TODAY. The rules are designed to keep you in control. If you break the rules, you run the risk of handing control over to the prospect. If you do, whose agenda rules? Whose system will get used? Who gets to ask about money? Who’s gonna control price, timeline, etc. The prospect.

So, when do you break the rules? Never or not today. You pick.

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