When Being Negative is Positive

I’ve written before about the benefits of getting to ‘no’ quickly. As I wrote in my last blog, the more no’s you hear, the closer you get to ‘yes.’ But you may have challenging prospects that thwart your efforts. For example, they drag their feet on making a decision, or they don’t give you much feedback, or they repeatedly reschedule meetings. A Sandler Selling Systems technique called “Negative Reverse Selling” may help.

In Negative Reverse Selling, you do the opposite of what a prospect expects. This changes the pace of the conversation and may help you uncover information that you might not have discovered otherwise.

Here’s a cold calling example: during an initial call, the prospect requests that you send them information via email. The normal approach would be to agree to send it right away.

Using Negative Reverse Selling, your response might be, “Sure, I’m happy to send it to you, but I’ve noticed that often when I’m asked to send information, it’s because the person wants to end the discussion without hurting my feelings. I will understand if this is the case –  but is this what is really happening here?”

In this scenario, the client expects that you’ll send them the information and end the call. They don’t expect you to ask about their motivations. In response, they may admit that they aren’t interested at this time. Then you can thank them and move on. Alternatively, they may confirm they’re interested but you’ve caught them at a bad time.

Negative reverse selling has three key elements. In the first – the ‘build up,’ you make a positive statement about their comment. In the second, ‘the takeaway,’ you share an observation about that comment.  In the third element, you ask a ‘question’ to confirm whether your observation is correct.  See the breakdown below:

Element Definition Example
The build up Make a positive statement about their comment or request. “Sure I’ll send this…
The takeaway Sharing an observation based on your experience. but often when someone asks, they are trying to politely end the call. I understand if this is the case,
The Question Test to see if you are drawing the right conclusion. but is this what’s happening now?”

This is an advanced sales technique that could be of use in a variety of situations. If you choose to use it you’ll need to practice and apply it strategically. This is not an approach to use for the first time in a high-stakes sale.

At One of a Kind Sales, we are experts at sales and cold calling.  We have many techniques in our “sales toolbox” to navigate through the selling process.  If you need help generating qualified leads for your business or you have a sales team that is not as efficient as you’d like, call us at 908-879-2911 to learn more about our services.  Consultations are complementary.