I received an email today from a salesman asking how I would deal with a customer who says they are not interested.
Redirecting Thoughts, NLP Techniques for Sales
The process outlined below has a huge number of applications and is easiest to explain in this sales context, so whilst I am going to give a number of examples of how to deal with the situation you will have think through your approach for other contexts.
Setting the Scene
Assuming that the product has a massive benefit for the customer in my over simplified world there is only one reason why the customer is saying that they are not interested. This will be because they have not engaged in what the sales person is saying.
This will happen because the prospect is running a different train of thought. In even more simple terms they are thinking about something else, they might already have preconceptions about the product, if this is a phone call they may have been engaged in something else or waiting for a different call or other things might have a higher priority.
Your objective at this point is to redirect the prospect’s thoughts from what they were thinking about to focusing on the thing you are offering. In short you will interrupt the prospect’s current pattern and redirect them to another path. Here are a few ways of doing this.
Before getting into the guts of the examples there are a couple of things that are worth considering. Firstly all these examples need a level of rapport, some more than others. Rapport is outside the scope of this article but I have written numerous articles that you can access about various rapport techniques.
The second thing to notice is that if you want to fix people down a new direction then the easiest way to get them there is to ask them a question that leads them in that direction. Although you also need to note that this only works if they engage with the question, this means that often you will have to break them out of their original train of thought.
With these ideas in mind, here are a few ways of dealing with the, “I’m not interested” objection.
Straight Forward Approach – Ask
Just ask the question, “Why?” or, more specifically, “Why are you not interested?” This needs to be handled with care as it can sound accusatory so you need some level of rapport.
If they give you any reasons you can start to counter them and engage them in a conversation. Obviously my favourite response to any reasons that they give would be a redefine, “The issue is not the reason you just gave but the massive benefit you will get from the product, let’s talk about what you can get from the product.”
If the prospect declines to give any reasons, asks you why you are asking or anything of this nature you have an opportunity. Our response would be something like, “I am asking the question because you can get (outline the big benefits of the product) and most people are really interested in what they can get. What would be the most useful of these benefits for you?” Have you already realised how I have redirected the prospect to discussing the benefits they are getting from the product in one move?
This is a slightly less adversarial approach that is useful if you don’t have much rapport with the prospect. The first thing to do is to acknowledge that they are not interested. This builds rapport and breaks their expectation; normally they would be expecting you to try and counter the lack of interest.
Once you have built agreement you supply a reason for their lack of interest and move them into reasons for getting interested. Here is how the pattern would look:
“That’s right, you are not interested yet (the “yet” presupposes that they will be in the future), that’s because I have not told you about XYZ benefits that you will get from this product. Which one between X, Y and Z benefits will be the one that you are most interested in?”
Presuppositional NLP Questions
Here is another approach I like because you can get some very useful information from the prospect. The question is, “What would you have to get from the product for you to be interested?” I like this approach because if the product will give your prospect the thing s/he is looking for then you have the sale, they just might not know it at this point.
Putting an agreement frame in before asking the question makes it even more effective. This would make the question look like, “I can see you are not interested yet, what does the product have to do for you to be interested?”
A True Pattern Interrupt
This next approach needs to be used with caution as it is a real pattern interrupt and works on completely breaking rapport. That said it is very powerful as it forces the prospect to ask questions.
When the prospect says that they are not interested just respond by saying, “Interesting” and then laugh out loud at them. The prospect is almost guaranteed to ask you why you are laughing. Your response needs to be something like, “You get X,Y and Z benefits from this product, people are fighting to get hold of it and you are not interested?”
At this point a good pause will get the customer to ask questions about the product. This approach is good for sales people that are chatty, outgoing and like building drama.
A variation and slightly more gentle approach is one that I am known for. I start with a phrase like, “I just need to check that I understand this properly. I think what you are telling me is…” I then state the benefits in a massive and compelling way, ending with, “but you don’t want that?” For example:
“Can I check I have understood this properly? If someone stood outside you house and posted five pound notes through your letterbox for ten hours a day you would not want this?” When they say of course they would want this I have the opportunity to say something like, “Well let me show you how this product can at least make you that amount of money although you will have to post them through your letterbox yourself.”
What if I am not in sales?
We have taken some basic hypnotic language tools and applied them to a particular context i.e. one specific objection in a sales process. With a little thought you can find other areas where you can use these ideas. For more ideas of how to apply Hypnotic Persuasion principles to your life click through and read about this course: