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Calling Your Prospect Out

Calling Your Prospect Out

You’re meeting with a prospect and something doesn’t feel right.  You can feel their reluctance.  Maybe you get the sense they’re holding back information, maybe they answered a question oddly. 

But the feeling comes and goes in a flash.  We might feel the discomfort but typically push forward and finish the meeting.  The prospect then requests that we follow up in a few weeks, so we do, but we never hear anything back.  Sound familiar?

It’s common.  Of course not everyone wants to do business with us.  But even when we notice that something is not right with our prospect we rarely talk about it.  The mystery is suppressed – we never let it come up for air.  But what if we responded with our gut instinct?  What if you not only recognized the feeling, but brought it out in the open.  When you feel it, say it.

The next time you are in a meeting and get this feeling, talk about it with your prospect. What?  You mean… call the prospect out on their hesitancy? Their reluctance? Their lack of enthusiasm? Yes!  But you must do it in the nicest way possible.   How you segue into this conversation is a delicate task.   You might say…

“Mr. Prospect, we get different reactions from people during our fit meeting process.  Sometimes people are outwardly excited about moving forward with us, and at times others are not.  I get the feeling that you may not be as excited about the idea of working with us as you were a few weeks ago.  Am I off-base?”

While this may feel like a gutsy move on your part, the result can be fruitful.  You will typically get one of two reactions:

  1. The prospect agrees with you.  When this happens, you now have permission to explore WHY they are feeling this way and get to the underlying reason for their hesitancy. This is great!  Knowing what is truly holding the prospect back is half the battle.  Perhaps it’s a timing issue.  Maybe they aren’t clear on your fee structure.  Maybe a loved one recently passed and they are unable to focus.  Regardless, you need to know!
  2. The prospect disagrees with you and you can now proceed confidently.  

The bottom line is to trust your gut.  And if you are armed with the right language, you can easily get to the real issue.   


Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are thought-leaders and coaches with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry.  @StephenBoswell  @KevinANichols

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