When dealing with affluent prospects, decisions are rarely made in isolation. In most scenarios, there will be a joint decision-maker dynamic. This could be spouses, a parent and child, etc. Even if one person seems more involved in the process, he or she can rarely make a final decision without input from the other party.
Thus, throughout the sales process it’s important to have all decision-makers involved. The goal is to develop rapport and ensure they’re both active participants in the discussions. Essentially, joint participation helps to avoid the inevitable “let me run it by my spouse” stall.
Now, think about this as it’s related to your proposal meetings. Joint decision-makers will typically need to privately discuss your solution before moving forward. You could tell them to go home and think about it, but that’s not what we’d typically recommend. After all, you’ve just presented your proposal and this is the peak influential moment. So why not give them the space to discuss it when they’re actually in your office?
So, after you’ve presented your proposal to prospects, attempt to get an immediate decision by strategically excusing yourself. You heard us right. We want you to actually leave the room for five minutes. The idea is to give your prospects an opportunity to talk privately. It’s that simple. You might say:
- I want to print out a copy of this for you. Just give me a few minutes.
- I need to check with [team member] about something. Do you mind if I step out real quick?
That five minutes gives all parties a chance to discuss their true feelings and potentially come to a decision. They may discuss things such as:
- If they’re ready to move forward or not
- Any concerns with the proposal
- Any unanswered questions
Although you won’t always re-enter the room to committed new clients, you will often find that the prospects are more certain about the direction they want to take. They’re also more likely to openly discuss any concerns or questions because they have just reconfirmed these thoughts with the other party. Thus, it’s a great time for you to ask for feedback or any questions.
Overall, with regular use of this technique, you should encounter fewer prospects who say “we want to think about it.” Oftentimes they’ll instead say some iteration of “We had a chance to talk briefly. What are the next steps?”
@StephenBoswell is President of The Oechsli Institute and author of Best Practices of Elite Advisors. @KevinANichols is the Chief Operating Officer for The Oechsli Institute and author of The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors.