Do you remember hearing this while growing up?
Children are to be seen and not heard.
Just be quiet.
Don’t interrupt me while I am speaking… You are being rude.
Put your hand down… I’m not taking questions right now.
When you hear these criticisms as a child, you quickly internalize this negative feedback. Learning to be quiet while someone is talking may keep you out of “trouble” while growing up, but it will hinder you in becoming an effective prospector in your business.
Getting Off Course
Effectively interrupting a prospect is a skill required to use your time effectively. When you qualify your prospects by asking questions, they may take you off course with their responses. Instead of answering your question… they will tell a story.
As an entrepreneur, you will learn very quickly that if you don’t interrupt your prospect and get him or her back on track, you will lose time and money. A five-minute call turns into a 20 minute drunk-o-logue with no result.
So how do you effectively interrupt a prospect to redirect them back to the answers you are seeking?
It’s really simple. I’m even going to show you what the technique looks like in a prospecting conversation.
Interrupting A Prospect
Since the process of asking questions is designed to have the prospect doing the majority of the talking, your job is to guide the conversation. If your prospect begins to take you off track or give too much information, here’s how to respond.
Politely use their name twice and briefly pause to get their attention. Then redirect them by asking a question. Take a look at this example of a prospect getting caught up emotionally in her story instead of answering the question asked.
Susan: and then my boss came in and yelled at me. I was so upset…
Prospector: Susan… Susan, I hear what you’re saying. What I want to know is, why do you want to own a business?
Susan: Oh… I hate my boss and want to work for myself.
If you notice, I validated that I heard what Susan was saying. Then, I redirected her to get the answer I was seeking.
Now… check out this next example of a prospect telling a story and not answering the question. It’s classic! If you follow my lead, you will be able to get prospects back on track without skipping a beat.
Prospector: Tom, are you ready to get started?
Tom: Well, I am going out of town on Thursday. We are going to visit my wife’s family in Montana. They have a ranch out there and are having a family reunion. I haven’t been on an airplane since…
Prospector: Tom… Tom, do you remember the question I asked you?
Tom: Oh, sorry. What did you ask?
Prospector: Are you ready to get started with our company?
Tom: Yes. I can start as soon as I get back from Montana.
Prospector: Great! I will go ahead and enroll you now. Then we’ll set an appointment to do a walk through of your products and back office for when you return.
Do you see how if I let Tom keep talking he most likely would have rambled on in his story?
5 minutes later I would have to ask the question again because he would never have gotten to the answer. There are 1440 minutes in a day and you never get them back once they are gone. So when you are prospecting, you must learn to be as effective as you can in the block of time you are prospecting.
If you let people talk because you have anxiety about interrupting them… It can mean the difference between connecting with 3 people or 10. It can mean closing 3 sales in a week or closing 1.
Once you put it in perspective, you will see that diplomatically interrupting your prospect is a required skill as a business owner. Let go and release any anxiety you have about being rude. You are not in elementary school anymore. You are in the business world where time is money!