We plan for objections and we plan for resistance, but we often don’t plan for success. This is a big mistake.
Why? Because it is in the moment of “yes” that you can reassure your target he or she has made a wise decision. And from there, you can begin to position yourself for even higher levels of persuasion success.
Five Moment-of-Yes Don’ts
When you hear “yes,” you’ve accomplished your objective. So don’t blow it by falling into one of the following five traps:
1. Don’t immediately reply with an incredulous “Really?!”
A response like that can erode any confidence you’ve already built in your target and make the person second-guess his decision. You don’t want to appear gob-smacked that someone actually believes in your pitch. What should you say? “Excellent.” “Fantastic.” “Smart move.”
2. Don’t keep trying to make your case.
3. Don’t review your target’s concerns.
In other words, don’t say something like this: “Okay, so as you know, with the new project timeline, we should be able to complete the market analysis before we get the new additions to the field team in place and before the new finance programs are approved. All of this is dependent on EPA approval of the new system.” Yikes! Now, all of a sudden, your point-by-point review has made your target nervous, which might make him renege on his commitment. Don’t feel obligated to act as if your target’s concerns are top of mind at this point. You’ve heard those concerns, the target still said “yes” and now both of you can move forward.
4. Don’t be unprepared.
You can’t anticipate every eventuality, but you can plan for some. If, for example, a purchase order needs to be signed, have it with you and ready to go. If you need to call someone to issue a verbal authorization, have the contact’s name and number programmed into your phone. And always have a decent pen with you — just in case you need to write something down. Lack of preparation in the moment of “yes” could lead your target to second-guess the decision he’s just made while also questioning your credibility.
5. Don’t bask in the glow of your success.
When I played baseball as a kid, I was pretty good with the bat. I still vividly remember hitting the ball solidly with my bat’s sweet spot and then standing with pride as that ball sailed into the outfield and over the fence. I did this frequently enough that my coach would announce, “It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t run.” After your target says “yes,” hit the bases. Simply say, “Excellent. We better get to it.” And then start running!
Next time: More ways to respond when you hear “yes.”