Kristina Balfoort / Productivity / January 18th, 2017
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4 Lies Your Prospect Is Telling You (And, How To Overcome Them)

If you’ve ever had a career in sales, you know how much of a rollercoaster it can be. One second, you’re pitching to a prospect– you’re excited, they’re excited– it’s going great! But, once you’re off the phone you get that familiar sinking feeling again: you’ve been lied to.

It’s all too easy to sympathize with that new guy in sales who’s pumped their prospect told them to “call them back later.” You’re sympathizing because the new sales guy hasn’t realized the all too common lies prospects tell salespeople so they leave prospects alone.

Check out the four most common lies salespeople face and the most effective ways to overcome them (with confidence).


1. “Send me an email, I’ll do this later.”

I have a shorter sales cycle which results in me being on the receiving end of this lie quite frequently. I spend time speaking with my prospect, building value around my product, and I even get in contact with the decision maker. It seems everything is going smoothly!

The prospect asks that you send them the info to enroll in or buy service or product so they can do it later. Suddenly, the prospect disappears without a trace. You send them email after email, phone call after phone call to no avail.

If you’ve had this happen to you before, you understand the disappointment of a potential deal that slipped through the cracks.

Where did you go wrong?

If all previous communication has gone as well as you thought, then why aren’t you just asking for the sale right there on the phone?

I speak from experience on this. It’s much easier to get the sale finalized right there and then rather than turning over the control to the prospect. The majority of the power is already in the prospect’s hands, but you have the ability to direct when your client buys.

What if your prospect pushed back claiming they’re about to run into another meeting? Book another appointment. Get yourself back on their calendar so you can finalize and review the purchase together. Keep in mind that your sense of urgency will not match that of the prospect.


2. “I know what it’s like to be in sales, so I’ll be sure to let you know either way.”

If I’m being honest, this lie from prospects bothers me the most. The prospect flat out admits they understand the pain of a salesperson and they will reach out to you whether they plan on moving forward are not– but, then you never hear from them again.

This exact scenario happened to me recently. I gave my sales pitch and clearly laid out the next steps to the prospect. Then, the prospect said he needed to run it by his manager, but he would let me know either way because “he knows what it’s like.” He asked me to shoot him a follow up email with more information. I sent him several emails (and calls), but never heard back. 

So, what’s the next step?

I blindly trusted this prospect because he claimed he was a fellow salesperson. Instead I should have replied with, “I appreciate that. Seeing as you aren’t the decision maker, is your manager available now for a call? If not, what I’d like to do is set up a follow up meeting with you and your boss. How does same time tomorrow work?”

The reality is you need to speak with the decision maker if you are going to stand any chance of closing your sale. You don’t want someone else relaying your product based on a 10 minute discovery call and quick follow-up email.

If the prospect isn’t sure of his manager’s availability, ask for the manager’s email address. Then, send an email to both and suggest some alternative times. If you don’t catch the email address, at least make certain you get the decision maker’s name. There are plenty of tools out there to help you find contact information.


3. “Maybe in a few months. Hit me up next quarter.”

Your prospect replies to an email because they want to learn more about your product– yay! Once you have the prospect on the line, you’re able to give a convincing sales pitch. Then, the prospect hits you with “maybe in a few months” or “hit me up in next quarter.”

This is frustrating because these types of sentiments typically end up being untrue. It makes you wonder why they’re putting off starting something they showed genuine interest in?

How do you handle these kinds of statements?

By pushing you off, your prospect is essentially telling you that you didn’t do a good enough job communicating your product and creating urgency. When you get this objection, ask deeper questions to uncover the truth behind the prospect’s postponement. If this doesn’t give you the knowledge to convince your prospect, then you didn’t do your job as a salesperson!

The most important aspect of being a salesperson is to listen. Then, ask follow-up questions about your prospects’ company until you’ve gathered enough evidence to build a case as to why your prospect needs your product or service.

Describing and going into detail about the features of what you’re selling isn’t going to get you any closer to a sale. You’re just burdening the prospect with too much information and moving further away from closing the sale.


4. “Call me later. I’m about to step into a meeting.”

This is the most common lie I receive from prospects. I’m sure you’ve reached your prospect on the phone, it seems to be going in your favor, but then they hit you with, “I’m about to go into a meeting, can you call me later?” line.

Some prospects will even go as far as giving you a time like “call me back at 4pm today.” I remember that in my first few months in sales this line was music to my ears! My immediate thought was that my prospect wanted me to call them back so they must be interested.

I’d call my prospect back at whatever time or day they requested and would continually get no answer. But, I couldn’t let go of our first conversations where I thought the prospect was interested, so I’d keep these prospects in my sales funnel when I should have let them go.

As I’ve evolved as a salesperson, I realized this line was just another common lie told by prospects. The harsh reality is when a prospect gives you an exact time to call back, it amounts to the perfect opportunity for the prospect to ignore your expected call.

So, how do you overcome this prospect lie?

Suggest a calendar invite on your initial call. Most people operate around their calendar. This way, you have tangible proof of setting up a meeting time. (Check out why you should always suggest 15 minute meetings here).

Use your prospect’s own words to book an appointment: “I understand someone in your position is extremely busy. Since I caught you right as you were about to walk into a meeting here is what I am going to do. I’ll send over a 15-minute calendar invite for 4pm. Just want to double check I have the correct email address?”

I like this approach because its worst-case scenario is only receiving a confirmation of the prospect’s email address (which you can later incorporate into a cadence to get the prospect on the line another time). And, the best case scenario is obviously the prospect taking the appointment and adding it to their calendar!

It’s easy to become frustrated in sales. But, at the end of the day you’ve got to have fun with it and strive for continuous reflection and (ultimately) improvement.

I hope you can use some of these suggestions to overcome the dreaded lies prospects tell salespeople. Do you constantly get other common prospect lies or have a favorite story? Share in the comments below!

What’s in your sales stack?