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There’s no one right answer

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If your dream clients are dissatisfied, your path to a sale is to help them better understand their needs. But what if your dream clients aren’t dissatisfied? Then your path is to help them become dissatisfied. Either of these two paths may lead to the opportunities you seek.

If a prospect voices an objection (or more precisely a concern) regarding a sale, your right answer might be to show him how to resolve his concern. But another right answer is to ask “What would you need to see in order for this concern to be resolved to your satisfaction?” And yet another right answer might be “Is this a show stopper?” Sometimes what sounds like an objection is actually just a conversation.

If your prospect asks you to lower your price, you may think that the only right answer is to offer a discount. That is an option (even it’s one I don’t like). It may lead to a deal, but it will be a less profitable deal that may jeopardize your results later. Another right answer is to push back against such a request and justify your price by restating the benefits of the investment you are recommending. Believe it or not, pushing back is just as likely to lead you to a deal as discounting. Sometimes prospects just want to be sure they’ve gotten your best offer.

Selling, like all human endeavor, is loaded with variables. As salespeople, we deal with different personalities, different biases, individual preferences, internal politics and, sometimes, a lot of emotional baggage.

What makes some salespeople more successful than others is the ability to quickly figure out which answer is the right one for a given prospect — not the right answer for all occasions, but the right one for this particular situation at this particular time for this particular client in these particular circumstances.

A master in any field of endeavor studies the fundamentals and learns to recognize patterns. Then he employs a more subtle skill, applying his intuition so that he can learn to sense the right answer. This allows the true master hit upon not on the right answer but the best answer for each individual prospect.

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S. Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go


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