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The Power of the Anxiety Question

Many selling situations exist where anxiety can be a powerful tool.  

In general terms, it can be applied anytime a prospect will not engage with you, whether it's during your prospecting attempts, trying to get a return phone call, or, most importantly, closing the opportunity.

You have a prospect that has gone through all of the motions with you. They have confirmed that you are the best solution, agreed that you can impact their business and their personal agenda, had buy-in from the right people in their organization, and have seen all the proof they need to make an informed decision.

Yet they find a reason to stall.

The idea is to get the prospect to consider the impact to them if they don't take action.  A compelling anxiety question is created using what you know that prospect cares about personally.

Here are some examples:

  • What's the cost of not taking action now?
  • What happens if you don't start reducing costs this year?
  • What's the impact to you if the cost management initiative is delayed?
  • Are you confident that you will be able to support management's 35% annual growth plan without impacting costs?
  • Do you feel there is any connection between your current capabilities and your lower profits?

In the two seconds it takes a prospect to consider your anxiety question, they make a journey that brings them to a place where they can recognize their own personal motivation for taking action or not.

Put yourself in your prospect's shoes.  If someone asks you one of these questions, what thoughts run through your mind?

Remember that an anxiety question is intended to prod person into action.  

However, it's something to use when you need it, and not in every interaction.  So be careful not to overuse this tactic.

Avoiding Sales Calls Accidents 

A sales call shouldn't be something that happens by accident; it should be a planned event.  When sales calls aren't planned, they often result in wasted time and effort, resulting in a no sale. 

Setting Sales Call Goals.  Before you pick up the telephone to make a sales call or approach a prospect, you should be setting a sales call goal.  Each call should have a specific purpose, desired outcome, or intended result. 

"What do I want to happen as result of this call?"

"What do I want the prospect to do as a result of this call?”

Is there a series of questions you can give to your salespeople in your next sales meeting that'll help them determine whether they truly understand their prospects' and clients' wants: for example

Do I understand what this prospect truly wants?

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