Elaine recently took over the Denmark territory for General Armor. Today she’s visiting her prospect, the CEO of Elsinore Inc.
Frankly, Elaine can’t figure out how this Hamlet guy got the top job at Elsinore, because he can’t make a decision to save his life. He was all set to order new chain mail for his knights, but now he’s waffling.
“To buy or not to buy? That is the question,” Hamlet muses, while Elaine looks at her watch. “Our cash flow is down this quarter, and the economy’s not looking so good, and my mother says chain mail is practically obsolete. Oh, to die, to sleep – and thereby avoid choosing the wrong course of action! Oh me! Oh my!”
Oh come on already, Elaine’s thinking. She needs this sale, and she needs it now, before she catches pneumonia in this damp and dreary castle.
So what should Elaine do? Should she:
- Give Hamlet a firm boot in the breastplate to get him to focus?
- Warn him that the price of chain mail is going up fast, and he should act now to lock in the price?
- Ask him, “What will it take to get you into a new suit of chain mail today?”
- Remain calm?
The correct answer: Remain calm. Hamlet is hesitating because he’s anxious. His anxiety is making Elaine anxious. And if she projects that anxiety back to Hamlet, he’s just going to get even more anxious.
Her best bet for winning this sale is to help Hamlet manage his anxiety. She might say, for example, “Your highness, I understand. This is a big decision. Of course you want to make sure it’s the right one. So let’s revisit what you told me earlier about why your knights need better armor…”
This type of anxiety – purchase anxiety – is common in high-stakes sales. Fortunately, it’s a temporary condition. With the right approach, you can help your buyer deal with it and move on. But if you allow your buyer’s anxiety to infect you, it could escalate and derail the sale.
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