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Decoding the Secret Language of Prospects

Posted Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at 6:41 PM

Let's face it. Prospects have a language of their own. Sometimes they say one thing when they really mean another. Shocking, right? The language differences between sellers and buyers are akin to those between men and women -- often worlds apart. Fortunately, prospects have a few go-to responses that, once decoded, will put you on an even playing field.

"I'm happy with our current provider." Translation: "You haven't piqued my interest enough to get me to consider shifting from my comfortable surroundings to unknown territory."

"It's not in the budget." Translation: "I could afford it if the return were there; you just haven't demonstrated enough value yet to justify the price you've set."

"Send me more information." Translation: "I'm stalling. I don't really see the value in what you're proposing yet; I just don't have the courage to tell you."

"I need to talk it over with ABC." Translation: Either, "I don't have the authority to make this decision on my own," or more commonly, "I'm just stalling because I'm not quite sold on the value proposition, and I'm using someone else as the scapegoat."

"Call me back in a few months." Translation: "I'm going to tell you to call me back, but I intend to screen you like bugs in the summer. Don't count on reaching me anytime soon!"

"I need to think it over/sleep on it." Translation: "I'm still a bit uneasy and want to get some reinforcement from my inner circle before I say yes."

"I'll have to look at the numbers." Translation: "I might be interested but I choked on the budget you put forward and have to think about how to negotiate a better deal."

"That's a long commitment." Translation: "I don't know you well enough to trust you just yet. Let's date before we get married."

Bottom line -- when a prospect speaks in code, they're stalling. It means they aren't quite ready to share their real objection so as not to hurt your feelings, because they are embarrassed, or because they are anxious about telling you the truth.

While these translations don't hold true 100 percent of the time, more commonly than not, they are accurate. To determine their true meaning, hold your ground and dig a bit more deeply with your prospects -- ultimately reaching the real root of the objection.

Check back next week for a practical guide for overcoming these common sales objections and closing more business.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing in Memphis, TN, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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Lori Turner-Wilson
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Lori spent over 15 years leading corporate marketing and communications divisions in the financial services, hospitality and franchise restaurant sectors. As Director of Target Marketing for the Hampton Hotels brand of Hilton Hotels Corporation, Lori managed promotional, direct and Web marketing, as well as custom publishing, for the brand's franchise system. In her role as Vice President of Employee Communications and Development for First Horizon National Corporation, she managed the corporation's internal culture initiatives, communications, and employee recognition programs. Other positions held include Sr. Communications Director/Corporate Editor for TCBY Enterprises, Inc., and Vice President of Marketing for First National Banking Company. Lori is a founding sponsor and member of the Board of Directors for LaunchMemphis -- an organization committed to developing an entrepreneurial community in Memphis comprised of investors, entrepreneurs and local organizations. In addition, Lori is on the Board of Directors of the Sales and Marketing Society of the Mid-South and on the Advisory Board for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County. She is a sought-after speaker in the Memphis area, delivering sales and marketing keynote addresses and workshops to organizations like: the Memphis Chapter of the American Advertising Federation, the Sales & Marketing Society of the Mid-South, LaunchMemphis, EmergeMemphis, the Memphis Regional Chamber, the National Association of Women Business Owners, and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Lori holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in addition to having completed the University of Colorado's School of Bank Marketing and Management. She is the recipient of numerous industry awards including local and district Addy's, Communicator awards, and a Telly. She received recognition as one of the Memphis Business Journal's "Top 40 Under 40" recipients in 2009. Lori also served as a contributing ghost writer for the renowned "Complete Idiot's Guide to Guerilla Marketing." Beyond her passions for marketing and dogs of all shapes and sizes, Lori is an avid traveler, runner and foodie.