Last week I talked about what a “maybe” looks like during a conversation.  This week, let’s talk about what it “sounds” like.  While a “maybe” might not be the answer you’re hoping for, it can also give you an additional opportunity to overcome any objections the other person may be having.  The key is to recognize what’s happening and adjust your approach.  At the end of this post I’ll give you an example of how to work with “a maybe” and possibly close the deal.  Here are a few examples of what “maybe(s)” sound like:

  1. They sound nervous:  Have you ever been talking to someone who’s been confident throughout the conversation then all of a sudden they strike you as being insecure?  Chances are you’ve touched on a subject that’s making them uneasy.  Some signs of nerves include halting answers; stammering and/or the appearance of filler words (uh, um, you know, etc.).
  2. They become evasive:  Meaning, your once chatty prospect, whose been answering all your questions without so much as a blink of the eye, suddenly stops answering your questions.  
  3. Heavy sighs:  We’ve all heard this one.  The other person sounds like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders as they answer one of your questions.  When you hear this, you’ll typically also see them either rub their face or the back of their neck and/or become physically deflated.  
  4. They ask to “think about it”:  Don’t panic and don’t read anything into this.  Instead, recognize they want time to think.  This is a great opportunity to ask a (i.e. one) follow up question.  
So now what?

First, remember a “maybe” can still go either way.  My suggestion is to notice when one of the above is happening; think about what you were discussing; and then ask a follow question.  For example, the two of you were just talking about an exchange of money when the prospect sighs heavily.  First, recognize sighing when talking about an exchange of money is normal for a lot of people.  Most folks don’t want to depart with their hard earned cash before thinking things over.  Next, consider asking a follow up question such as, “Fred, I know I’ve given you a lot of information and if you’re like me, you want to think things over before you agree to part with your money.  Is there any other information I can give you that will help you make your decision?”

By using this approach, instead of attempting to force the deal, you’re increasing Fred’s trust in you.  Why?  Because you’ve tactfully acknowledged his discomfort while also admitting you would do the same thing.   Conversely, if Fred doesn’t want to discuss the matter anymore, let it go and follow up with him later.  However, if he asks another question, answer the question and see where the conversation goes.  By giving Fred the distance he’s asking for, he will feel in control and he might even make a decision that day.

Learning to recognize and respect a person’s “maybe” is a great way to increase trust and build your reputation for really “hearing” what the customer is saying.  Good luck!

About Alicia

20 years ago I had no idea other people didn’t recognize and interpret body language the way I did. It was just something I picked up on naturally.
I am a national conference speaker, facilitator, and coach, specializing in non-verbal communication. I received my Master of Science in Human Resources from the University of Houston.
My passion is helping others become influential so that they can reach their career and business goals.

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