Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"Learn To Recognize The Stall For What It Is"

At some point, everyone is a salesperson. We may have that title on our business card, or we may perform some other function (such as an occupational therapist, physical therapist, designer, or architect) where we really don't think of ourselves as salespeople.

Nevertheless, we are interacting with our potential customers and clients and trying to convey to them what we think is in their best interests for them to do or have done. This is selling. It is persuading. It is advancing a concept that we feel to be in their best interests based on how we interpret their living environment and physical needs to function well in that space.

So, everyone sells - whether that is primarily how we view ourselves or whether it is our main function or just one of many that we do in working with people who need what we provide.

Because of the competitive nature and personality that often goes along with being a salesperson, we like to make sales. Isn't that the point - along with providing excellent service to our clients and customers and helping them age-in-place effectively? Don't we want to create solutions that will help them remain in their homes and to live well in their environment - whether they have any physical challenges or limitations or not?

So, we like to have people accept what we recommend and go ahead with purchasing it - a product, a design, a remodel, or a solution. It is gratifying when we can suggest something that both fits a budgetary parameter and meets their requirements and needs.

Sometimes, what we want to have our clients and customers accept - because we feel that it really aligns with what they need - they decline to do. They may not like our recommendations, feel that they can get a renovation done by someone else for less, or just want to continue living as they are without making any improvements to their situation.


There's an old sales adage that says that the real selling starts after the "no" - after they reveal that they don't want to go ahead with what we have discussed, proposed, or recommended for them.

At this point, we use a variety of techniques to show that that what we have suggested really is in their best interest to do (if we believe it truly is) and to remove barriers (actual or imagined) that stand in the way of their decision.

Enter the stall. It's a smokescreen. It's not a real objection, and it's not a traditional "no." It actually is the ultimate way of saying "no."

When someone expresses an interest in what we offer but doesn't like the terms, color, price, features, or other aspect of our product or service, we can isolate the sticking points and work with them.

When they want "to think about it" without being specific or "the time isn't right" without any real idea of a better time, or other responses that sound like they are stalling for time or trying to get rid of us, we are being told that they aren't ready to make a decision - they just don't always use those words to express their wishes.

The fact is they will never be ready and shouldn't even be talking with us.

It's typically more than being scared or not sure of the financial part of the purchase. They know that it's a polite response that we will accept without a lot of pressure applied to them. It essentially cannot be overcome.

When we get this, let's recognize and accept this for what it is - a definite "no" disguised as a "maybe." Time to move on to someone else.


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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.