Maybe People

“A maybe person will never get you where you want to go.” – Jim Riley

There are two things that matter in business – decisions and actions.  All the activities, emails, conversations, meetings, phone calls, and myriad of work we do as knowledge workers ends up in a decision and an action.

Unfortunately, many people put their energy and emotions into another thing altogether – hope.  Hope is a poor strategy.  When a person you are seeking an answer from does not decide or act, it slows down momentum.  Their lack of forthrightness has you pursuing without a clear answer.  Unfortunately, we live in a society where people are not candid.  Rather than return a phone call as good etiquette, they ignore your call.  Part of it is inattention.  Part of it is hoping you will go away.  Either way, it is indecision and inaction.  They are likely not a decision maker, not interested or not polite.  It is a person not worth pursuing business with.

With increasing complexity, most people have a hard time making decisions even at a fundamental level.  Fear and being overwhelmed shuts down their decision making ability.  They become “maybe” people.  Nothing short of a crisis will move them to a concrete decision or action.  Everything else lingers.

When you need a decision or action, here are four things to help you move a “maybe” person to action if it is in the realm of possibility:

  1. WIIFT: That is, “What’s in it for them?”  It ceases to amaze me the people who approach us to sell.  They mess up right from the start.  They put me in a position to say, “No.”  They speak in terms of themselves instead of me.  Did it ever cross their minds what I get out of it?  Ask that simple question for yourself, and talk in terms of the benefit to the other person and doors will open.  Be sure to think it through and sell the person on what’s in it for them.  That’s what matters to them.
  2. Killer Questions: Questions open dialogue.  Selling makes it a monologue.  Ask good questions which get the person to think.  Otherwise, you will merely experience a script.  Ask questions like, “What if you could gain 20% more business, what would this do for you?”  Listen and engage.  You will learn what matters to the person and speak to number 1 above.
  3. Lead, don’t close: I do not want to be closed.  You do not like to be closed.  However, we will follow a leader.  Be a leader in the conversation by having a path in your process.  If you don’t have a process (next steps) well defined, then it reflects on your ability to lead.  You are hoping rather than strategizing.  How does your buying process work?  Help the person take those steps with ease.
  4. Give value first: If one sale would net you $1,000, how much would you spend?  $10?  $100?  $500?  The person who invests will win in the long term.  The one who seeks to give as little as possible for a large payout is a pure miser.  Pay a price others won’t (most won’t) and you instantly get ahead.  Your prospect will notice it as well.  What could you do with $100 to win a buyer’s favor in order to get $1,000?  If you can’t think of something, then therein lies the issue of why you have “maybe” people.  You give them no compelling reason to like you and want to do business with you.  That’s the mass of humanity.  Dare to step out and give value first.

The cold reality is that there are many people who are incapable of saying yes to you until a crisis happens.  In that case, better to nurture the relationship than try and push.  Nothing  you do or say will matter.  Keep bringing value over time and keep being accessible.  This requires a permission marketing system.  Otherwise, they will not think of you.

The mere fact that you want to sell something means nothing to a person who is not ready to buy.  Help people become more ready to buy.  It takes leadership, systems and strategic thinking.  Today, more than ever, there are too many options.  What you offer is a commodity.

To stand out, you must be strategic and systematic.  Learn how to do this in your own business by clicking here.  As we grow in our inattention, you will see more “maybe” people rather than decisive people.  If you learn to bring value, become relevant and be a leader, then opportunity will grow beyond your dreams.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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