Drop The Rope® to Make the Sale (If You Want Effective Sales Management)
Over the past two decades, I’ve learned that there is a critical concept in understanding how to close more deals. And it’s perfectly illustrated by what’s on my calendar today: Two calls that couldn’t be more different.
Call Number 1: I’m going to be the seller.
And I have a solution that I genuinely believe would be extremely beneficial to the buyer. I’ve reached out to him a couple of times, and he indicated that he’d be receptive to meet to discuss my proposal.
But lately, I’ve found it impossible to get him to answer my calls. What’s up? He may honestly be busy; knowing his work situation, that’s a real possibility. But I’m starting to wonder whether there is something else going on.
Call Number 2: I’m going to be the buyer.
I’ve been introduced to the seller’s solution, and I’ve agreed to a follow-up conversation today to address any questions I have. But I’m dreading that conversation. Why? Because I’ve tentatively determined not to purchase the solution, and I know how the conversation is going to go after I communicate that decision.
First, the seller is going to respond to my objections with his carefully prepared counterpoints.
Then, the sales guy will likely restructure the proposal in hopes of addressing some of my concerns.
He might even try to string the communication out to another meeting in hopes that I’ll change my mind.
And as the buyer, none of that sounds fun to me.
So I have a plan: I’m going to come up with an excuse to duck out of the conversation and hope he forgets about me. This plan has worked for me in the past.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because these two calls illustrate a critical aspect of the seller/buyer interaction: the tension. It doesn’t matter which role I’m playing; I can feel that there is tension in the conversation.
In the first, I feel the tension in trying to get in touch with a guy I’m trying to sell my solution to.
In the second, I can feel the tension because I know that the guy is trying to sell me something I’m not even sure that I want or need.
Why is this tension happening? Because sellers want buyers to buy, plain and simple.
In the best cases, sellers genuinely care about the welfare of buyers and honestly believe that their proposed solutions will be a benefit.
But even in those best-case scenarios, the buyer isn’t neutral. They still want their recommendation to be accepted. And that’s because the outcome matters to the seller and that simple fact adds a level of tension to the relationship.
On the opposite side of the seller is the buyer, and buyers are fundamentally guarded. They distrust sellers, and they perceive the interaction as a threat to their time, their money, and sometimes to their comfort or convenience. The reason I dread that call with my seller today is simply that I don’t look forward to the awkwardness of the interaction. We all know how people respond to threat — fight or flight — and dodging a conversation with a seller is the buyer’s version of flight.
To me, it’s as if there is an invisible rope, with one end held by the seller who wants their recommendation to be accepted and the other end held by the buyer who feels threatened on multiple fronts.
It’s a game of tug-of-war, and there’s already tension on the rope. The slightest addition of pressure from either side is certain to result in a corresponding “pull” from the other. As trust is established between the buyer and seller, the tension can relax. But initially, the rope is taut.
So we have a predicament: Sellers want to sell their solution, but if they’re not careful, they pull the invisible rope. When that happens, the interaction gets cut off, and the sellers will never even have the opportunity to have an honest conversation about the potential benefits of our recommendation. So how do we move forward?
At ASLAN®, we suggest a solution. It’s called Drop The Rope®.
What does Drop The Rope mean?
Drop The Rope is a way for sellers to interact with potential buyers, where they CLEARLY and INTENTIONALLY communicate messages that reduce or remove the tension from the relationship with the seller.
Here are a few examples:
“Our solution might not be the best fit for you.”
“Can we discuss your objectives to see IF this MIGHT be a help?”
We use this method because as sellers, our goal is simple: We want to create an environment in which buyers don’t feel threatened. Why? When buyers don’t feel the tension of the sale, they are able to relax and have an honest conversation about their objectives, their challenges, and how we might help them. But as long as the buyer has their hands in a death hold around the rope, waiting for any sign of pressure from the seller’s side, the opportunity for any kind of meaningful interaction is gone.
So here’s your final takeaway: The buyer will never let go of the rope first. You, the seller, has to drop it.
Only then can you eliminate the tug-of-war situation with prospective customers and show them that tension does not exist and that they have the freedom to make their own choices.
Want to learn more ways on how you can effectively Drop The Rope in your prospecting calls, or share these tips with your team? Check out our next blog, Drop The Rope Part 2: What I Learned From Nemo.
If you’re interested in more resources about effective sales management skills, download out our free white paper:
Where we dive into the top-selling challenges for inside sales teams or telesales teams. And if you have any questions about Drop The Rope, feel free to get in touch with our team.
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