By Jeff Borovitz of Sandler Sales and Gene Russell of Manex

Sales skills are more important than ever after such a long period of disruption in manufacturing.   Our conversations with California manufacturers show that they need revenue and orders.  The market is crowded and can become price driven if you cannot effectively communicate your value proposition.

Selling is a physical, mental, and performance art, demanding new skills, high ethics and intense product knowledge.  Active learning will keep you aligned with your clients and delivering orders to your company.

Today I want to highlight and give you one very good skill called the negative reversal.  Practice it on your fellow employees and loved ones. It works on them too. Manex is now offering a great multi-week online course on Sales Foundations.  Take a look after reading further.

If you’ve ever been out fishing, you know that it is a good analogy to selling. Don’t see the correlation? Well, picture the last time you were fishing and it took a while for your first catch. After spending time fishing, it can get tiring and you grow impatient. Then you finally feel that first nibble on the end of your line. At that moment, your actions can determine the outcome. If you pull hard too quickly,  you will probably lose the fish. But if you resist the urge and wait you will reach your catch limit again and again.

Selling is Like Fishing

When a prospect first shows signs of interest in buying or for the first time admits they would like to do business with you, it’s important not to scare away the prospect with your enthusiasm. This takes some great self-discipline, as the natural tendency is to jump right in and close the deal. That’s what great salespeople do, right?  Sweep the prospect off their feet with a powerful close?   Only in the movies.  In reality, great salespeople let the prospects close themselves. This is the most powerful close of all. It’s the same as letting the fish set the hook.

People Don’t Like To Be Closed

Something in each of us is resistant to the idea of closing. When people push, we push back.  We all like to think something is our idea. This is the effectiveness of negative reverse selling. Remember, the most powerful close is when a client is doing the closing. A rookie salesperson whips out the contract as soon as the prospect makes the mistake of showing serious interest. When you receive negative feedback or pushback this is the time to use negative reverse. Using the negative reverse in any other setting and the potential client will wonder what the heck is going on.  It’s a bit of psychological kung fu.  They push, you step aside (negative reverse)  and let them sell you.

Good Salespeople Use Negative Reverse Selling

Here’s how to use negative reverse selling. A prospect perhaps says they would like to purchase your product. Instead of jumping in with a close and pulling out a purchase order, he might slow things down, take a step back, and ask “are you sure you’ve given it enough thought?” While this flies in the face of traditional sales wisdom, it is amazing to watch as the client explains to you all the reasons he should purchase. The only time to use a negative reverse is when the client pushes back and goes negative on you. You must go slightly more negative as if you agree. Amazingly most will push back on your negativity and often start selling you on your product or service. It takes practice!

Use Negative Reverse Selling In Current Relationships

You can experiment with existing clients. Say they want you to do some work for them, but it isn’t worth your time and won’t really help them. As you explain this to them, you might be surprised to find they will often be inclined to try to convince you why it’s worth it.  This is the essence of the negative reverse. People don’t want to be sold. They want to sell themselves or buy.

It’s important to remember negative reverse selling is not a “gimmick.” It is a tactic that will only work when it is done naturally, with a client serious about buying, and a client who is a good fit your product. Practice will make perfect and the training program we are offering will give you more context and more information about when to use a negative reverse.

Did you want someone to really listen to a sentence?  Here is another tactic to think about. Say their name. Psychology shows that they will listen very closely to the next 4-5 words you say.  Say their name too much and you sound like the parrot down at the car dealership. Practice and context.  Use it maybe twice in an hour presentation.

Happy Selling!

Learn more from our new Online Sales Training Program in association with Sandler Training.

About the Authors

Jeff Borovitz of Sandler Training is a Manex internal sales trainer and blog contributor.  Gene Russell is President and CEO of Manex and has over 30 years of senior executive strategic planning, operational management, and consulting experience in the manufacturing and technology sectors.