What if you ask a question and the answer is no? What if after all your research and brainstorming, you've pinpointed a need that the prospect can't or won't perceive? If that's the case, take the presentation off the table and start asking questions. Just like in jujitsu, you can use your prospects' own momentum to move them in the direction you want them to go.

You're there to learn, just as much as you are to sell. (It's the first call, remember?) So keep the door open for your next presentation by switching on your prime selling apparatus--your ears. Here are some learning questions to ask:

  • "That's interesting. Could you elaborate on the goals you want to achieve?"
  • "I appreciate your candor. Could you tell me more?"
  • "Let's not waste any of your time on this particular idea, then, since it's designed to reach these specific goals. Tell me what you'd like to accomplish so I can give some thought to another idea."

You need to be prepared for this contingency, but you'll be surprised at how seldom it happens. If you're a conscientious, creative seller and you do your homework before the meeting, your benefits will match the prospect's most of the time. Besides, if you've gotten this far, the prospect wants to hear your idea before passing final judgement.

Excerpted from Creative Selling: Boost your B2B sales