Beware of the Talk TrapArticle by Colleen Francis, December 26, 2019
There’s a menace in your sales territory today.
It’s one that can drain your resources, rob you of your time, lay waste to your sales targets and sink the morale of your entire sales team…effortlessly.
That menace is the dreaded talk trap. You have to be able to know it and name it first before you can take steps to not fall into it.
The talk trap lays waiting for unsuspecting sellers who innocently confuse somebody who will listen to them with someone who also has decision-making authority to buy from them…when, in fact, they don’t!
Attention is the lure.
Attention from that somebody is the lure that pulls your sellers into the talk trap. When the talking starts, the sellers can’t help themselves. Why? Because suddenly somebody is giving them everything they ever wished for: a person who returns their calls, who listens attentively, and who tells them how much they will simply love using the products/services being offered for sale. The talk trap generously feeds a seller’s ego while starving them not only of their ability to make good decisions, but also of the time and focus to learn the needs of the true buyer.
It gets set every day, everywhere.
The talk trap gets set daily and ensnares sellers of every caliber and in every industry. Don’t be one of them! Recently, at a sales workshop, I heard from two different sales leaders in two different sectors—one in industrial supplies and the other in software—whose teams found themselves caught in a talk trap. In both cases, the team had sunk countless hours talking to and negotiating with someone who turned out to be lacking decision-making authority on purchases for their company. In both cases, a highly valued, fully closed deal got 100% cancelled when the actual decision maker appeared.
It reminds you there are two kinds of lies.
We typically think of lying as the act of saying something that is knowingly untrue. But those who ensnare sellers in a talk trap remind us that there is also the lie of omission: they don’t tell the seller that they lack decision-making authority. Or they give the impression they are a qualified buyer, but withhold important truths about their company’s buying process. In part, it’s not their fault. It’s the seller’s job to ask probing questions to correctly identify a qualified buyer.
So, when on the hunt for prospects, beware of the talk trap. Be on your guard when you are shown a wealth of attention matched by lack of substantive answers to your probing questions. Only once you are able to correctly identify a talk trap are you able to take decisive steps to avoid one. And that second point is what I will cover in the next article in this two-part series.