Some people are easier to date than others. Some people are easier to prospect than others. In both worlds, a lot of people enjoy being chased and love to play hard to get. It tells you something about their self worth for certain, but some people just really make you want to work for it. The question is are you up for that challenge? Many salespeople don’t have that level of patience, but those who know how to play the game understand that the payoff can be big with the right prospect. The question is, how can you play that game?
People who play hard to get believe that they are worth it. Oftentimes it is nothing more than an inflated sense of self esteem, but that’s the game you are going to play nonetheless. In many ways it is setting the boundaries for control and power early in the relationship. In the B2B world, you will mostly find these types of people in middle management. That’s not to say that everyone in middle management is a prima donna, but any middle management position is a difficult job and sometimes playing hard to get a way for them to balance their universe. Once you have cracked the code on courting C-level prospects, you will find that they are more approachable and respectful than their counterparts further on down the line.
The first step is having the proper sales sequence to get yourself in front of a decision maker who is playing hard to get. Having a Scorecard is the perfect way to keep yourself on track. Most of us give up on prospect after three to five tries and having gotten no response. That ratio is similar in the dating world as well. We take their lack of response as having no interest and therefore you, personally, are not worth it. Persistence is the key in both dating and sales. Let’s face it, sometimes they really aren’t interested and mostly for reasons that have nothing to do with you. But we can’t assume a ‘no’ until we have been told ‘no’. When you press on to eight to ten touches, we may discover that we attempted to reach someone during a very busy time, an extended vacation or you just haven’t done enough to get their attention in a way that warrants a response. As in dating, don’t give up on a prospect that you really want until you have actually heard them tell you ‘no’. And even then, ‘no’ in our minds translates into ‘not today’.
The one thing that we as salespeople must be careful of when chasing someone who is playing hard to get is to make certain that we are not setting the tempo for us to be abused later when a relationship is established. Make sure that you are doing business for mutually beneficial reasons. You solve their problem and you get the sale. Be certain to be treated with respect as a professional at all times. Sometimes we are blinded by the prize that we don’t realize that it was a trap. Abusive relationships usually begin in the early parts of dating and so it goes in sales. We have all been in an abusive sales relationship. It manifests as being beat up on price, demanding unreasonable terms, threatening to switch to the competition if they don’t get their way or not paying you on time. You have found out too late that this is not your ideal client and likely because you let them walk all over you in the beginning.
More often than not you will find that the ones that played hard to get were worth it. Some of the best clients that you will get in life are the ones who initially told you ‘no’. A little friction early in the process creates the foundation for a stronger relationship in the long run. So don’t be afraid when you are facing someone who is playing hard to get. They really are no better than you and you as both a person and a salesperson are worth it. Press on with confidence and you will find the results waiting for you.