Skip to main content

Tell Your Prospect What Your Product Won’t Do

This past election revealed the majority of Americans had distrust of both major candidates. In fact, research confirms salespeople and members of Congress are the least trusted professionals in America. So how do we counter this? Simple. Tell your prospects what your product won’t do so they’ll believe what it will do.

When you focus solely on the positive virtues of your product, you cease to be a reliable resource. One of the biggest complaints of customers today is that salespeople make the product sound “too good to be true.”

This may seem counterintuitive, but if you don’t share with your prospect what’s wrong, or what a product won’t do, he’ll never believe what it will do for him.

I put this idea to the test when selling my own car.

Soon after posting an ad, a man came over to look at my car, a beautiful Land Rover that I’d priced fairly at $27,900. The first thing he wanted to know, naturally, was if the car had been in an accident. I answered him honestly.

“No,” I said. “But let me tell you what is wrong with it.”

He seemed stunned as I walked him around the car and pointed out some old problems that I had just repaired. They weren’t things he’d have to worry about, since I had taken care of them, but I just felt that he would want to know. “The CD player is shot,” I added. “You’ll probably have to replace that whole thing.”

He seemed clearly relieved. Then he told me that the exact same model with less mileage on it was for sale in a neighboring town—for less money. “Then you should buy the cheaper one,” I said, meaning no more and no less than what I’d said.

“But yours is green,” he said. “And I want a green car.”

Since I had been so honest with him, he could see the value in getting just what he wanted, right when he wanted it. He also believed that it hadn’t been in an accident because of how forthcoming I was about the drawbacks of the car. He bought the car on the spot.

I didn’t have a name for it at the time, but when I sold my car I used a technique I now call “baby negatives.” A baby negative is a statement made to a prospect, or an answer to a question, that reveals what your product will not do.

Some things to remember:

  • Only use a baby negative if the information you are offering is in fact a baby negative, not a giant negative.
  • When a prospect asks a question, remember that questions can often be objections in disguise. Clarify their questions or concerns before answering with a baby negative or any other type of rebuttal.
  • Balance a “take-away” with an “add-on”: Remember the basic rule of a take-away: When you take something away, you must give something back. Tell your customer what your product won’t do—but then follow up with what it will do.

Sound scary? Sales takes courage. If you are afraid to lose you’ll never win!

Leave a Reply