BS Detector Toolbox - How to see if someone is serious.
Ever feel like someone is leading you on? Yanking your chain? Won't give you a solid yes or no?
I HATE THAT. It's happened to me in business, in relationships, and simple things in life. I'm pretty sure it's happened to you too.
This can happen whether you're selling something, doing a deal, or just want to see if someone is interested in getting together or interested in you period.
It kills me that people are just too weak to tell you where you stand or are afraid to say no. Instead, they leave you hanging on to a glimmer of hope or allow you to waste your time thinking they're interested.
I'm a big boy, I can take "no." just give me an answer.
When I was a headhunter (executive recruiter aka.white collar pimp), I ran into this all the time.
People would act interested, even go on interviews, knowing damn well they weren't serious about the job, the company, or anything. They'd smile and nod, go through the motions or string everyone along. They couldn't or wouldn't say "no." Same goes for companies. Make a damned decision, would you?
Sometimes I'd hear, "we'll see," which is the same line I used to give to my kids when they were little and asked for something which I had ZERO intent of doing. (Chuck E Cheese for example)
I fell for it in the beginning. Eager salespeople, hungry to close a deal and naive or love-starved idiots aching to hear "YES" most often take the bait and fall victim to this blind optimism. I've been both. As I said, I'm pretty sure it's happened to you too. Don't worry, I won't tell.
I have a solution.
I finally got smart and started asking one specific question that helped me quickly determine if someone was serious or not.
It's become one of my main tools in my BS detector toolbox.
"Is there anything that would keep us from moving forward right now?"
Simple? Yes. Childishly simple. This question is also unbelievably effective.
Here is when to use it and why it works.
First off, you don't ask this until you've covered everything necessary. You wait until you've handled all obvious objections, questions, or when you think you've got a deal, a yes, or a confirmation.
This is a simple closing tactic... AND yes, closing is not just for salespeople or headhunting pimps (wait let me rephrase that… nevermind)
You need the ability to "close" in your personal life too. Closing is about getting a commitment. Plus closers get coffee. Ask Alec Baldwin!)
There is nothing is worse than "believing" the answer is "yes", or assuming "someone is interested, we are doing this. are exclusive, have a date, agreement, negotiated price, sale, etc..", only to be bitten in the ass or disappointed later because you left things open-ended or ambiguous.
This question get's closure or at least opens up an honest dialog so you can get closure.
3 Reasons Why It Works
You are creating an opportunity for either acknowledgment, honest communication, or accountability.
Here is what I mean.
#1. YOU GET CONFIRMATION TO MOVE AHEAD
If the answer is, "No, nothing is preventing us from moving ahead. We are good. No objections. No Questions. Let's do this." AWESOME! Acknowledged and confirmed. Mazel Tov.
* However, just to be safe, remember this conversation for later in case things go south. (See #3)
#2. YOU GIVE THEM AN EASY OUT OR A GREEN LIGHT TO TALK ABOUT THE HARD STUFF OR CONCERNS.
You are allowing them to say "no" and still save face or giving them an easy invitation to have an honest conversation about any remaining obstacles, concerns, or objections.
It is a direct question.
It works because some people can't say "no." They are conflict avoidant, people pleasers or just invertebrates. They don't want to rock the boat, make things uncomfortable, or hurt your feelings by addressing an objection, or concern or just saying "no." They won't even give you a "gentle" no by couching something politely, but it is still a no. So they bullshit you and lead you on or stall you until you get the hint that, No answer... is your answer.
Most advanced adults can handle this… however, see #3
#3. IT HOLDS PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE.
Shocker… some people lie or tell you what they think you want to hear.
If someone is going to "play you," they are going to "play you."
Sorry, no Santa either.
You can tell a lot about how a person acts AFTER they answer this question.
If they tell you what you want to hear or mislead you, after you've created an opportunity for open and honest conversation, I believe it tells you a lot about how they communicate, their indecisiveness, and even something about their integrity and strength of character. it raises a lot of questions. Is this someone you can count on, believe and depend on in the future? Are they too weak to speak up? Is this something you can expect when you interact with them in the future? It's a screaming red flag to me.
I get it… people change their mind, think about things or have questions that arise, but if they dramatically change their tune late in the game that a problem.
If it happens, call them out on it. Hold them accountable. "Remember when we had this conversation, and you said, "YA YA, We're good."
This question is intended to get closure, move things forward, but also it's intended to prevent surprises!!! Oh, they can still come… but at least you are trying to control things and not relying on hope, assumptions, or wishful thinking.
And that's important because you don't have time to waste. You can always make more money… you can't make more time.
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