How To Handle The Prospect Who Is Afraid Of EVERYTHING

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

red hair business womanHow do you handle the prospect that is afraid of everything and everybody?  You know the person I’m talking about.  That prospect who is so paranoid, you wonder how they got the job and how you set the appointment.

First, I’ll offer some tips to help you better recognise the Paranoid Prospect (PP), followed by three effective ways to handle them.

Three Traits of the Paranoid Prospect

1. The PP is usually very pessimistic and will see something negative in almost everything. 

Sales Person:        “It’s a beautiful day!”
PP:                         “Yeah, but that usually means thunderstorms are on the way.”

 2. The PP will usually want proof of statements that you make and ask for guarantees.

 3. The PP will have examples (factual or not) of bad experiences with your competitors or in your industry.

Three Tips to Handle the Paranoid Prospect

1. Do not linger long on questions, especially offensive ones. The PP will often offer questions that are actually accusations, and focus on them until they get the answers they want.  Do not get into long discussions on those issues.  Answer the question and move on.  Do not try to justify answers or defend accusations that have no merit.

2. Do not bash the competition.  The PP will often try to bait you into taking sides against your competition.  Understand that once you agree and validate that there is anyone in your industry that justifies the PP’s fears, you are finished as well.

3. Do not try to alleviate unwarranted phobias.  If the PP turns to unproven, phantom and even ridiculous hypothetical situations; do not fall into the trap of trying to explain how and why those things are of no consequence.  Do not give such issues credibility by acknowledging them.

Most of the PPs fears, while they seem to focus on many different areas, are really about making a decision.  Don’t be distracted with irrelevant issues.  Stick to your sales process and help the fearful prospect see things more clearly.

Happy Selling,


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 9 November, 2011

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