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Go negative for positive results

Fishing is very popular in the Florida Keys, and one of the favorite catches of anglers and tourists is called bonefish. Most people catch it for sport rather than food, and catching it is an art. If someone from New England goes to the Florida Keys to fish bonefish, that person would probably do what I was tempted to do at first: bait the hook with shrimp, cast out, and wait for a bite on the line. As soon as that bite hits, we New Englanders start fishing, as we do for cod and haddock in our cold waters. However, most of the time, the hook will come back to us empty, and our frustration will increase as we keep trying the same ineffective way of catching bonefish.

If you were to call the local fishing guide and ask him to show you how it’s done, this is what you would see. He baited the hook with shrimp, cast it out, and waited for a bite on the line. But once he felt that bite, he wouldn’t try to catch the fish right away. Instead, the experienced guide would begin to remove the thread from the spool. After a minute or two, the guide may turn to you and say, “Now that’s okay. Are you ready for it?” Then you would roll it up. So why would the guide line the fish instead of trying to roll it up from scratch?

It turns out that bonefish feed on shrimp found in shallow water plains. As soon as they get one, they dive into deeper waters to avoid those big pink birds known as flamingos. Flamingos are predators and will pounce and try to eat bonefish for lunch while hunting shrimp in shallow water. To avoid becoming a flamingo fillet, the bonefish seeks safety in deeper waters. Once he’s alone and safe, he finally swallows the shrimp and the hook. With the hook inside the fish, you can now place the hook to roll it up. If you are impatient and try to roll the fish too fast, it is almost impossible to catch a bonefish. Their strategy to prevent themselves from becoming food is to keep the shrimp in their mouths as they run to safety. The bonefish does not swallow the crustacean, nor the hook, until it finds refuge in deeper waters. If you try to wind them the right way, the hook will just come loose and you will come out empty handed.


The fishing technique that I just shared with you is known as strip-lining, but I’m not just sharing fishing stories. This concept is a powerful metaphor to illustrate what happens when you integrate it into your sales techniques to uncover a potential customer’s pain. Strip coating becomes even more effective when combined with a little lesson from the great physicist Sir Isaac Newton, who said that objects at rest tend to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to stay in motion. When you think about it, Newton’s theory even applies to sales.

Prospects can be neutral. A neutral perspective would be a pendulum that does not move. They can be positive, like the pendulum swinging to the right, towards the positive, towards the possibility of buying and closing deals with you. The third position would be negative. The pendulum is swinging to the left, in the direction of not doing business with you or buying from you, ending with no deal or no negative results.

All sellers have faced positive, negative and neutral prospects. Most sellers feel that positive prospects are the easiest to sell. It is true that they are. when it is based solely on traditional sales approaches. Once you learn Negative reverse sellingĀ®Strip siding in particular, both positive and negative prospects are much easier to sell.

Negative reverse selling it means acting in the exact opposite way to the way the potential customer expects you to act. An example would be salespeople who sound like they’re trying to convince potential customers not to buy your product or service. Yes, it sounds counterintuitive at first, and maybe even silly, but believe it or not, this can work when done correctly. Strip- lining is a specific technique under the Negative reverse selling umbrella. Let’s take a closer look at these sales as well and take a look at the prospect that is perhaps the hardest to sell.


Most of the time, you’ll find that the toughest prospects of all to sell to are the neutrals whose pain you haven’t discovered yet. Why? Because they are stagnant, they are not moving, they are not going anywhere. The neutral perspective is not emotionally involved and has no strong feelings, either positive or negative. At least when the prospects are positive or negative, they feel something. So what do you do with a neutral prospect? You need to make it swing one way or another on the emotional pendulum.

Ask yourself this: Would it be easier to get a neutral prospect to move into the negative or into the positive? In other words, would it be easier to convince that neutral prospect not to do business with you or to motivate them to do business with you? Without a doubt, the easiest thing to do with a neutral prospect is to move them into the negative, essentially convincing them not to do business with you. Because they expect you to try to convince them to work with you, they will move in the negative direction much more easily. Suggesting the opposite of what the prospect expects is disarming. If you can get neutral prospects to move into the negative, they will suddenly become much easier to sell. Why? Because you have set them in motion. The prospect gets involved and involved emotionally. I realize that it goes against everything you may have learned when it comes to selling, but stick with me here and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Stay tuned for our next blog, where we will discuss various coating techniques that effectively take your neutral lead as negative and end up with positive results.

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