Think about a couple dancing. When one dance partner steps away the other partner usually takes a step back as well. Following that, both parties might step together very close almost in an embrace. This moving together and apart happens repeatedly throughout dancing, r
elationships, and yes even selling. In selling, “a step away” occurs when one party, usually the prospect, needs a little space. For example, a prospect might say they need to think it over, or that they need to talk it over with their business partner, spouse, etc. Stepping away gives the prospect a feeling of space. If the salesperson steps back as well, it becomes more
comfortable for the prospect to step in again. As an example of this, the salesperson might say, “Take all the time you need. I am in no hurry. If you need ten years, take it.” This might seem like the salesperson is throwing the sale away, but he isn’t. What he is saying without saying it is, “I am not like all the other pushy salespeople out there. I actually care about your need for some space.” If the salesperson doesn’t step away when the prospect does, and instead starts
pressuring, the dance becomes a chase. The problem I see with many salespeople is that when the prospect steps away, the salesperson often becomes insecure and steps forward, causing the prospect to step back again, again causing the prospect to step back, and again making the salesperson feel insecure about the sale and step forward. At this point, it is not a dance. It is a chase – and the prospect is running from the salesperson. Because it seems like the sale may be lost by stepping away, it takes a confident salesperson to step back when a prospect does. The funny thing is that because the salesperson isn’t acting like a pushy salesperson, the prospect almost invariably will feel safe to then step in again (show more buying signals and interest) at which point the salesperson can step in with the prospect (to give very compelling reasons to move forward), continuing the dance.
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