Verbal Jujitsu 201


Resetting the Buying Criteria to Flip the Shoppers


Buyer’s are smarter than ever before and firm on their buying approach. They’re far more convinced they know their needs and wants because they have the internet to do their homework.  Either another seller has helped the buyer clarify a vision a solution or the buyer acquired this line of thinking on his own.


Today, there are far more options available to the buyer in the marketplace than ever before, making their attention span less than before, and your uniqueness less visible. The last thing you want to do is make the buyer feel stupid for their expectations.  Instead you want to buyer to consider a fundamentally different approach to evaluation options like yours.


When a buyer has a pre-existing vision of a solution, they already recognize their problem, and they know what they need to solve it. Most often this buyer is reached the point of shopping solutions. They’re auditioning potential players to suit their desired solution.


Sellers, if inexperienced, will respond to their request thinking they’ve got this one in the bag. But that’s rarely the case. Buyers use sellers as a means of making comparisons. Sellers in this case get in too late in terms of the buyers path, and loses the business, or ends up taking it discounted. This leads to commoditization.


The U-turn


However, the seller can create an advantage by re-establishing the buying criteria and biasing it to his products or services. Here are the steps to this flip:


1. Define your most unique and valuable attributes, capabilities, assets that your business beholds.

2. Rank these 1-10, 10 being the most value and unique qualities that inspire customers to create and maintain a relationship with you.

3. Ask your 10 best clients if these qualities are why they have a relationship with you to validate the data.

4. Put together 7-10 things to look for in hiring a company like yours. Ie. “The 10 Things to Look for In Selecting a World Class Business Coach.” Or “The Ten Things to Look for In Selecting a World Class Financial Advisor for your Business.”

5. Insert your unique and valuable qualities into these as the criterion. You can use this as a required read up front, and/or use it later on in the sales process to prove and cost justify, and reduce buyer’s remorse after the transaction.


Figure 1.1 The 10 Things

6. During an initial call or conversation with your potential buyer, ask them “how they see themselves using a (company like yours), what are they looking to accomplish?”

7. Then ask some additional control capability questions to add onto their existing vision of a solution. Use “when, who, and what” as the framework to word-smith 5-6 of these yes/no control questions.

8. Eg. “When you distill your long terms goals down to short term ones with your team, so that you can position your next steps, would it also help if you had a set of templates to distribute to make the process doable?” When asking it like this, the buyer can visualize themselves in a real situation with an alternative capability in hand. Putting them in the cockpit increases their urge to switch to new ground, and rethink their needs.

9. Their answer will either be: Yes, no, or what’s that/tell me more/how does that work?”

10. The key word in the when, who, what questions is “also”, meaning in addition to what you said you wanted to be able to do… would it also help if….(yes or no?)

So instead of the buyer comparing apples to apples, they’re now shifting the axis upon which their evaluation matrix is made. You’re changing the rules of the game by awakening them to hidden needs that only you solve. This gives you an advantage because you’re moving them onto new ground to evaluate their wants and needs and compare other alternatives based upon it. Always assume you don’t have enough information, to inspire yourself to pivot to this U-turn activity.


Verbal Jujitsu


Buyers often bottom line you by asking for price and other information to feel safe. It’s normal that they do this and will do it throughout your career, at the point of entry. However you can create a bypass by having 4-5 karate kid comebacks that verbal jujitsu the buyer toward a conversation to develop their wants and needs before prescribing. Here are a few:


“I’m prepared to give you a quote, but also realize you may want to talk about what’s really important to you, and what you’re expecting, if you could paint me a picture of what you’re thinking first, I can  better suit you with the pricing question you’re asking, ok?”


“I’m prepared to answer your request for information, but we have hundreds of examples, documents, and media to match the opportunities and preferences our customers approach us with, if you could help me clarify your expectations and preferences with five simple questions, I can help you save lots of time and money, even if don’t decide to do business together, fair enough? I’ll need about 15 minutes it’ll be helpful, I promise, ok?”


“I appreciate your request for pricing, there are 3 reasons why other people in Orange County want to buy our insurance would you like to know why?”


“The range is X to X, is that about what you’re expecting?”


“Before going into the price, like a doctor we make it a policy to diagnose before prescribing for your sake. Quoting, pricing, these are like auditions to us, which doesn’t help us gather important information to determine if we can help or not. We’re not aggressively looking for business and will not insure you unless it’s right for both of us. So if we could slow down so I could get a clearer picture of why you’re here, what you want, and what you expect, it’ll enable me to be helpful on your investment, is that ok with you? I’ll need about 15 minutes, and if we want to talk further, it’s your choice, ok?”


Upon asking these questions and buying time to diagnose, have your Top 10 Things piece in hand to work from.