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January 24, 2013   Posted by: Dale Underwood

B2B Selling, How to handle "I’m not ready to talk to sales yet" (Part 1)


One of the toughest tasks for a sales person is engaging a prospect that is in the early stages of a new project and dismisses the need for help. Their response sounds something like this “I’m not ready to talk to sales yet, we’re just researching solutions right now…”. This is often followed by the dreaded, “I’ll contact you if I need more information”.

This is surprisingly easy to handle if you’re prepared, but a momentum killer if you aren’t.

Since the majority of the 70,000+ B2B leads that we’ve captured for our IT Technology clients over the last 4years fall into this category, I thought we might share one way to handle the objection and turn it into your advantage.

Our approach to solving this is based on 20 years of selling high-end IT gear to large commercial organizations and the Federal Government in both the pre- and post- internet era. To sell at this level, you must capture the customer’s curiosity and then wire the customer’s future requirements to fit your solution. This will work wonders but there are no short cuts!

Step 1 – You must create value in the eyes of the prospect at their current stage in the buying cycle – research

Resist the temptation to “sell them”. They don’t care about your solution. What they really need help defining are PROJECT REQUIREMENTS.

For a project of any significant size ($50K and up), most organizations will need to thoroughly define their requirements. So why do you launch into your product features and/or benefits?

Take a different approach, give them what they NEED by asking the Golden Question.

Yes, there is a Golden Question that you can ask to 1) instantly elevate your value, and 2) start the process of “wiring” your solution into their project requirements.

The Golden Question – via Phone or Email

“Mr./Ms. Prospect,
I completely understand you are in the early stages of your project so may I ask you a question (builds curiosity)?

Have you defined the requirements for your SAN Storage project, or no?

If not, I’d be happy to send you our “Top 20 Customer Requirements for a SAN Storage Solution”. This list was compiled from dozens of our storage customers and could be a starting point for your project.

I’d be happy to send you an electronic version to use however you wish, just reply with “send me the requirements doc” and I’ll get it out to you, no strings attached. Then, you can contact me when you are ready.

Thank you for your interest.


Top Sales Guy”


This may sound simplistic but it accomplishes several key things.

First, it builds trust because you are listening to the customer and understand he is just researching.

Second, it asks the Golden Question in a way that the prospect is compelled to answer “Have you defined the requirements for your XYZ project, or no? The “or no” part is important because it gives the prospect an opening to tell you no, he hasn’t.

Third, any prospect that is serious now or in the future will want that “Top 20 Requirements…” list that was created by other customers…trust me. Just be ready to provide it in a form the prospect can use internally to help sell your products/services; no marketing fluff.

Creating the Top 20 Requirements Document

In Parts 2 and 3 of this series (one week apart), I will show you an actual example of a SAN Storage Project “Top 20 Requirements” document. You would, of course, need to tweak it to fit your specific solution but I’ll provide two different versions.

If you want it faster than that, email me. Otherwise, see you next week!

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