Always Have This Close Handy…

How many times do you get the objection, “Well, let me talk to my (partner, boss, manager, spouse, etc.)”? In any kind of sale, this is one of the most common objections or stalls prospects use. And they use it because sales reps don’t seem to have any effective come back to it. Variations on this objection include:

“Let me run this by…”

OR

“I’ll have to get with….”

OR

“Let me check with…”

OR

“I’ll show this to my boss and see what he wants to do…”

I’m going to give you the right rebuttal to this and give you a real life example of how I used this – and what I learned – just this week while I was closing a prospect on one of my training programs.

I was speaking with a customer who had recently purchased one of my book of phone scripts. I had never spoken to her before, but decided to call her and see how the scripts were working out for her.

During our conversation I learned what her company was about, what they sold and how many reps they had. I established that she was one of the owners.

After listening to exactly what she was trying to accomplish, I suggested helping her by writing customized scripts and having her record those sales presentations so I could revise and perfect her scripted sales approach.

Then I asked how that sounded.

And that’s when I got the objection above. She said: “I’ll run this by my partner…”

Now this is where 80% of sales reps let the prospect go with, “O.K., when should I follow up?”

That is the wrong thing to do.

Instead, the proper technique is to isolate this objection by taking the other decision maker out of it so you can gauge how your prospect truly feels about it.

Because let’s face it: if your prospect isn’t sold, the other decision maker isn’t going to be either…

So here’s the close you need here: I told her: “That’s great, definitely show it to your partner. Let me ask you: If you’re partner says it sounds good, what would you do then?”

And this is where this technique really pays off. If she had said, “I’d do it!” then I would have set some coaching times (nothing in stone; just set some tentative dates – another form of a trial close), but if she said what she did, then I would know exactly where I stood.

She said, “I’d then go back to my reps and tell them to use the scripts I just bought and see how it goes. I’d tell them I’d already spent a lot of money on them and they needed to produce before I’d be willing to spend more.”

How’s that for a good answer?

Now you’re probably thinking, “Good answer? Mike, it doesn’t sound like she’s going to buy!”

But that’s O.K. Some will, some won’t, who’s next?

You see, what’s so good about this technique, and her honest answer, is that she revealed that she isn’t going to be a deal. That means I get to move on…

Compare this to how most sales reps would just schedule a call back and then begin chasing her?

How many of these types of unqualified leads currently clog your pipeline?

When I say this is the type of close to always have handy, I mean it. Every time you find yourself in this situation, always, always, isolate this objection/stall to find out where you really stand.

It will save you tons of time (and frustration); time you can spend prospecting and finding real buyers…

Seven Things to Say when Prospects Don’t Have the Time for Your Presentation

Young business dressed woman working at office desk.We’ve all been there – you call your prospect back at the appointed time for your presentation and they tell you any of the following:

This isn’t a good time, OR
They only have a few minutes, OR
They ask you in an exasperated tone, “How long will this take?” OR
They tell you they have a meeting in 10 minutes, can you give them the information anyway?
Or any other put off that will cut short the 30 minute comprehensive presentation you had planned.

Most sales reps respond to these objection-like receptions by asking if they would prefer to set another time. That response might be appropriate with the first put off – the “This isn’t a good time,” – but with any of the others, I have a better technique for you.

Let’s start at the beginning. First, when you get this kind of response from a prospect you qualified a week or so ago, don’t be surprised! Face it: it’s a law in all sales – Leads Never Get Better! If you sent out the hottest lead ever, a “10” on a scale of 1 – 10, then when you call them back, have you ever noticed that now they’re about a “7”?

And of course since most sales reps don’t qualify thoroughly enough, most of the leads they stuff into their pipeline are made up of sixes and sevens. And you can imagine how they are when reps reach them. So expect that your leads are going to drop in interest and receptiveness when you call them back, and then be prepared with a best practice approach to handling them. Here’s what to do:

Whenever a prospect responds to your call to do a presentation with one of the responses above – the “How long will this take?” – kind of response, don’t offer to call them back later, rather, get them to reveal their true level of interest to you and get them to tell you exactly how to pitch them to get the deal. Here are a number of statements you can use to do just that:

Responses:

“Sure, I can take as long or little as you need. Let’s do this: why don’t you tell me the top three things you were hoping to learn about this, and I’ll drill right down and cover those areas for you. What’s number one for you?”

OR

“Absolutely, we can do this pretty quickly. Tell me, what would you like to know most about how this might work in your environment?”

OR

“I understand, sounds like I caught you at a bad time. Let’s do this: If you needed to see or learn just one thing about this to determine if it might actually work for you, what would that be?”

OR

“No problem. Our presentation is pretty in depth, but I can do this. Go ahead and tell me two things that are absolute deal breakers for you, and I’ll see if we pass the test. And then if we do, we’ll schedule some more time later to go into detail on how the rest works, fair enough?”

OR

“In ten minutes, I can show you some things that will help you determine whether or not you’d like to spend more time with me later. In the meantime, let me ask you – what would you need to see the most to say yes to this?”

OR

“I understand, we’re all busy. Let me just ask you: has anything changed from when we last spoke?” (Now REALLY listen…)

OR

“Tell you what: let’s reschedule something for later when you have more time, but in the ten minutes we do have, let me ask you some questions to determine whether this would still be a good fit for you…” (Now thoroughly re-qualify your prospect)

As you can see, the responses above are all aimed at getting your prospect to reveal to you both their level of interest and what it is going to take to sell them – or whether or not they are still a good prospect for you. Have some fun with these; customize them to fit your personality or the personality of the person you’re speaking with. Find your favorites and then, as always, practice, drill and rehearse until they become your automatic response when your prospect tells you they don’t have time for your presentation.

How to Overcome the “You Expect Me to Make a Decision Now?” and “I Need to Do More Research”

One of my readers sent me two objections he’s struggling with and they are: “We need to do some research first,” and “I don’t make a decision on the day,” or the variation: “Do you expect me to make a decision, like, now?” Two interesting objections and two that are easy to handle – if you are prepared for them in advance with good scripts.

Let’s start with the second objection of “Do you expect me to make a decision, like, now?” This is an objection that never should have come up because it should have been discovered and dealt with during the initial prospecting call. As I’ve written earlier, during the prospecting call you need to qualify your prospect on six different qualifiers, and one of those is time frame. Here again are a couple of qualifying questions on the cold call that would have prevented this objection from ever coming up:

“If you like our solution when we go over the presentation next week, what would be your timeframe for putting it to use for you?”

OR

“And if you like what you see next week, is this something you could make a decision on right away?”

Again, these kinds of qualifying questions are the ones you ask during the initial call so you don’t get this objection during the close.

Another way to avoid this objection is to re-qualify before the closing presentation. I always recommend you re-qualify at the beginning of your demo so you aren’t ambushed with objections like, “Do you expect me to make a decision, like, now?” Here are a couple of questions to ask before you begin your demo:

“And ________, let me ask you: if, after we finish the demo today, you like what you see and can see how it can help you (repeat their buying motive), is this something that you can make a decision on today?”

OR

“And __________, let’s talk about your time frame for putting this solution to work for you. If you like what you see today, how soon could you move on it?”

Again, by using any of these techniques, you can avoid the two objections above. “But what if I still get these objections at the end??” I can just hear you asking… The key here is to then isolate the objection so you can see what you’re really dealing with. And the best way to do that is to ask questions and listen. Try:

“What is your timeline then?”

And Layer:

“Based on what we’ve gone over today, how does this sound to you?”

OR

“I can certainly appreciate that, but while you’re thinking it over, consider this…” And keep pitching one or two points you know they really like. And then: “Does that make sense to you?” And if it does, then ask for the order again: “So why don’t we do this…”

Never take one no (or two or three or four for that matter) as the ultimate answer, but instead be ready to pitch the benefits and continue to ask for the order.

The other objection: “We need to do some research first,” can and should also be prevented by qualifying for timeline during the initial call, but if it still comes up, then treat it like any other stall and try to get to the real objection that is hiding behind it. And, as always, use a few proven scripts to make it easy, and ask questions that are designed to get your prospects to reveal what it’s going to take to close the sale. Try:

“I totally understand – just out of curiosity, what parts do you need to do research on?”

OR

“O.K., when you say research, does that involve comparing it to other companies?”

[If Yes]

“And what part of this are you comparing the most?”

OR

“I help my clients do research all the time – in fact, because of I have access to so many resources in this industry, I can usually get answers and solutions they can’t. Tell me, what specifically are you interested in learning more about?”

OR

“And, based on what you know about it now, if your research comes back positive, does this sound like a solution that would work for you?”

[If Yes]

“Great! And what is your timeline for acting on this?”

[If you get a date]

“Terrific! Then let me help you do the research so you can put this exciting (profitable, proven, etc.) solution to work for you today!”

OR

“________, I’ve only given you part of my presentation because I didn’t want to overwhelm you. But apparently I’ve left out some points that you need to know more about. Tell me, what specifically do you want more information on?”

OR

“From what you DO know about this so far, can you see this as being a fit for you?”

[If Yes]

“Great. Tell me what I can do to help you learn more about this so we can put it to work for you.”

As you can see, the more you get your prospect to talk, the more information you’ll have as to what the real hold up is, and what you can do to overcome it. Use the scripts above to help prevent some of these objections from ever coming up or to isolate the real objection and close in on the solution that will work for each particular prospect.

How to Handle, “My supplier is my friend/brother/long term relationship, etc.”

I often get asked the question of how to handle the objection: “My supplier is my friend/brother/long term relationship, etc.” While this is, at first glance, a seeming difficult objection to overcome – and sometimes, if it’s true, won’t be overcome right away – there are ways to position yourself to earn some of the business either right away, or to be the preferred vendor they reach out to if they need to consider making a change. The way to do this effectively is to be prepared with proven scripts. Let’s take it one at a time:

Objection: “My supplier is my friend.”

The way to first deal with this is to explore the relationship briefly and then to qualify for an opening. Use:

“I understand, I also do business with people I consider friends as well. Tell me, how long have you been doing business with him/her/them?”

Layer:

“And who were you doing business with prior to them?”

Layer:

“And when was the last time you did a comparison with another provider?”

[If never]

“Well then, it’s a good idea to at least get another opinion/quote of services just so you know that you’re not only getting the best deal and service, but also so you’ll know who to reach out to should you need additional help. Could I at least do a no cost/no obligation comparison quote for you?”

If your prospect says yes, then there’s an opportunity here and you’ve uncovered it.

If they say no, then simply use the “Next in Line Script” below:

“O.K., no problem. One last question: Could I be the next in line person you reach out to in case you ever need to get another quote or service comparison?”

[If yes – take all their information and then]:

“Just out of curiosity, what would have to happen for you to even consider reaching out to someone else?”

This technique, if used as above, is highly effective at getting your prospect to open up and reveal any possible opportunity.

Objection: “My supplier is my brother/relative.”

As above, your first job is to question and explore this objection. Use:

“Hey that’s great. As you know, doing business with relatives can have its upside and downside, how’s your experience been?”

[If great]

“That’s good to hear. Just out of curiosity, how long have you been doing business with them?”

Layer:

“And who did you use before that?”

Layer:

“And what did you like about doing business with a non-relative that you miss now?”

[Regardless of what they say, Layer]:

“Well then, it’s a good idea to at least get another opinion/quote of services just so you know that you’re not only getting the best deal and service, but also so you’ll know who to reach out to should you need additional help. Could I at least do a no cost/no obligation comparison quote for you?”

If your prospect says yes, then there’s an opportunity here and you’ve uncovered it.

If they say no, then simply use the “Next in Line Script” below:

“O.K., no problem. One last question: Could I be the next in line person you reach out to in case you ever need to get another quote or service comparison?”

[If yes – take all their information and then]:

“Just out of curiosity, what would have to happen for you to even consider reaching out to someone else?”

Objection: “I’ve been doing business with my current supplier for a long time…”

Rebuttal:

“How long has that been?”

Layer:

“And has it been that long since you’ve compared prices and services with another provider?”

OR

“You know, a lot has changed in that time; it sounds like this would be a good time to at least get another opinion/quote of services just so you know that you’re not only getting the best deal and service, but also so you’ll know who to reach out to should you need additional help. Could I at least do a no cost/no obligation comparison quote for you?”

If your prospect says yes, then there’s an opportunity here and you’ve uncovered it.

If they say no, then simply use the “Next in Line Script” below:

“O.K., no problem. One more question: Could I be the next in line person you reach out to in case you ever need to get another quote or service comparison?”

[If yes – take all their information and then]:

“Just out of curiosity, what would have to happen for you to even consider reaching out to someone else?”

As you can see, the way to deal with this objection is to get your prospect talking to see if there is an opportunity there. If you use these scripts, you’ll be surprised at what you might uncover.

How to Handle the References Stall

How do you handle it when a prospect asks you for a reference? Do you dutifully provide them with a list of clients they can call? And, if you do, how many of your prospects actually call those references? More importantly, do those prospects that call references ever close?

In my experience when a prospect asks me for references they rarely – if ever – become clients. It’s not that my references are bad (you’ll going to see a rebuttal you can use that will address this) in fact, the references I give are of raving fans that have used me to great impact both professionally and personally. But still, in my experience, references don’t help close the sale.

The reason for this is that asking for references always means the same thing: your prospect isn’t sold on your company or solution. When they ask you for a reference, they have something particular in mind that they want to know more about, and they suspect that you (or your company) can’t provide it. Because of this, asking for a reference is just a way to stall so they can continue to do research on other companies to find the one that addresses their main (and hidden) concern.

That’s why more than half of prospects who ask for a reference don’t ever call them.

So the way to handle the reference stall (which is what it really is) is to isolate it and get your prospect to reveal what the real concern is. And the way to do that is to use one of the scripts below:

Stall: “Do you have some references I could call?”

Response One:

“Absolutely. As you can imagine, I have a folder filled with happy and satisfied clients. But _________, let me ask you – do you think I would give you a bad reference?”

[Let them respond]

“Of course not. I’m only going to give you clients who love us and what we do for them. So what that tells me is that there is something you’re either not convinced will work for you yet, or that you don’t think this is quite the fit you’re looking for. So, while you have me on the phone, please, level with me – what’s the real issue that’s holding you back?”

Response Two:

“I’d be happy to provide you with a reference or two, and let me ask you: if after you speak with them you hear what you need to hear, are you going to move forward with us and put us to work for you?”

[If yes]

“Great! Then hang on just a moment and let me get a client on the phone, and I’ll conference you in. After you’re done with your conversation, we can get you signed up…”

Response Three:

“_________, when someone asks you for a reference for your company or service, have you ever found that some people never even call the references?”

[Let them respond]

“And don’t you get the feeling that there is just something that’s holding them back and they just aren’t quite sold on your company yet?”

[Let them respond]

“Well, since you’ve got me on the phone right now, why don’t you tell me what’s holding you back or what you’re concerned with, and I’ll see if I can answer it for you.”

Response Four:

“I’d be happy to. Now ________, as you might imagine, I’ve got all different kinds of clients using this, so do me a favor: let me know the things that are concerning you, and I’ll then match you up with the right reference who can address those things for you.”

As you can see – when someone asks you for a reference, the most important thing you can do is isolate this stall and get your prospect to reveal what the real concern is. Unless you find out what that is, not only will your prospect not call your reference, but they may never call you back again either…

What the Price Objection Really Means

Of all the objections sales reps get, the “price is too high” is still number one on the list. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean think about your own purchases – whether you’re in the market for a new car, a new house, or even a dinner out with the family – what’s the one common component of your own buying decisions? Budget, right?

So it makes sense that all of your prospects have a budget consideration as well. But be careful because the price objection doesn’t always mean that your prospect can’t afford it. In fact, the price objection is often the biggest smokescreen objection of all – meaning that prospects throw it out to hide what the real objection is. And the reason they use it is because it works: again, everyone understands budget concerns because we all have them…

Top producers know how to go beyond this smokescreen objection and uncover what the real objection is. And once you understand what the price objection really means, you will gain a unique insight into how to deal with and overcome it. Here are five ‘hidden meanings’ your prospect doesn’t want to reveal when they tell you that your price is too high – and what you should do about them:

[Learn how to discover and overcome the price objection with Mike’s Free Webinar: “How to Overcome the Price Objection” on Thursday, July 30th, at 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific. Register Here]

1) They don’t see the value in what you are selling. Often when a prospect tells you that the price is too high, what they’re really saying is that based on what you’re telling them they’re getting, they don’t feel the spend is justified. This often means that you either:
a. Didn’t completely understand their buying motives and so didn’t show how your solution addresses them, or:
b. You didn’t build enough value in the results they are going to get as a result of making the purchase.

Solution: After you’ve clarified that this indeed the case, then it is up to you to go back and build that value by pitching specific points and tying them down to make sure your prospect sees and buys in to the value.

2) They believe they can get it cheaper somewhere else. With the Internet making your solution available to nearly anyone – or a solution your prospect thinks is the same – it’s difficult to compete on price.

Solution: The solution here is in first discovering that your prospect has another option in mind and then doing the straight forward comparison of “services for services.” This used to be called an “apples to apples” close and it’s still highly effective – if it’s presented correctly. The key, however, is to be able to determine whether that’s the issue and then use a properly worded script do the comparison.

3) They actually can get it cheaper somewhere else. This can seem difficult to at first handle, because after all if they can get it cheaper somewhere else, why wouldn’t they do it?

Solution: To answer this question, just ask yourself what motivates you to pay a premium for a product or service you know you could get less expensively elsewhere. Reasons can include:
 a. Getting it from a more well-known source often means that handling any problems, questions or returns is easier.
b. Buying something from a person or company you respect or like is often another reason to go with a higher priced item.
c. Convenience: Sometimes it’s easier or less time consuming to buy a product or service from a source you know and trust – even if you have to pay a bit more.
d. Quality of product. Often times a knock off or generic product is available, but those sometimes don’t come with all the support, instructions, warranty, etc., that you can get buy paying a bit more from the manufacturer.
e. You. The only place your customer can get you – your knowledge, your customer support, your belief and your desire to stand behind your product and make any problems right – is by buying it from your company and doing business with you. This is a powerful buying reason and one sales reps routinely underestimate…

4) Price is just a smokescreen hiding other objections. Often times prospects are not ready or willing to move forward with a purchase for a host of different reasons: If they are a business, then initiatives can change, or personnel changes, timing, scheduling, etc., also affect purchases. Or, for both individuals and companies, there can be multiple decision makers with different objectives, or prospects decide to keep looking or delay or postpone the decision for many other reasons as well.

When prospects don’t want to reveal what is really stopping them from making a decision, they will often just throw out the price objection because it works. Revealing anything else would require an explanation, but saying it costs too much, or that they simply can’t afford it, usually gets sales people off their back.

Solution: The key here is to find a way to get your prospects to reveal what is really behind their decision not to buy and then effectively deal with that.

5) They actually can’t afford it. Sometimes the price objection is just as it sounds: your prospect can’t afford – or chooses not to afford – your product or service. If this turns out to be the case, then it’s something you should have addressed during qualifying.

Solution: Top producers always qualify for budget – among five other things – and they know in advance if a prospect can afford their solution. If you have qualified correctly in the beginning, and you still get the price objection, then you can be sure it’s a smokescreen hiding items one through four above.

As you can see, the price objection isn’t always about the price, but rather, it often means something else. Your job as a closer is to be prepared with a scripted approach to find out exactly what the real reason is, and so position yourself to overcome it.

If you would like some scripts to help you uncover what your prospects mean when you get the price objection, then Sign Up Here for our brand new Webinar: “How to Overcome the Price Objection.”

You will learn six proven scripts that will help you deal with and overcome the price smokescreen. This Webinar is on Thursday, July 30th, at 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific. Mark your calendars and Register Now.

How to deal with, “I’ll have to speak with…”

There are a few objections that seem – at first glance – almost impossible to overcome: “I want to think about it,” is one of them – but a close second has to be the “I’ll have to speak with….” someone else – a supervisor, regional manager, spouse, etc. In this case, like the one before it, the prospect isn’t objecting, per se, but they aren’t saying yes either. In both cases, however, they are stalling the sale and if your experience is like many others, then you know that a stalled sale often doesn’t close. So what to do?

First of all, I hope you anticipated this stall and even gained some insight and leverage for it by uncovering it during the qualifying stage. A simple question like, “And besides yourself, who weighs in on the decision on something like this,” would be enough to expose who all is involved in the decision process. Once you do, you can use any of the layering questions I’ve written about in other articles.

But if you have found this out and you still get this stall when you ask for the deal at the end of your presentation, then you don’t want to say what 80% of your competition says when they get this objection which is, “When should I check back with you?” Instead, you’ll want to begin to delve into the stall and gain more insight into whether it’s something that will potentially kill the deal, or if you can learn enough about the other person or process to properly access if this has the potential to turn into a sale and what it might realistically take to do so.

So the key to this stall is to begin questioning your prospect to learn as much as you can about the other person’s buying motives and their process. As you begin asking some of the questions below, you’ll find that the more information they have about the other person’s process, the more likely it is they are involved in the buying decision, and the less they know, the less involved they generally are and, unfortunately, the less likely it is they can influence them. Choose any of the questions below and use as many of them as appropriate. As always, spend some time to customize them to fit your product or service and your personality.

Objection: “I’m going to have to speak with my regional manager,”

Questions:

“Based on what you know about them, what is their timeline for acquiring this?”

OR

“And what sort of timeline are they dealing with for putting something like this to work for you?”

OR

“Share with me a little bit about the process they’ll go through to make a decision on this?”

OR

“Are they looking specifically for something like this right now, or are they in the information gathering stage?”

OR

“What do you think some of the questions are that they’ll have on this?”

OR

“Is this something they specially tasked you to find, or are you going to be bringing this to them on your own?”

OR

“What questions can you see them having on this?”

OR

“Based on what I’ve shown you, do you think this is something they will approve?”

OR

“What concerns can you see them having on this?”

OR

“Does he/she tend to make quick decisions on something like this?”

OR

“What would be the biggest reason they wouldn’t move on something like this?”

OR

“What would be the biggest reason they would go for this?”

OR

“Is your regional manager (wife/supervisor) generally supportive of your recommendations?”

OR

“Who besides your supervisor would be weighing in on this decision?”

OR

“Would it be O.K. for me to speak with them directly to answer any questions?”

OR

“I know you’re going to explain this to them, but I don’t want you to do my job for me, so I’d be happy to reach out to them directly if that would be alright with you?”

OR

“What would be the best way for me to help them come to a positive answer on this?”

OR

“What would you recommend is the best way I can help them see the value in this?”

OR

“Can we do a conference call right now with them to just see what their initial reaction to this is?”

OR

“Based on the other suggestions you’ve taken to them, what do you think their reaction on this will be?”

OR

“You like this solution, right? And I take it you’ll be recommending it to them, then?”

OR

“Since we both think this solution will work for you, how can you and I persuade them to agree to go with us on this?”

As you can see from these questions, just because your prospect says they need to speak with someone, it doesn’t mean that you have to go away. Instead, by asking questions and delving into the buying process and the decision making process, you’ll learn what it’s going to take for you to advance and close the sale.

The Only Qualifying Question You May Need

I was working with a client the other day listening to one of their rep’s qualifying call, and when the rep presented the cost of the product and asked if that fit within the prospect’s budget, the prospect gave an interesting answer. She said:

“Well maybe, but it depends. I’ll have to first see if what you have will work well enough for us to make the switch.”

Question for you: What would you say next? In the call I was reviewing, the rep then said they should schedule a demo of the product and that during that demo the prospect would learn about how it worked and would then be able to decide. Is that what you would do?

If you said yes, then you’re wrong. Pitching this prospect without having a specific idea of what exactly they are looking for could prove to be a big waste of time. Think about it: why would you want to spend an hour going over a demo wondering (or hoping) that what you said was enough to make them switch? And this leads to the only qualifying question you may need.

The right thing to say here was: “And what specifically would you need to see to determine whether it would be worth switching or not?”

This question (and the other examples below) is the one question that will get your prospect to reveal what their precise buying motive is. And until you understand exactly what it is going to take to earn their business, you’re pitching blind. And this is how most sales reps operate. Many sales reps think the most important thing they can do is get prospects into their pipeline so they can demonstrate their product or service. They think that if they can do enough demos, then they will eventually make more sales.

Smart sales reps – the Top 20% — think much differently. The Top 20% want to know as much as possible in advance of the demo so they can tailor their presentation to the precise buying motives of each prospect. And to do this, they have to ask the qualifying questions which will encourage a prospect to reveal what those buying motives are. The above question is specific to what this prospect said to the rep, but below are some other, more general, questions that will achieve the same goal as well. Find ones that feel comfortable for you to use and then practice, drill and rehearse until they become natural for you:

Qualifying question #1:

“So ________, what specifically would you need to see in our demo next week that would convince you this would be a good fit for you?”

Qualifying question #2:

“And let me ask you this: What specifically would you like me to concentrate on during our presentation next week?”

Qualifying question #3:

“Tell me _________, what area are you most interested in that I can address in detail during our presentation next week?”

Qualifying question #4:

“_________, what is the one thing that you’re hoping this (your product or service) can do for you and your company?”

Qualifying question #5:

“And what would you need to see in the demo next week that would convince you to move forward with this?”

Qualifying question #6:

“Just out of curiosity, what are three main things this (product or service) must do for you before you would decide to go with it?”

Qualifying question #7:

“________ tell me, what one thing could you absolutely not live without – in other words, what must I be able to show you during the demo for you to be able to decide this could actually work for you?”

Qualifying question #8:

“What specifically are you hoping this will be able to do for you?”

Qualifying question #9:

“_________, specifically, what is the one problem you’re having that you hope this can fix for you?”

Qualifying question #10:

“And last, _________, what are you going to be looking to learn more about during our presentation next week?”

As you can see, once you find out exactly what your prospect is looking for, then you’ll be able tailor your presentation to give that to them. Doing this will catapult you into the Top 20% of producers in your company!

How to Overcome the “We tried it before and it didn’t work” objection

Years ago when I first learned how to close sales over the phone, my manager got all the sales reps in the conference room and drew a big circle on the board and put a bull in the middle of it. Then he used his eraser to break the circle, in effect creating openings for the bull to run out of. He explained to us that the ‘doors’ in the circle were objections and stalls the bull would use to escape the circle, and that our job was to answer each objection and close each door thereby blocking every exit of the bull. Once the circle was complete, and the bull could no longer escape the closing circle, he would have no option other than to buy.

While I recognize that this isn’t a very sophisticated analogy and that some people may even think it crude and not representative of today’s interactive and consultative selling approach, I’d like to point out its essential truth: Prospects often going to give you more than one reason not to buy, and it’s your job to be prepared to answer these objections, questions and concerns, close the circle, and repeatedly ask for the order.

The important part of the above paragraph is: “repeatedly ask for the order.” Many sales reps may make one or two attempts to overcome an objection and then give up. And once they do, the “bull” simply walks through one of the remaining open doors and gets away. Only top closers have the fortitude and scripted responses to close ALL the doors and get the prospect to buy. And that’s where having a prepared book of effective scripts comes in.

Today’s objection is a great example. Prospects have many “doors” to escape through, and the objection, “We tried this before and it didn’t work,” is one of them. Many sales reps struggle to overcome this objection, but if you’re prepared for it, it’s easy to close this door. Here’s how:

Objection: “We tried it before and it didn’t work”:

Response:

“I understand, but there’s something you’ve got to keep in mind. Today, technology changes so fast that a solution that came out just a few months ago is seldom comparable to its updated version even this week. You probably see this with apps. Heck, even Facebook comes out with improvements every two weeks, per Facebook. Do you use Facebook?”

[If yes]: “Then you know what I mean.

[If no]: “Well, I’m sure you know what I mean, though.

“But here’s the point: comparing our cutting edge solution to something that you tried 6 months ago – or worse, two years ago! – is like comparing a model T Ford to today’s feature rich automobiles. It simply isn’t the same – and nor will your experience be the same.

Let me point out just two things that we do differently today than you may have been used to in the past….”
[And then point out two or three features you know are perfect for your prospect, then]:

“So here’s what I recommend you do. Let’s get you started on this and you can see for yourself why we’re the number one solution for….”

And there you have it: another door in the circle closed! After you use this close, watch your prospect try to escape through another door, and then simply close that one as well. And soon, once all the doors are closed, you’ll be in the final paperwork, and you’ll have yourself another new client!

How to Question for Budget

Qualifying for budget, or handling objections around budget and money, are areas most sales reps feel uncomfortable in. To start with, I’ve heard many sales reps tell me that bringing up budget or money on a qualifying call is not only uncomfortable, but that it’s inappropriate as well. They say, “I haven’t given any value yet, so it’s too early to talk about budget!”

My response is that if your product or service is out of a prospect’s budget, or if they feel it’s too expensive, then it doesn’t matter how much value you give it – they aren’t going to buy from you. That’s why it’s crucial to qualify for budget up front – just as you would with decision maker, timeframe, etc.

And when objections about money or price come up, again, sales reps often struggle with how to handle it. In fact, most sales reps’ default response is to try to lower the price rather than either build value or help the prospect find other areas to get budget from.

Below you’ll find a variety of ways of both qualifying for budget and asking questions to help assist you in helping the prospect find the budget. Getting comfortable with regularly asking these questions – both during the qualifying stage and during the close – will allow you to both identify qualified prospects and help you close them.

As always, adapt them to fit your product, service or personality and practice, drill and rehearse them until they become automatic for you:

Budget Questions during qualifying:

“How much budget do you have set aside for new advertising?” (This week, quarter, or year)

“How much are you currently spending to attract new consumers?”

“How much budget do you currently spend on keeping or retaining your existing customers?”

“How much have you set aside this?” (Your product or service)

“What do you know about management’s budget when it comes to adding….” (Your product or service)

“Besides yourself, who else would weigh in on making a budget decision on this?”

LAYER:

“And what is their role (or your role) in that process?”

LAYER:

“And what do you know about their budget for adding a new…. (Your product or service)

“How much of a priority is this (your product or service area) for you this month?” (Or quarter)

“How much does your department (or company) spend on new client acquisition?”

“Our solution runs a ballpark of $10,000 up to $50,000.” If you liked what you saw, could you work within that range?”

“What’s your budget for this?”

“What are your plans for (your product or service area) for the upcoming season/quarter for this?”

Budget Questions during the close:

“What is a new customer worth, roughly, to you?”

LAYER:

“And how much budget, per week/month/year, have you set aside to attract those new customers?”

LAYER:

“And how much of that budget is still not used that you could apply to this?”

“When something like this comes up that you believe will work for you (your department or company), how do you normally go about getting the budget for it?”

“How do you draw from next month’s/quarter’s budget to get something like this that you really know will help you?”

“What is your yearly budget for this area (of your product or service)?”

LAYER:

“And how much of that do you have left over?”

“Let me ask you: around this time of year, how do you handle these kinds of purchases?”

“Who else could you get approval from to afford this extra expense?”

“How do you normally get something above budget approved?”

“How can you borrow against next year’s budget to get the profits and results this year?”

“What do you have to do now to make sure this is properly budgeted for next quarter?”

“What other areas/departments can you borrow from to start this service today?”

“If money weren’t an issue here, would you move forward?”

[If Yes]

“GREAT! What are three ways you can think of now to get the budget for this?”

“What did you do last time you really wanted something?”

“How did you get the money last time you really wanted something?”

“We all have ways of getting the money when we really want something, what way do you have of getting the money now?”

“Who (which department) could you borrow from?”

“How about I put you on our low cost down payment program, and you can then set up easy monthly payments so you can get started today?”

As you can see, there are a variety ways of not only bringing up or getting clarity around the budget issue, but of also leading your prospect to revealing how and when they can get or find the budget. Have some fun with this and hit MUTE while you get all the answers and solutions around budget that you need!