The Importance of Confirming Your Answers

Let me give you a quick, easy to use, technique that will make your closes shorter and more effective. The technique is to confirm your answers to any buying question – or any objection – that you get. The importance of this came up for me while I was listening to a series of phone calls during which a sales rep was conducting a demo of a product. When the prospect asked the price, the rep gave it to him, but then he just kept talking to justify it!

It went something like this:

Prospect: “So how much does this cost?”

Closer: “The price for set up in your location is just $700, and then the monthly fee is just $125 per month. Of course we do a lot for you for that set up fee. It takes our tech staff blah, blah, blah… And also, that monthly fee covers blah, blah, blah. In addition, we also blah, blah, blah… And another feature with this is blah, blah, blah, blah…”

What happened on this call is that the closer, in his attempt to justify the price, actually introduced a question which turned into an objection and that led to this sale being stalled. And that’s the big danger whenever you begin talking past the close.

What the rep should have done is use a confirmation statement to see how the price fits for the prospect. Something like this:

Prospect: “So how much does this cost?”

Closer: “The price for set up in your location is just $700, and then the monthly fee is just $125 per month. Does that work within your budget?”

If building more value was required, then he could have gone into a brief explanation of that, but after that, he would still have to confirm his answer (which he and most other closers rarely do).

To take this further, if the prospect then said that it did fit within his budget, the next question would have been:

“And do you think this will work in your company?”

If the answer to that question was yes, then:

“Great! Then let me show you how to get started…”

This way, the close could have happened long before the rep talked past the sale.

This idea of confirming your answer is crucial not just when you answer a question, but also when you answer an objection as well. For example, after you answer a price objection, or objection about availability or any other objection, the thing to do is confirm your answer. Use any of the following:

“Did I answer that for you?”

“Is that more clear now?”

“Does that make sense to you?”

“Do you see why we charge for that now?”

Etc.

And after you do, if you get a yes or get buy in, then you ask for the order! Use, “Great, then let me show you how easy it is for you to get started with this…”

If the prospect then has another question or objection, you answer that as well, confirm your answer and ask for the order, over and over again.

The point here is that if you confirm your answer, you then get to ask for the order. If you don’t, and you’re talking or pitching after you answer a question, then chances are, you’ll talking past the close. And why would you want to do that?

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 Use Assumptive Statements

Want to make your presentations instantly better? Then invest some time and change your closed ended, weak closing statements and questions into powerfully persuasive assumptive statements that lead your buyer to make the decision you want them to make. Assumptive questions are just that – they assume an answer rather than ask it, and in doing so, they cut through any hesitation or resistance a prospect is likely to put up. In addition, a good assumptive question also heads off any smokescreen objection a prospect might try to hide behind.

If you look at your presentation carefully enough, you’ll find many opportunities to replace closed ended questions with assumptive ones. Here are some examples to get you started:

Change: “Do you have any questions for me?”

To: “What questions do you have for me?”

Change: “Would you like to get more business?”

To: “How much more business would you like to get?”

Change: “Do you think you would get more traffic (or leads) from using this?”

To: “How much more traffic (or leads) do you think you’d get using us?”

Change: “Do you think your other (departments/locations/etc.) could benefit from this?”

To: “How many other (departments/locations/etc.) would benefit from this?”

Change: “Do you have a budget for this?”

To: “What kind of budget do you have for this?”

Change: “Do you think your partner/manager/corporate would agree with this?”

To: “Why do you think your partner/manager/corporate would agree with this?”

Change: “Does this make sense to you?”

To: “Tell me, what part of this makes the most sense to you?”

Change: “Is this something you’d like to go ahead and try?”

To: “Let’s go ahead and get you started…”

Change: “What do you think your manager will say?”

To: “How do we get your manager to say yes to this?”

Change: “Are you the ultimate decision maker on this?”

To: “And besides yourself, who else would be making the final decision on this?”

Change: “Is your (current solution) providing all the leads you need?”

To: “What would you like to most improve with your (current solution)?

As you can see, nearly any open ended question can be turned into an assumptive one. And do you see how much more suggestive and powerful they are? Go through your qualifying script, your closing script and your rebuttal scripts and look for opportunities to transform your closed ended questions into powerful and effective assumptive ones. And then watch as you gain more control over selling situations and begin eliminating the objections and stalls that you may be creating right now…

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.

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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 Follow-Up with Prospects and Win Business

A while ago, my wife and I renovated our new home, and as part of this grueling process we had to get many quotes from all different kinds of people. This ranged from window replacement people, plumbers, electrical contractors, painters, tile companies, contractors, fine craftsman, window treatment companies – the list seemed endless. After they finally showed up and saw the work, their next job was to deliver a quote (usually by email). As a sales trainer, the next part seemed pretty straight forward to me – and that’s for them to follow up on their quotes, right?

Would you believe that over 90% of these people NEVER followed up on their quotes? I am absolutely amazed by that! It makes me understand and believe even more in a card I once saw on sales:

SALES STATISTICS
48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
ONLY 10% of sales people make more than three contacts
2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact
10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

Interesting statistics, aren’t they? I always follow up with prospects – and many, many times as well – and that practice alone has made me more successful than 90% of my competition. And after my recent experience with these contractors, I’m even more convinced that just following up regularly gives you a significant edge over your competition. Here is a sample follow-up campaign (emails and phone calls) I use that you can adapt to your sales cycle:

Email #1:

After my initial phone call with a prospect – whether they want information or links to my website – I always send a separate email thanking them for taking the time to speak with me:

Dear (Prospect’s name),

Thank you for taking a few minutes today to tell me a little about your company and what you are trying to accomplish. It sounds like if I can help you (repeat their specific needs here), then there might be a fit between our companies.

I’ve sent you over the (brochure, specs, job scope, whatever you promised – as well as a meeting request) and look forward to our next conversation on (confirm time for next contact).
If you have any questions before we speak, please don’t hesitate to call me back on my direct dial phone number: (Your number).

Once again, thank you for taking the time to speak with me, and I look forward to continuing our conversation next (week).

Sincerely,
(Your Name)

Email #2:

My next contact comes two days later. It always includes something that might be of interest to my prospect. Here is a sample email:

Dear (Prospect’s name),

I was thinking about you and thought you would enjoy seeing/reading the following article: (Name of an article, company brochure, white paper, something related to them). I think this is in alignment with what you’re trying to accomplish.

Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you. Once again, my direct phone number is: (Your number).

Looking forward to speaking with you next (day and time of appointment).

Sincerely,
(Your Name)

Email #3:

My next contact comes with a phone call on the date we have scheduled to speak next (You DID get a specific day and time for your next contact, right?). Often times before this I will also send out an automatic meeting reminder as well. My opening for this call is very assumptive and avoids common mistakes such as: “I’m just calling to follow up,” or “I’m just calling to see if you had time to read the material I sent you,” or “Did you have time to go through our website?” etc. Instead your opening call should something like:

“Hi _________, this is ________ ________ with (your company), how’s your Monday going?”

You know ________, I’ve been looking forward to speaking with you today. I’m sure you looked over the information I sent and probably have some questions, so tell me, where would you like to start?”

Again, always be assumptive, and obviously vary your opening based on whether you’re doing a demo (re-qualify in this case), or simply assume they’ve done what they committed to doing and then ask a question to get them to reveal what they are thinking.

So, by now – by this second conversation – I’ve reached out to my prospect five times! (The first is the email with my information, the second is the email, “Thanks for taking the time,” the third is the meeting request, the fourth is the next email with additional information or an article, and the fifth is the automatic meeting request. Including this follow-up call, I’ve now reached out to my prospect six times! But this is just the start….

After my presentation, I get a specific day and time to follow up again, and I will send another email article or white paper in-between this. And if my prospect isn’t available when I call back, I call them several times a day during the week until we connect – and, of course, I also send emails.

In addition, any prospect in my pipeline also goes into my Send Out Cards campaign, from which they get a physical greeting card from me in the mail each month until they buy. (See this amazing card system here: www.sendoutcards.com/mrinsidesales)

On average, between emails and phone conversations and meeting reminders, my prospects get between eight to twelve contacts within the first two weeks. And then they get a card in the mail each month as well.

Lastly, if a prospect goes dark during or after this, I always send them my “Should I Stay or Should I go” email which gets me a response over 65% of the time – even when every other method fails to get them to react. Here’s what it is:

Subject line: (Prospect Name) Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Dear _________,

I haven’t heard back from you and that tells me one of three things:

1) You’ve filled the position or you’ve already chosen another company for this.

2) You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back to me yet.

3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up, and in that case please let me know and I’ll call 911 for you…

Please let me know which one it is because I’m starting to worry.

Honestly, all kidding aside, I understand you’re really busy, and the last thing I want to do is be pain in the neck once a week. Whether your schedule has just been too demanding or you’ve gone another direction, I would appreciate it if you would take a second to let me know so I can follow up accordingly.

Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Kind regards,”

If this email made you laugh, then think about getting your prospects to laugh as well. Again, this email gets over 65% of my prospects to email me back and let me know their status. Try it, it works.

As you can see, having a follow up system – and sticking to it – will put you ahead of over 90% of your competition. And if you’ve qualified a lead properly in the beginning, then this kind of perseverance is often enough to win you the business the majority of the time.