Five New Ways to Handle the “We’re Currently Working With Someone.”

If you’re selling one of the more popular products or services on the market (and who isn’t?), then you probably run into this blow off all the time. Like most brush offs, prospects like to use this because it works – unprepared reps usually respond with a feeble: “Oh, O.K, well, could I call you back in 6 months?”

Being prepared with a few good scripts will allow you to get past this objection, and will allow you to qualify an opportunity where most other people will miss it. With the following scripts, I advise you to customize them to fit your personality, product or service, and then to practice them over and over again until they become automatic. Just like you should do with all scripts.

Pick your favorites from the list below:

“We’re currently working with someone else (and we’re happy)”

Response One:

“No problem at all. But while I have you on the phone, what I’d recommend you do is at least learn about a few features we offer that you may not be getting now, so if you ever need to reach out to another company, at least you’ll have an idea of what’s out there. In fact, let me ask you: Are you getting XYZ? (Mention something you offer that your competition doesn’t…)”

Response Two:

“That’s great and let me ask you: if in two minutes I can give you an idea of why more companies are switching to us, would you at least accept an email with my contact information for when you do need to consider using someone else?”

[If yes]

“Great – the number one reason companies switch to us is for XYZ – are you currently getting that now?”

Response Three:

“Who are you using?”

[Wait to hear, then]:

“That’s a good company, in fact, they are the reason that we created our (name your advantage) – it’s something that takes what they do, but makes it better – have you heard about it?”

[Listen for an opening]

“If you’re interested, I can show you two or three other things we do differently, and then you can judge for yourself if you’d like to learn more, fair enough?”

Response Four:

“That’s great – it means you’re in our sweet spot. For the future, though, you might want to know that in addition to the (product/service) you’re getting from them, we can also give you XYZ – would you find that useful?”

Response Five:

“That’s great – because things change so quickly in this market, it means that we can be a great resource for you for when you need to compare pricing or services down the line. Let me quickly ask you:

“Are you the right contact for this?”

OR

“How did you decide to use (the other company) for this?”

OR

“What do you wish they did better?”

OR

“How open would you be if we could show you how to do (XYZ)?

As you can see, these scripts are designed to start a dialogue with someone and get past their initial reflex response. If you can get someone talking to you, you have a much better chance to find an opening and create an opportunity to uncover a qualified lead.

Five New Ways to Handle, “I’m too busy”

Of all the brush offs you get while prospecting, the good old standby: “I’m too busy to talk now,” is right up there with, “I’m not interested,” and “Just email me something.” The reason this is such a popular response with prospects is that most sales people don’t know how to handle it, and so are easily put off and happy to “call back later.” Of course, this is just what the prospect wants them to do, and, since they now have your caller ID#, they’ll know to let the call go to voicemail the next time they see it!

The key to handling this stall – as with all others – is to sidestep it first and earn the right to ask a few, quick qualifying questions to see if you’re really dealing with a qualified buyer or not. And that’s what the following rebuttals allow you to do.

As with any brush off, objection or stall, though, this one is easy to handle if you just take the time to learn some proven responses to it, and then use them with confidence when you get it. To help you deal with this brush off more effectively, I urge you to pick any of the responses below that best suits your style, product and service. Feel free to change them slightly so they are most comfortable for you to use, and then practice them each and every time you get this objection. Here they are:

“I’m too busy to talk right now”

Response One:

“I completely understand, and I know what it’s like to be interrupted. Tell you what: Before I schedule a call back with you – let’s take just a moment now to make sure this is something that’s even worth it for me to call you back on.

Quick question: How open are you to considering a new vendor to handle your (product or service), if you found you could realistically save your already limited time and money?”

OR

“Quick question: We supply/have a solution for/provide (your product or service), and the clients who schedule a 10 minute call with us are really happy they learned about it. I’m willing to call you back later today or even tomorrow morning, but first – what would you say your level of interest would be in making a move to a more efficient way of (doing what your product or service does)?”

Response Two:

“I’m with you, and let’s face it – we’re all too busy until we hear about something that can really benefit us. Let me tell you in a nutshell how this can help you, and then if you’d like to know more, we can schedule a time that’s better later – fair enough?”

[If yes, then briefly give a description and use a qualifying tie-down question.]

Response Three:

“Got it and I won’t keep you. Quick question: Are you the right person to speak with in regards to (your product or service)?”

[If yes]

“Great, then before I schedule a time to get back with you, let me just ask you two quick things:

Number one, if you found that you could increase (list a benefit or two), and reduce your (again, list a benefit or two), how open would you be to viewing a demo on it?”

And two, if you decided this was worthy enough to seriously consider, who, besides yourself, would weigh in on making that decision?”

“Great, then let’s go ahead and schedule that. I’ve got two times tomorrow…”

Response Four:

“Wow, you do sound busy! No worries – I can either call you back in 20 minutes, or we can spend just two minutes now to see if this is a fit for you – if not, then I won’t have to bother you again. How does that sound?”

OR

“Yes, you do sound busy. O.K., would you like me to call you back in an hour or later this afternoon?”

OR

“O.K., no problem. Let me see….Well, I could call you back this afternoon or we could set up a brief 5 minute call tomorrow morning – which works best for you?”

Response Five:

“Hey, I know what it’s like to be busy – but the last thing I want to do is schedule a call back if you’re really not interested in what I’ve got. Let’s do this: I’ll ask you just a quick question or two and if there’s some interest on your end, then we’ll schedule some time later – fair enough?

[If yes]

“Great. _________, are you open to purchasing/investing/learning about a new way to handle your (your product) if you were convinced it would save you time/make your job easier/be better at…?”
OR

“Quickly, what would your timeline be for (changing/investing/trying) a new service for your (what your product or service does) if you found you could dramatically increase/save, etc.?”

Once again, remember that your job is to earn the right to ask a few qualifying questions to see if your prospect is even worth putting on your call back list. And by using the scripts above, you’ll be able to do just that.

How to Handle: “I haven’t looked at the information yet.”

Of all the objections sales reps get when they call a prospect back to close them, this is perhaps one of the most frustrating – and the reason is because it’s usually caused by the sales rep! Here’s what happens: Sales reps send an email or brochure or link about their information out to a prospect, and when they call back, they invariably open the conversation with:

“Hi, I’m just calling to see if you received the information I sent out to you?”

OR worse:

“Hi, just following up on the information I sent to you – ah, did you have a chance to go through it yet?”

What do you think the prospect will say? Nine times out of ten the prospect will give you the stall: “I haven’t looked at it yet…” And then the sales rep is stuck and usually ends the call trying to schedule a time to get back with them…and you can imagine how this goes.

So, the first tip is to STOP asking IF the prospect has received/read/gone through the information, and instead open your calls with this assumptive opening:

“Hi this is _______ _________ with __________ calling about the information on our lead production process you wanted me to send to you. Now I’m sure you’ve gone through it a bit and probably have some questions for me. What stood out to you the most?”

And then hit your mute button and begin listening to what they say, and how they say it.

If at that time you get the stall that they haven’t gone through it yet, no problem! Just use any of the responses below to counter and move past this objection:

“I haven’t looked at the information yet.”

Response One:

“That’s fine, in fact we can go over it together, and this way I’ll be able to answer any questions that come up for you. Can you open that email up for me? I’ll be glad to hold while you do….

Response Two:

“That’s O.K., I know you’re busy, and it’s actually a good thing you haven’t looked at it yet. This way, while I’m on the phone with you, we can go through it together, and I can answer any questions that come up. Do you happen to have it in front of you?
Then use any of the following open ended questions to engage the prospect:

“By the way, how are you currently handling your lead flow right now?”

OR

“You mentioned that you have compared these kinds of services before – what have you particularly been looking for in a new provider?”

Response Three:

“I understand and that’s O.K. Let’s do this: let’s spend just a few minutes together right now and I can direct you to a few points that might have particular interest to you. Go ahead and open that email/brochure up…”

Response Four:

“It sounds like you’re as busy as me! No problem, though, here’s what we can do: while I have you on the phone, let me point a couple of things out to you so that later when you have more time to go through it, you’ll know what to look for. Can you open that email briefly for me?”

Response Five:

“That’s O.K.; I know how busy you are. If you have just a minute now, I’ll be happy to quickly point out some of the points that would appeal to you most. That will save you time later when you go through it. Do you have that handy?”

Response Six:

“I’m sorry you didn’t get it; it probably got stuck in your spam filter. Tell you what, I’ll just go ahead and resend that right now…..O.K., it’s on the way to you. Tell me when you see it pop up….”

Response Seven:

“I’ll go ahead and send the brochure again, and while it’s on the way to you, let me just ask you:

“How motivated are you and your department to make a change in the way you handle…?”

OR

“And if you do like the program, besides yourself, who else would have to weigh in on this decision?”

And any other re-qualification questions.

Response Eight:

“I completely understand and how about this: Go ahead and open that email up, and I’ll just briefly point out two things that will give you a framework for when you have time to go through it. Do you still have it in your inbox?”

Response Nine:

“Hey I get that all the time, so no worries. If you have just a few minutes now, I’d be happy to point a few things out – can you open that email briefly for me?”

Response Ten:

“I completely understand and let’s schedule a time when we can go over that together – how does later today or tomorrow morning look for you?”

As you can see, the best way to deal with the “I haven’t had time to look at the information yet” objection is by not causing it to begin with! After that, if you do get this annoying stall, it’s easy to sidestep it – if you know how. And now you do!

Four Ways to Get Past the Gatekeeper

Getting screened out by the receptionist or gatekeeper is still one of the biggest causes of phone aversion. Questions like, “Will he know who’s calling?” or “Will he know what this call is about?” or “Has she spoken to you before?” are enough to keep any inside sales rep up at night, and the sad thing is it doesn’t have to be this way! If you follow the basic philosophy provided below and then adapt and use any of the scripts provided, you can instantly increase your transfer rate to the decision maker.

The basic philosophy on getting gatekeepers to put you through is this: Stop trying to hide, trick or fool the gatekeeper into thinking that you already know or have spoken to the prospect before. And this means stop just giving your first name or not providing your company name, and most of all, STOP pitching the gatekeeper. The rule is this:

Gatekeepers just need to know your full name and your company name so they can let the decision maker know who’s on the line. In most cases, that’s it. Use the following proven techniques to fly by them and be connected directly with the decision maker the majority of the time:

Technique #1: Please, please, please. I’ve written about this technique before, but it remains the absolutely most effective and easiest one to use to increase your chances of being put through up to 65 – 75% of the time (I still use this every single day and it WORKS!). Here’s how it goes:

Receptionist answers: “Thanks for calling the ABC Company, how can I help you?

You: “Hi, this is _______ _______ with (your company name), can I please speak with ________, please?”

That’s it. Simple, easy and very effective. The key is to say this with a warm smile in your voice, and make sure you use “please” twice and use the instructional statement: “can I please speak with…” The other key is that you give your full name and your full company name as well (even if it doesn’t mean anything to them).

Technique #2: If you don’t know the name of the contact you need to speak with, use the “I need a little help, please,” technique. Try:

Receptionist answers: “Thanks for calling the ABC Company, how can I help you?

You: “Hi, this is _______ _______ with (Your company name), I need a little bit of help please.”

[It’s crucial that you WAIT for the person to ask how they can help you…]

“I need to speak with the best person who handles (your product or service), who would that be, please?”

Over 50% of the time, if you’ve asked this nicely enough and waited for their response, the receptionist will route you to the right department. When you get there, simply use the previous opening again, and you’ll most likely be connected with the right contact.

The key here is to: 1 – Be polite and put a smile in your voice, 2 – Use please, and 3 – Make sure and WAIT for the person to respond BEFORE you ask for the right person. This works, if you follow the above 3 steps.

Technique #3: If you don’t know the name of the contact, an alternative is to ask to be put through to a department instead, and then use the technique above. This is a great way to completely bypass the gatekeeper and so avoid all screening. Use this:

Receptionist answers: “Thanks for calling the ABC Company, how can I help you?

You: “Hi, could you please connect me with the marketing department, please?”

Again, be assumptive and use that powerful word, “Please.”

Technique #4: If you get screened further, you absolutely MUST know exactly how to respond. Use any of the following techniques:

If the receptionist asks: “Is he expecting your call?”

You answer: “I don’t have an appointment, but could you please tell him that _______ _______ is holding please?”

If the receptionist asks: “Will he know what this call is about?”

You answer: “Not specifically, but please tell him it’s about (his lead tracking), I’ll be happy to hold on, please.”

(The key to the above answer is that you ARE NOT going to pitch the receptionist, and you ARE going to use please and use an instructional statement.)

If the receptionist asks: “Have you spoken to him before?”

You answer: “Not about his lead tracking, but could you please let him know that ________ _________, with __________ is holding please?”

Don’t mistake how simple these techniques seem – they are powerful and they work IF you deliver them warmly and exactly as stated. Just remember, a gatekeeper’s main goal isn’t to screen you out, but rather to pass on accurate information on who is calling from what company, regarding what. Will you run into some gatekeepers who are harder to get through? Of course. And will these techniques work all the time? Of course not. But if you use them consistently, you’ll find that they will work about 70% of the companies you call into. And I’ll bet that’s a lot better than how your current techniques are working now, isn’t it?

Five New Ways of Handling the “Just Email Me Something”

While the method of this stall has changed throughout the years: it went from, “Just put a brochure in the mail, and I’ll look at it,” to “Why don’t you fax something to me, and I’ll look it over,” to now it’s, “Just email me your information, and I’ll look it over,” unfortunately, it all still means the same thing: your prospect either doesn’t want to take the time to be pitched, or they don’t need what you’re selling.

Either way, this stall sets up one of the most frustrating parts of sales – the chase. Think about it: how many times have you sent off your information and, when you’ve been fortunate enough to “catch” the prospect again, you’ve heard: “I haven’t looked at it” or “We’re not interested at this time”? Probably a lot, right?

The way to avoid this is to earn the right to ask a few key qualifying (or disqualifying, as I like to call them) questions so you can save both of you a lot of time and effort later on (to say nothing of saving yourself a lot of disappointment as well).

The solution, as always, is to be prepared for this brush off with a good script that fits your personality and product or service. Take the time now to adapt and customize one or more of the responses below so you are prepared the next time your prospect uses this stall.

Response One:

“I’ll be happy to do that, but once you see the material, you’ll probably have more questions than answers…so let’s do this first: I’ll ask you just a couple of quick questions to see if this is even a fit for you at this time, and then, if it is, I’ll send you some targeted information – sound fair?

[If Yes – ask any appropriate of the questions below]

“First, would you be the right contact for handling (XYZ)?”

OR

“I know I called you out of the blue, but if you found that you could (give a benefit of your product or service), what might your timeframe be for considering making a decision on it?”

OR

“How are you currently handling (XYZ), and what might motivate you to consider making a change?”

OR

“How open are you to seriously considering making a change (or making a move on) XYZ in the next one or two months?”
Now note about this rebuttal I put in the question: “sound fair?” at the beginning. You can leave that out if your prospect is in a rush or if you can tell you’ve caught him/her at a bad time – you’ll need to decide on a case by case basis.

Response Two:

“You bet I can – what’s your email address?”

[Take it down and then email them your information!]

“O.K., I just sent it. Now while you open that up, let me ask you a quick question:

“How do you get involved in ordering/handling/working with the XYZ?”

OR

“From a needs standpoint, how motivated is (your company/department/are you) to change/fix/replace/buy XYZ right now?”

OR

“What would you need to see in the information I just sent you for you to become interested in learning more about what we do?”

Response Three:

“I’d be more than happy to do that – where would you like me to email that?”

[Take it down and then email them your brochure.]

“O.K., it’s on the way to you. What I’d like to do right now is take just two minutes to get an idea of what’s important to you, and then I can direct you to that part of the information when you get around to it. Let me ask you:

“How do you get involved in ordering/handling/working with the XYZ?”

OR

“From a needs standpoint, how motivated is (your company/department/are you) to change/fix/replace/buy XYZ right now?”

OR

“What would you need to see in the information I just sent you for you to become seriously interested in making a change in how you’re handling XYZ now?”

Response Four:

“I have a better idea: rather than send you something you may not be really interested in, I’ll save you the time of going through it – or deleting it! – by asking you just a couple of quick questions now to see if there’s really a need. If there is, then I’ll have my assistant email you something:

“Are you the best person to talk to about changing/replacing/ordering the (XYZ)?”

OR

“I know I called you out of the blue, but if you found that you could (give a benefit of your product or service), what might your timeframe be for considering making a decision on it?”

OR

“How are you currently handling (XYZ), and what might motivate you to consider making a change?”

OR

“How open are you to seriously considering making a change (or making a move on) XYZ in the next one to two months?”

Response Five:

“Be happy to do that – where do you want me to email that to?”

[Then]

“And while you have me on the phone, let me briefly ask you just a couple of quick questions which will determine whether or not it makes sense for me to follow up on information I’ll send you. For example:

“How likely are you (or your company/department) to be in the market to make a change in (the way you handle XYZ) if you found a better alternative?”

OR

“If you like what you see in the information, what would the next step for us be?”

OR

“What would realistically stand in the way of us doing business together in the next few weeks if you saw some value in the information?”
There you have it – five new ways to handle the age old brush off – “Just mail/fax/email me some information.” As will all new scripts, take some time to adapt them to fit your product or service, and to fit your personality and style. Once you do develop an effective way of delivering this information, then commit to practicing, drilling and rehearsing it until it becomes automatic for you.

5 Things I learned from Stan Billue

Stan Billue, AKA, “Mr. Fantastic,” is a legend in the world of inside sales and telemarketing. A high school dropout and self-described failure at sales and life, Stan made one of the most dramatic turnarounds ever heard of. He did this by getting a mentor, committing to master sales and deciding to do whatever it took to be the best. And he did. Stan went on to become a top sales producer, international telemarketing sales trainer and consultant, and he’s mentored and trained more millionaire sales professionals than anyone I’ve ever met – including making me one, too.

In February this year (2015), Stan sent me an email letting me know of some terrible news: he had just received results from his internist that showed he has advanced pancreatic and liver cancer, and that he’s been given 3 to 6 short months to live. I’m in touch with Stan often, and as you might expect he has good days and bad days, good hours and not so good hours. He’s really living in the moment right now, and we wish him all the best.

In talking to him early during his diagnosis, I asked if there was a way I could help him, and asked if he would be willing to do one last webinar, and he graciously agreed. Because of his health, we recorded it and you can see it here. Stan gives some great tips from a lifetime of inside sales, and I highly recommend you watch and absorb it.

In today’s ezine, I wanted to list 5 things I learned from Stan that helped me become the absolute top of my profession. I hope you, too, find them useful:

1) In 1985, a financial services firm I worked for flew Stan in for a two-hour keynote in a swank Beverly Hills hotel. All the reps from 5 branch offices crammed into the meeting room, and Stan delivered one of his signature speeches that was packed with gold. The one thing I remember the most was when he gave the following advice on what it takes to separate yourself from the majority of mediocre sales reps to become the best:

He said, “If you’re willing to do the things that most sales reps will never do, then soon you’ll be able to enjoy the things that most sales reps will never be able to have or do.”

I took that advice to heart and vowed, then and there, to do the things that I knew I wasn’t doing (and that I knew 80% of the sales reps in the office weren’t doing), and within 90 days I was the top rep out of 25 in my office. Nine months later, I was the top rep out of all 5 branch offices. I’ve never looked back since…

2) Stan said that you could become an expert at any subject in the world, and that people would pay you for your knowledge in 1 year if you just committed to studying and learning a subject for one hour a day.

Boy is that still true today. I decided that I would study the craft and skill of sales for several hours a day (and more on the weekend), and I did become an expert that people pay a lot of money to. And it’s the same for anything you want to be today in your life: a real estate professional; an iPhonography expert; a therapist, the list goes on and on. If you’re willing to commit to something, you can become an expert and be highly paid doing what you love.

3) Record your sales presentations. Stan said there was just one thing you needed to do to double your income in 90 days – record, listen and critique your calls every day. I thought he was exaggerating, but I was willing to try it and guess what? I did double my income in 90 days! This is still the advice I pass on today, and I spend about 45% of my time as an inside sales consultant listening to and correcting sales team’s skills and techniques by listening to their calls. If you aren’t doing this now, no problem. Just start doing it and you, too, will make unbelievable strides in your career.

4) Learn to listen. While this may sound like a no brainer, it’s truly shocking at how bad I was at it. And, by the way, how bad 95% of sales people that I listen to are as well. Once I made a commitment to using my mute button, though, and as I listened to my recordings to see where I talked over someone or where I needed to improve, that’s when sales began to get easy and enjoyable for me.

5) Commit to lifelong learning in your chosen field or career. This is true in any professional field, but it’s amazing how sales people think they know it all and are resistant to investing the time, money and energy needed to get better. Stan said that if you were willing to become a sponge and were willing to continually improve yourself and your skills, then soon you would be one of the highest paid sales professionals in your industry.

And when you do become one of the best, you will enjoy the best homes, the best cars, the finer vacations and the peace of mind that most sales reps will never enjoy. And it will be yours for life. I’ve found this to be true in my life, and I can’t tell you how much it’s worth it. So many sales people struggle through life and wonder what’s wrong, while a select few enjoy the riches available to them through a career in sales. You can too – “If you’re willing to do the things that most sales reps will never do…”

I will never forget the things that Stan taught me years ago, nor the things he taught me just last week during his farewell webinar. Stan still has a ton of solid sales tips that are relevant, effective and very powerful. If you’d like to hear him discuss these things, or invest in his sales material, you can do so here.

Stan, thanks for time, effort and commitment you’ve invested in your life to helping sales professionals become superstars. I, for one, am grateful.

Eighteen New Ways to Handle “I’m Not Interested”

Regardless of what kind of prospecting you’re doing – whether you’re calling back in-bound leads who have contacted you, or old accounts who haven’t purchased in a while, or just straight cold calls – you’re still going to get a good dose of the blow off objection: “I’m not interested.” While I’ve provided many different ways of handling this in the past, here are eighteen new, customized responses for each of the lead categories from above. Here they are:

For “warm” leads who have filled out an online form or reached out to you in some other way:

“I’m not interested”

Response one:

“That’s perfectly O.K., _________, you’ve probably forgotten that you (filled in a form, requested info, etc.) so I don’t expect you to be interested in what you must think is a cold call. But just to remind you – on (date/time) you (visited our website/dropped by our booth/filled out a form, etc.) do you remember that?”

[If Yes]

“What did you need at that time?”

Response two:

“No problem _________, I also forget half the things I request info on. Just to remind you, we (what you do), and on (date/time) you (visited our website/dropped by our booth/filled out a form, etc.) do you remember that?”

[If Yes]

“Do you remember what prompted you to reach out to us at that time?”

Response three:

“That’s fine, quick question though: When you filled out (our online form, etc.) has anyone else from our office contacted you about it yet?”

[If No]

“I see. Well I do apologize for that. Just out of curiosity, did you get that handled yet or are you still looking?”

For inactive accounts or people you’ve not spoken to in a while:

“I’m not interested”

Response one:

“That’s fine _________, and I’m simply calling to update your account information for our records. Quick question: Are you still the right contact person who handles ordering the ________ for your company?”

Response two:

“Oh that’s O.K., I’m not calling to sell you anything today. Just want to make sure you still know we’re here in case you do need something down the road. By the way, do you guys still carry/use/order ________?”

Response three:

“I get that all the time, and just know that the only reason I’m calling is to introduce myself as your contact should you ever need to check pricing or availability on an item. Quick question: are you the right contact for _________?”

Response four:

“No problem _________. I’ll simply email you my contact information in case you ever do need anything, and then I’ll get out of your hair. By the way, would you be the best person to email this to, or is there someone else who is handling ________ now?”

Response five:

“That’s no problem at all – quick question: is it that you don’t need anything just now, or do you even order/carry/use ________ anymore at all?”

[“We do order, we just don’t need any now.”]

“Great. When you are in the market again, could I be one of the vendors/suppliers/sources you go to for a quote?”

For cold calling or prospecting calls:

“I’m not interested”

Response one:

“Quick question: Does that mean you’re not interested at this moment, but in a few months things could change, and I should keep in touch?”

Response two:

“Who else at your company do you think might have a need for something like this?”

Response three:

“I’m with you – quick question though: are you the right contact for this, or is there another department (or person) I should check with?”

Response four:

“When should I check back with you?”

[If given a date]

“Great. So I can be more prepared for that, quick question: are you the right contact for this?” (Then add other qualifying questions)

Response five:

“If you were to be interested, what is the typical (volume, amount, frequency, etc.) that you normally order/use/need?”

[If they tell you]

“And who do you normally get that from?”

Response six:

“When was the last time you were interested in something like this?”

Response seven:

“And what would have to change for you to be more open to something like this in the future?”

Response eight:

“Should I lose your number or put you on a 6-month follow up call?” (Say with a BIG smile!)

[If call back in 6 months]

“Great. What should I keep an eye out for in between then?”

Response nine:

“The next time you are interested in (your product), could I get back with you and see if we can help?”

[If yes]

“When should I follow back up with you?”

Response ten:

“Thanks for letting me know up front. If I were to get back with you in the future, what would I have to have to get you to be more open to something like this?

So there you have it. Eighteen more ways of handling the “I’m not interested” objection. Make sure to customize these to fit your product or service and to fit your personality. Once you find one that feels right, and that gets your prospects to open up, then stick with it and practice it over and over again. Remember: practice of the right responses will always make perfect.

Don’t Say That, Say This!

Sales is set of skills that anyone can learn. If you learn and then practice the right skills, then things will be easier for you, and you’ll have more success. But if you don’t learn and use the right skills, then you’ll tend to wing it and make it up as you go along. This strategy is proven to lead to more frustration and less sales. It’s sad but true: most sales reps use ineffective skills and techniques that actually make it harder for them to succeed. And until you change what you do, you’ll just keep getting those poor results.

Below are five examples of poor techniques, I call them “Don’t say that,” followed by what to say instead. Look at these and ask yourself how many of these you are using and then make a commitment to begin using the more effective statements instead, and see for yourself how much easier selling over the phone becomes…

While prospecting, don’t say:

“Wonder if I caught you at a good time?”

OR

“Is this a good time for you?”

While I know it sounds polite to ask permission before you begin a conversation, giving your prospect a chance to avoid speaking to a sales person (you) is almost always a bad idea. If I’m ever given that option, I always say it’s a bad time just to get you off the phone. There is a better way to acknowledge that you are barging into someone’s day unannounced, and here it is:

Say this instead:

“________ I know you’re busy, so let me briefly ask you just one thing: we provide (your product – to other like companies or clients) and it may help you, too. Quick question:

“How do you currently..”

OR

“When was the last time you compared…”

OR

“Are you the right person to speak with regarding this?”

This technique works on several levels: First, you’re acknowledging they are busy and letting them know in advance that you’re going to be brief. Second, the opening is short and you immediately get to a qualifying question. And by getting to a question quickly, you’re giving your prospect the opportunity to tell you if they’re busy or not – don’t worry, if they don’t have the time, they’ll tell you. This is much better than offering them the out in the beginning. Third, by asking a qualifying question (and feel free to customize what you want to ask), you’re actually learning something about your prospect. Overall, this is the much more effective opening.

While prospecting, don’t say:

“I’m calling to learn a little bit more about your company…”

Quick: what’s the one thing you and your prospects don’t have enough of? Time. One of the biggest causes of resistance from your prospects is the idea of a sales rep taking some of their precious time to pitch them on something they probably don’t want anyway. I groan when a sales reps calls me and starts pitching, and when you’re at home and a telemarketer calls you, how do YOU feel?

While opening your call by asking, “I’m calling to learn a little bit more about your company,” might sound consultative and in your prospect’s best interest, it isn’t perceived that way. That’s why it’s much better to:

Say this instead:

“________ briefly, we help companies do XYZ, and I just have a quick question to easily find out if this is a fit for you as well…

“How do you currently..”

Or

“When was the last time you..”

OR

“Are you the right person to speak with regarding this?”

Once again, the key is to be brief and to get to a qualifying question quickly. Your prospect will appreciate that you’re getting to the point right away, and this immediately separates you from all the other sales reps calling to steal their time.

While prospecting, don’t open your call like this:

“The reason for my call is that we provide accounting solutions for companies that process more than 150 employees in a month. Our solution is ideal for companies like yours in that we can save you both time and money handling…..”

Believe it or not, most sales reps start a call with a product dump monologue that instantly puts prospects in a bad mood. Nobody cares what you do or how you do it. Instead, what they want to know is if it’s a fit for them and how it can help them. And that’s why you must, absolutely must, get to the point quickly and ask them a question so they can engage with you. Try:

Do open your call this way instead:

“The reason I’m calling is to see if you’d be a good candidate for what we do. _________ in a nutshell we have a super easy solution that saves companies as much as 15% monthly in the way they process their employee checks. Let me ask you just two quick questions:

One: Who are you using now to process employee payments?

Two: If we could also save you 15% of your monthly expenses, how open would you be to seeing if this would be a fit for you?

This opening is much better for several reasons. First of all, it’s short (always a good thing on a cold call). Next, it lets them know you’re simply calling to see if they would be a fit (which is what they want to know as well before they’re willing to invest more time to speak with you). It also tells them your solution is “super easy” (and who doesn’t like that?). Then it gives them a benefit (the 15%). Lastly, you’re immediately giving them an opportunity to interact by asking them questions.

While prospecting, don’t say:

“Are you the person who would be making a decision on something like this?”

The biggest problem with this approach is that it’s closed ended. It requires a “Yes” or “No” answer, and that allows the prospect to hide behind a smokescreen answer. It’s much easier for them to say yes and avoid getting into the real decision tree that you’ll unfortunately find out later on (when you’re trying to close the deal).

Say this instead:

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

Ah, the power of the open ended, assumptive questions. This question immediately cuts through any smokescreen your prospect would otherwise use, and it automatically gets them to reveal who else is involved. And let’s face it, most people will consult with someone (or multiple people) when making a decision. Isn’t it better to find out in advance?

While closing, don’t respond to the objection:

“I’ll run this by my regional manager (or boss or partner, etc.) and see what he/she says”

With:

“And when should I get back with you?”

So much time and energy can be saved if you prepare yourself for this common stall in the beginning and learn how to answer it correctly. First of all, the last thing you want to do is hand control of the close over to your prospect by asking when you should get back with them. Instead:

While closing, do respond to this objection this way:

“Terrific, and if he gives you the O.K. to move on this, what other questions would you have for me?”

OR

“O.K., and let me ask you: Based on what you’ve seen so far, is this something that you’d be inclined to move forward with if the decision were up to you?”

[If Yes]

“And how much influence do you have with your regional in deciding on something like this?”

One of the big keys to success in sales is to understand that 80% of the objections you’re going to get are the same ones you got yesterday and that you’ll get again tomorrow. In other words, they’re all the same! Once you realize this, you’ll have a distinct advantage if you take the time to prepare the right responses to the stalls and objections you know you’re going to get.

The response above allows you to isolate the stall at the end of your close and get right to the real objection. In other words, if the prospect isn’t sold, then speaking to someone else is just a smokescreen that won’t go away when you call them back. Finding out now gives you the ability to deal with the real objection, and it’s best to do it now while you’re in the closing arena.

As you can see by the techniques above, sales is a series of skills that anyone can learn. The key, however, is to learn and use the right skills! Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect; it only makes permanent. If you use poor skills over and over, you’re not going to improve. Conversely, making small adjustments in the techniques you use can have a BIG impact on your results.

But don’t take my word for it. As always, try these scripts for yourself and see how much better of a reaction you get, and how much easier your cold calling and closing presentations go.

How to Qualify Prospects without Interrogating Them

Qualifying prospects during the initial call is one of the most important things you can do in sales, but for anyone who’s done it, you know that what’s difficult is asking a series of good questions without sounding like you’re interrogating your prospect.  Admittedly, there is a fine line between having a dialogue with someone and asking enough questions to see whether they qualify for your product and service, but how exactly do you do that?

It’s easy if you follow the steps below. Remember to always feel free to customize these questions to suite your personality and your product or service:

Step One: The first thing you need to do is frame an opening question that gives you the right to continue asking questions. Strange, I know, but the key word here is “frame” your question to earn the right to qualify. Here are some examples:

“_________ would it be O.K. if I asked you just a couple of quick questions to see if this would be a fit for you?”

OR

“_________, it sounds like this might work for you; do you mind if I ask you just a few questions so I can find the right fit?”

OR

“__________, I know you’re busy, and I’ll be brief. There’s just a few questions that will help give me an idea of what best to focus on when we next speak – do you have just a couple of minutes for me now?”

OR

“__________ let me get a clear idea of just a couple areas of importance for you, and then I’ll be in the best situation to tailor a demo for you next week.”
OR

“_________, would you mind if I took a few minutes to ask you a couple of questions so I can understand exactly what you might need, and how we can help?”

Framing your qualifying questions in this way always gives you some leeway in where to start and what to start asking. It also sets the right expectation for your prospect, and earns you a window to begin the qualification process.

Step Two: The way to seamlessly continue the qualification process is to use layering questions, when appropriate, to drill down on some of your prospect’s answers. Layering questions are simply questions that tag on to the previous question, and they are used to get even more information on a specific area.

Most sales reps have never taken the time to learn the fine art of the layering question, and haven’t developed the ability to truly listen enough which is a prerequisite for using them effectively. If you’re willing to learn and use them, though, you’ll be rewarded with a wealth of information which will make the closing process that much easier. Here’s some examples:

Question: “And besides yourself, who else weighs in on the decision?”

Layer: “And how do you figure in to that?”

OR

Layer: “And how much influence do they have?”

Another:

Question: “In terms of budget for this, how would our solution at (your price point) fit in right now?

(If their budget is tight right now, or they are not sure, then use:)

Layer: “What other department or bucket could you get the budget from if you really liked this?”

OR

Layer: “When you find something that you absolutely must have, where do you borrow the budget from?”

OR

“How have you made something like this fit in before?”

Another:

“What one thing can you think of that might prevent you from moving ahead on this in the next two weeks?”

Layer: “And how would you get around that?”

OR

“How have you been able to side step that in the past?”

OR

“And what would you propose to do if that happens?”

As you can see, with the proper use of layering questions, you will not only learn more information about the important qualifying areas, but you’ll also be able to seamlessly continue the conversation. Layering questions allow you to extend the qualification phase naturally as each question is a continuation to the question that was asked previously. This is the way you’ll earn the right to continue qualifying without sound like you’re interrogating someone.

Step Three: Address any Red Flags that come up during the process. One of the biggest problems sales reps run into is hearing possible problem areas come up and not addressing them. Many sales reps just hope these problems will go away or not come up again, but if they’re honest, they know they never do. In fact, the truth about Red Flags is that they almost always come back up and often tend to ruin the deal in the end.

By addressing them when you hear them, you not only have a chance to qualify them, but you also earn the right to keep asking questions while keeping your prospect engaged. Here are some examples:

Red Flag: “Well, I’ll have to run this by corporate.”

Ask: “What has their answer on something like this been in the past?”

OR

“And what do you think the chances of them approving this is?”

OR

“Based on where you see them leaning, what do you think they’ll say?”

And then:

“How can we best get them to approve something like this?”

Red Flag: “We’re getting several quotes on this…”

Ask: “Which one do you like best so far?”

OR

“What does the winning quote have to look like from your point of view?”

OR

“Our price point on this will be X. How do you think that will stack up with what you’re willing to spend on something like this?”

OR

“And what do you think they’ll need to see to pick us?”

Red Flag: “Well, we’re in no hurry on this.”

Ask: “And what is your realistic time frame like?”

OR

“What might change that?”

OR

“What’s going to motivate the decision to finally act on something like this?”

As you can see, asking questions of prospects – without sounding like you’re interrogating them – is easy if you take the time in advance to prepare the right kinds of questions. And don’t forget why you’re asking all these qualifying questions: 80% of the sale is made during the qualification call. If you do this part of the process correctly, then your closing percentage will go up effortlessly. And if you don’t thoroughly qualify, then you’ll likely just continue putting unqualified leads into your pipeline, and you already know how that turns out…

So reframe the prospecting call and learn how to earn the right to ask, and continue asking, qualifying questions without sounding like you’re interrogating a prospect. As you can see, it’s easy if you know how.

Want to download a script book filled with proven scripts to help you cold call and close more sales over the phone?  Click Here and see why Jeffrey Gitomer recommends my “Complete Book of Phone Scripts”!

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The Two Most Important Qualifiers (And How to Ask For Them)

Based on my last article “A Fresh Prospecting Approach for You,” many people are wondering what the two most important qualifiers are for any given sale. That’s a good question, and I’ll tell you that over the years I think they have changed. In the past, budget was the big stumbling block and the issue that sales reps really needed to drill down on. Now don’t think that budget isn’t important – it is! – but now with pricing being so transparent on websites and across social media, I don’t think that budget qualifies anymore as one of the “Big Two” qualifiers.

Before I go on, let me remind you that there are six main areas of qualifying that you need cover and know the answers to. They are:

• Why a prospect will buy (their buying motives)
• Why a prospect might NOT buy (potential objections)
• The budget
• Who the decision maker is (or decision makers)
• What their timeline is for making a decision
• And who your competition is for this sale

For all you sales managers out there, if you want greater control over your team, and you want them to get out more qualified leads, then simply put a checklist together for each lead that goes into the pipeline, and make your reps get the answers for the six areas above. I’ve covered in-depth qualifying questions for each of these areas in my book, “The Ultimate Book of Phone Scripts,” so I won’t go over them again here. If you’re a sales rep, remember you still must qualify for ALL SIX of these areas, but I believe now even more emphasis needs to be placed on the “Big Two” below:

• Decision Makers & Competition

The reason these are now so important is because of the Internet. It is now estimated that because of the plethora of information available online (social media sites, websites, blogs, customer reviews, wholesale sites, etc.) that over 60% of a sale is already determined before a prospect even talks to a sales rep. What this means is that the old sales standbys of yesterday “features and benefits” are far less important than they used to be. And that means competition and the decision tree is more important.

So here are some techniques and questions you can use to qualify for these two important areas:

For decision makers start with this basic question:

“And ________, besides yourself, who else weighs in on this kind of a decision?”

Asking this DM question in the assumptive (“who besides yourself”) rather than the closed-ended way of “Are you the decision maker…” often times exposes who else is involved and can even reveal what the decision time-line is like, too.

Once they reveal they have to talk to their regional manager, boss, or partner, you can then begin drilling down on this. Use any of the following layering questions:

“And how are you involved in the decision?”

Or

“And how much input do you have in this?”

OR

“And if you make a recommendation, do they usually go with it?”

OR

“Based on what you know of where they’re leaning right now, do you think this is something they might be interested in?”

OR

“What do you know about their timeline for something like this?”

OR

“What’s your gut telling you about the viability of this going through?”

OR

“What do you think they’d need to see to say yes on something like this?”

The point of layering your questions like this is so you can gather enough information to make your close easier later on. You see, nothing ambushes a closer more than getting to the end of their presentation only to be told that the prospect has to “Show it to someone else.” By qualifying in advance in this way, you’ll get information that you can then leverage at the end of your closing presentation to avoid falling into this trap.

For competition, you can use the following questions:

“And _________, who else have you looked at for this?”

[If they tell you a couple of names, then]

“And what do you think so far?”

OR

“And who do you like best so far?”

And then:

“And why is that?”

OR

“Who else are you going to reach out to for this?”

And then:

“And what are you hoping to accomplish by that?”

OR

“And why is it important to get several quotes?”

OR

“Who have you already looked at and said no to?”

And then:

“And what about them wasn’t a fit for you?”

OR

“Based on what you know of other company’s offerings, what do you like best about us?”

OR

“If you had three very similar proposals on the table, what would be the deciding factor of who you’d go with?”

OR

“What would you need to see from me to stop looking elsewhere?”

Asking these and other qualifying questions to uncover potential competitors will once again prevent you from being blindsided at the end of your presentation. Again, the Internet has changed the buying landscape for most companies and consumers, and it’s crucial to know these (and the other four) areas well before you go into your closing presentation.

And by using these questions, you will!