Monthly Archives: May 2015

Six New Ways to Handle: “I need to talk to my boss/partner/corporate” etc

The stall, “I need to speak with someone” is as old as “The price is too high” objection. Despite it being around before all sales reps working today were born, most still have trouble overcoming it. You’d think that with all the good rebuttals and techniques that have been written for it they might have figured it out, but, alas, most reps still struggle with it.

To help you finally and definitively deal with it, I present you five new, improved and proven ways of handling this stall. Now, let me make something clear: these techniques won’t always work at overcoming this stall (sometimes they will, though!), but they will let you know how much of a stall this put off is, whether or not it’s a smokescreen, and how much of a shot you have at overcoming it, side-stepping it, or setting yourself up for a successful next call (or if there should even be a next call with a prospect).

So let’s start at the beginning. The first thing you need to do is qualify for this stall during your opening call. Do you? If you don’t, then you’re likely to keep getting this at the end of your presentations and, oh, how frustrating that must be for you. If you get it once, then shame on them, but if you keep getting it over and over again, then shame on you. Here’s what you must be asking on your first call:

“And _________, besides yourself, who weighs in on the final decision on something like this?”

And if they tell you their boss or corporate, etc., then you must layer that with:

“And how much influence do you have in that?”

And,

“And what do they usually do when you bring them something like this?”

And

“Based on what you know about how they feel about something like this, what do you honestly think they would do?”

Etc. You must get as much clarity as you can upfront so you know what to expect when you go into your demo or presentation. And, of course, as you begin your close, you must also preface it with:

“And before we get started here, just so we’re on the same page, if you like what you see at the end of our presentation today, what are the next steps for putting to work for you on your end?”

OR,

“At the end of our presentation today, if you like what you see, can you put us to work for you today?”

Again, you must have clarity over the process before you begin your presentation. Once you have that, however, if you still get the “I’ll have to show this to my partner, boss, etc.,” then use one of the proven scripts below to handle it. As always, adjust it, customize it, and make it your own, and then practice, drill and rehearse it until you’ve got it down.

“I need to talk to my boss/partner/corporate” etc.

Response One:

“No problem, and are you going to recommend this to them?”

[If Yes]

“Great! Then I’ll hold on while you check with them…”

OR

“Great! And as you mentioned earlier, they do usually go with your recommendation, right?”

[If Yes]

“Wonderful. Then I’ll go ahead and get the paperwork started on my end – can you reach out and see if they’re available now to run this by them?”

[Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this technique! About 20% of the time, the decision maker is sitting in the next room and some people will go and get the approval right then and save you valuable time in delaying and following up…]

Response Two:

“I understand. Let me ask you two things: One: What do you think the biggest reason is they will put us to work for you today?”

[Listen for the buying motive]

“And two: What do you think is the biggest reason they won’t go with this solution?”

[Listen for what the real objection is and then layer and explore…]

Response Three:

“Of course and I understand – we talked before about your decision process. Let me ask you this, though: is getting their approval the ONLY thing holding us back from doing business together?”

[Listen carefully – if YES then]:

“Will you have time to talk to them before we next speak at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon? Great! Then because you’re onboard with this, I’ll go ahead and prepare the paperwork, I’ll email it to you, and I’ll even reserve a spot for you.”

[Give a brief pause here and wait for push back. If none]:

“I’ll look forward to us moving forward tomorrow!”

Response Four:

“I understand _________.” Tell you what I’d be happy to do: I know you’re behind this, right? Well, it’s not fair to ask you to do my job, so if it’s all right with you, I’ll be happy to reach out to (decision maker) directly and answer any questions they might have – would that be O.K.?”

[If NO]

“No problem. Just out of curiosity, do you think they will go with this?”

[If NO or Don’t Know]:

“What would it take for them to say yes?”

Response Five:

“Well, I know you’re behind this, and I know you need it – as we discussed during out first phone call. I know you’ve tried to sell or buy something in the past, and you’ve probably been told that someone had to “talk to someone else” before, right?

[Wait for a response]

“Well, based on your experience, what do you honestly think is going to happen here?”

Response Six:

“I understand. __________, I’ve been in sales a long time, and when someone tells me they have to speak with someone, it either means they really do, or it means they don’t really have to, and it’s just a way to get me off the phone. I don’t think that’s happening here, but if it is, can you level with me?”

[If they really do have to speak with someone, then]
“Thanks for that. Now, based on what you know about this, and based on the fact that you’d like to see us work together, what do you seriously think is going to stand in the way of this getting approved?”

OR

“Thanks for that. Now, based on what you know about this, and based on the fact that you’d like to see us work together, what do you seriously think it’s going to take to get this approved?”

There you have it! Six new ways to handle the “I need to speak with someone” objection. Remember, some of these will work some of the time, but all of them will help you smoke out the real objection. And once you get a handle on what’s really likely to happen, then you can deal with it and overcome it – or move this prospect to the backburner and move on.

If Closing Sales is the Problem, a Webinar is the Answer…

By Guest Author: Erik Luhrs, The Bruce Lee of Sales & Lead Generation

I get asked a lot of questions about sales. It’s kinda my job.

But the main question that everyone asks, in one form or another, is “How can I close more sales?” After all, at the end of the day that is what we all want, right?

Twenty years ago closing sales was pretty easy. You connected with a prospect, you built a relationship, you went through your process and you got check.

Of course twenty years ago, there were FAR less salespeople trying to contact your prospect, your prospect did not have Google to use for researching solutions (that was the salesperson’s job), your prospect had far fewer choices and far fewer distractions.

So technology has leveraged prospects AWAY from us. Thankfully, we can use technology to leverage them toward us. And the single best technology to use for that is webinars. Why webinars? Let me give you seven reasons.

Watch a short video here

Reason #1 – Webinars are second ONLY to Live events in terms of conversion rate. But webinars have an incredibly higher ROI than Live events because:

• You don’t have the costs (space rental, travel, electronics, shipping, insurance, staffing, food, etc) associated with Live events.
• You don’t have the time delay (3 months out at least and sometimes years) associated with Live events.
• You don’t have the hassle (scheduling, coordinating logistics, contracts, etc) associated with Live events.
• You don’t have the singularity issue of a Live event (you can’t “replay” a Live event).
And that’s just for starters.

Reason #2 – Webinars create instant Authority and Rapport

If you want to have influence over a prospect they must perceive you as coming
from, what I call, the “Mentor” position. This is the person who automatically knows more than they do, so they never question them.

There are plenty of mediums through which to display your “Mentor” status: Books, articles, blogs, podcasts…  But webinars beat all of these because they allow you to combine authority building with rapport building. How so?

Webinars affect all modalities (visual, auditory, kinesthetic), they are dynamic, they are interactive, they are live (usually), and they are intimate regardless of however many people are on. I’d like to see a book (even a NYT bestseller) do that!

Reason #3 – Webinars handle the “Value Proposition”

One mistake salespeople make is believing that they deliver a “value proposition.” They don’t!  The prospect determines what is or is not valuable. It is up to them, not us.  So the best way to help prospects determine our “value” to them is by exposing them to as much of our thinking, stories, philosophies, and ideas as possible.

Webinars are, obviously, a great way to do this.

Reason #4 – Webinars do the heavy lifting of Lead Qualification

One of the biggest pains in the butt is qualifying leads.  As you well know even the best qualification process still lets unqualified prospects through on a regular basis.  Every minute spent with unqualified leads is a minute less spent with qualified ones who can actually buy.

Webinars allow us to interweave our qualification criteria into them, subtly and directly, over and over. This “rinse and repeat” process filters out far more unqualified leads faster, while conversely reassuring qualified leads that they are in the right place.

Reason #5 – Webinars handle Objections faster and easier.

As we get further into the sales process we become more and more concerned about when the objections will show up. And we worry that we might miss them if they aren’t overtly stated.

Yes objections are a signal that they prospect is still interested, but the longer they simmer and hide beneath the surface, the longer the sales cycle takes and the more chance for derailment. And if an objection is not stated out loud, or handled directly, it is game over.

Webinars allow us to indirectly handle objections by addressing them through stories and demonstrations as well as handle them head directly by calling them out ahead of time. Since this is done in a virtual setting the prospect does not realize you are talking to him and his objections. They are simply eliminated without hassle.

Reason #6 – Webinars equal Leverage

Selling one on one sounds impressive. And yes, there are still pieces of the sales process that may require direct interaction between the salesperson and the prospect. But in today’s world, where technology is omnipresent and is used by everyone, focusing exclusively on “face to face” sales is a fool’s game because for every opportunity you get from face to face, someone else is getting 10 by using technology.

Every professionals dream is (or should be) to work once and get paid over and over. Webinars provide this kind of leverage by allowing you to address many people at once and/or recording your webinar and deploying it with prospects as needed and/or repurposing it for different markets or issues.You can’t do that face to face.

Reason #7 – Webinars close sales

At the beginning of this article I said the main question I get asked is “How can I close more sales?”  The answer I tell everyone is the same:
You can close more sales by opening more opportunities!

Salespeople have a tendency to become hyper-focused on the opportunities in their pipeline. This may be common, but it is foolish. We have no idea how many other issues, obstacles, salespeople, fires, and priorities are assaulting the prospects in our pipeline.

We’d like to think we are their main focus, but we aren’t. So your pipeline is precarious at best. And when they disappear “all that effort” we put in disappears along with them. But if we can put “all that effort” into multiple prospects at once, then our efforts automatically yield much higher results.

Webinars are the key because…

• Webinars allow us to engage more prospects faster.
• Webinars allow us to create authority and rapport with multiple prospects at once.
• Webinars allow prospects to discover our worth to them.
• Webinars allow prospects to qualify themselves in or out or our pipeline.
• Webinars allow us to handle objections effortlessly.
• Webinars allow us to leverage our efforts repeatedly.
• Webinars are (or are capable of being) the majority of the sales process.
So, when used properly, webinars allow us to “tee up” the sale.

And that is how you close more sales!

+++++++++++++++++++++

As you’ve seen webinars are an incredibly effective tool you can use to increase sales. But you can’t increase your sales with webinars unless you are actually DOING webinars!

If you are ready to use webinars to close more of your own sales, then you’ll want to check out this short video right now.

How to Deal Effectively with the Influencer

So many closing situations now come down to pitching to and trying to influence an influencer, that it’s time to teach the proper way of doing it. A couple of things first. An influencer is defined as someone who is involved in some way in the decision process – they either help make the decision, or they have to approve your product or service first before they pass it on to other decision makers, etc. The bottom line is that there is someone above them who weighs in heavily or who has the final say on whether or not to move forward with you.

So the first thing you need to do is determine how your influencer fits into the decision process (if at all), and how much influence they have. Use the following questions during the qualification stage to determine this:

“And ________, besides yourself, who else would weigh in on this?”

AND

“And how does that process work?”

AND

“What is your role in that process?”

AND

“And how much influence do you have in that process?”

AND

“What generally happens when you recommend something like this?” (“Do they generally go with your recommendation?”)

Sometimes you’ll be able to get through all these questions during the qualification stage, but if you get rushed, ask as many as you can. It’s important that you have a clear idea of what your influencer’s role is, and how much influence he or she actually has before you go through your demo or presentation later.

By the way, once you begin your demo, it’s always a good idea to go back through these questions before you launch into your pitch. Doing so will give you a head’s up as to how it’s likely to end. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the stall before it even comes up? And once it does, here is how you handle it:

You: “So from what we’ve gone over, it sounds like this would be a great fit for you – let’s go ahead and get you started today.”

Influencer: “Well, I’m going to have to show this to the committee.”

You: “I understand, and just out of curiosity, based on what you’ve seen here today, do you personally think this would work for you (your company, department, etc.)?”

Influencer: “Yes, it looks good.”

You: “Great, then I take it you’re going to recommend it to the committee?”

Influencer: “Yes I will.”

You: “Good. Just out of curiosity, what generally happens when you take something to the committee that you personally recommend?”

OR

You: “Good. Just out of curiosity, when you take something to the committee that you personally recommend, what do they tend to do?”

OR

You: “Great! And how much influence do you have with what they’ll end up doing?”

OR

You: “Great! And how often do they go with your recommendation?”

Note: If you get buy in that they generally go with what they recommend, then:

You: “Wonderful! Since they usually take your recommendation, and since you’re on board with this, here’s what I recommend we do: I’ll go ahead and get the contract out to you and schedule an install date. Once you get the approval, we’ll already have much of the work done to get you going. Now, what is a good time for the installation of this?”

Let’s break this down. The first thing you did (during the qualification stage) was to get clarity over how much influence your influencer actually had over the final decision. This is an important step that most sales people actually miss.

Next, at the end of your close, you make sure that the influencer was sold on your product or service first, before you went down the “committee” path. It’s crucial you get their buy in at this stage.

After you do get their buy in, that’s when you can ask if they’re going to recommend it and how much weight their recommendation carries. After that, you do a trial close on paperwork, etc. You can make this as soft a trial close as you want, the point here is that you want to take your influencer as far as he/she will let you. The further they let you go, the more likely they’ll be a deal later.

Start implementing these techniques in your sales calls starting with the qualification stage. The more you learn about the influencer, and their role, the better equipped you’ll be to take the close further at the end.

A Farewell Story about Stan Billue

As some of you may know, Stan Billue, “Mr. Fantastic,” passed away yesterday, May 11, 2015, of pancreatic and liver cancer. In the 1980’s, Stan was my mentor, and I attribute much of my early success to his sales training materials and techniques. Later, in my career as a sales trainer, Stan and I became colleagues and worked together on sales webinars and such. He will be missed.

One thing I always appreciated about Stan was how he was always closing. It didn’t matter what the subject was, or what was going on, Stan was always looking for the angle and trying to close. I’d like to relate a story he told me a few months ago about what happened the day he was officially diagnosed:

Back in February this year, Stan sent out an email saying he had just been given three to six months to live. This was on a Sunday, and I immediately picked up the phone and spoke with him. He told me that when his primary care physician saw the results of his tests on that Friday, she directed him to go to the hospital and so he went right over.

While at the hospital, they ran some further tests and confirmed that he was gravely ill, and told him he needed to stay in the hospital through the weekend and then go through some tests the following Monday. Stan didn’t want to stay in the hospital, and he started closing the doctor to allow him to go home. Here’s how it went, according to Stan:

Stan: “Well why don’t I just go home where I’ll be more comfortable, and I’ll come back on Monday for the test?”

Doctor: “There is a wait for two weeks to get this particular test, but if you’re a patient in our hospital, we can get you scheduled in for Monday.”

Stan: “Doc, let’s cut the bull here – isn’t it true that you have a lot of pull around here and if you scheduled me for Monday, they’d run the tests on me on Monday, regardless if I was staying here or not, right?”

Doctor: “Ah, I guess so, but in order for you to get the medication I’m suggesting, because it’s so strong, you’d have to be here to get that…”

Stan: “O.K., Doc, but, again, excuse me, but let’s cut all the bull again, and I’m sure if you prescribed this medication because I needed it over the weekend, heck, they do it, right?”

Doctor: “I guess so, but…”

Stan: “And besides that, when I’m at home, I can be with my kitty cat, my family and I can smoke. I mean, you wouldn’t let me smoke here in the hospital, would you?”

Doctor: “Well, no, but we could have a nurse wheel you off the hospital grounds to have a cigarette.”

Stan: “You mean not right in front of the hospital, but ‘off the grounds’? What do you mean?”

Doctor: “Well, the nurse would have to wheel you across the street because you’re not allowed to smoke on the hospital property. And then she’d have to turn around because she’s not allowed to see you smoking…”

Stan: “That sure sounds like a lot of trouble. Why don’t you just schedule me for the test on Monday, send me home with enough medication for just the weekend, release me now, and I’ll come back Monday. Doesn’t that sound much easier?”

Doctor: “I guess so, let me see what I can do.”

Stan went home for the weekend, got to be with his family, and then went back for the test on Monday. Just like that. Stan told me that all his sales and closing skills came into play in that situation, just like in every other situation he found himself in. Always Be Closing.

Stan will be missed, but he will not be forgotten. His sales techniques will live on through my teachings and through many others as well. If there are Pearly Gates up there, and if they refuse to let him through at first, I know Stan will find a way to close St. Peter. Heck he’s probably doing that right now…

Rest in Peace, my friend….

Ten New Ways to Handle the Objection: “The Price is Too High”

The price is too high is an objection that is as old has humanity itself. If you think hard enough, I’m sure you can see the ancient Egyptians walking around an outdoor marketplace haggling with sellers using this very objection. And if you think even harder, you can probably envision weak sellers dropping their prices to make a sale. Things haven’t changed much in four thousand years, have they?

The good news is that today there are a variety of proven ways to handle this age old objection. The most obvious way is to see it for it often is: a smokescreen hiding either a real objection or an attempt to haggle and have you to cave in and give a better price. In either of these situations the technique is to isolate the objection first and see what other stalls they come up with are before you negotiate price. You’ll see examples of these below.

The following rebuttals are broken down into two groups: One set of rebuttals are for business to consumer sales – things like investments, insurance, home remodel, etc., and the other are for business to business. In B to B, the objection often manifests more as a “budget” problem, but many times companies are looking for the best deal as well and so will still try to haggle on price with you.

Below are ten new ways to handle both types of price/budget objections. Pick the ones you’re most comfortable with, then make them your own and practice them until they become automatic. Given the frequency of this objection, you’ll be much more confident once you know how to handle it:

Business to consumer rebuttals:

“The price is too high – I can’t afford that”

Response One:
“I completely understand, and let’s face it – we all have to work within a budget. But there is always a difference between a purchase and an investment. With a purchase, the value usually goes down, so regardless of what you spend – whether you can afford it or not – it’s never going to appreciate or justify its value.

But with an investment – like this is – what you spend always justifies itself and ends up either saving you money in the long run or paying for itself month after month. And it always makes sense to invest in yourself, don’t you agree?”

[If Yes]

“Then here’s what I recommend we do…”

Response Two:
“I definitely hear what you’re saying, but let’s take the price out of this for a moment and let me ask you: besides price, what other reasons do you have for not moving forward with this today?

[Note: I know that’s a negative response, but given that you are trying to isolate the objection and uncover any others, in this case it’s recommended.]

OR

“I understand and let me ask you: if price weren’t an issue on this – in other words, if this were more in alignment with what you could pay, is this something you would move forward with today?”

[If Yes]

“Great! Then tell me, where could you get the money from for this?”

Response Three:
“__________, you’ve probably heard that expression ‘Other people’s money,’ right? Well the good news with this is that you can use other people’s money to purchase it and begin enjoying the benefits right now! We have two ways for you to do that:

You can either put this on a credit card and make whatever payments you can until it’s paid off, or you can take advantage of our introductory offer where you can put no money down and make interest free payments for as long as 18 months!

In the meantime, you get to (start enjoying/the benefit/the protection) of this (service or product) from day one! Which of those two options do you like better?”

Response Four:
“Now _________, for this investment – as with every other – you always have to ask yourself: what is working for me now and what could be working harder? Like all of us, I’m sure you’ve got some stocks or funds that haven’t performed quite as you’d have wished, don’t you?

Well this is your chance to move those under performing investments around and put your money to work for you in a vehicle that can not only help you make up for lost time, but exceed some of your better producing investments.

What comes to mind now that wouldn’t mind putting to better use for you?”

Response Five:
“You know, you said something very important – you said that the price is too high. I’d really like to work with you on this, so help me to understand – what exactly are you comparing this price to?”

Business to business rebuttals:

“The price is too high – We don’t have the budget for it”

Response One:
“You’re right, and I know we’re not the cheapest out there – and it’s important that you heard that right – we’re not the “cheapest” service on the market. And there’s a very important reason for that: The quality that you get with us goes far beyond the few extra dollars you’ll invest today, and let me tell you the top three reasons why….”

Response Two:
“And that’s exactly why we offer our introductory package. Here’s the thing: we’re so convinced that you’ll come to appreciate the added services and value we offer that as soon as you begin using our service, you’ll forget all about the small initial cost.

In fact, you’ll find that in the long run our (product or service) is not only affordable, but it saves you time AND makes you money. And that’s something you’re interested in doing, isn’t it?”

Response Three:
“_________, if you really think about this from a business perspective, you’ll soon see that this is actually something that you can’t afford NOT to do, and let me tell you why: If you don’t put this (product or service) to work for you, while you may save a bit of money today, you’ll be losing money tomorrow in terms of (lost revenues, cost overruns, lost sales and opportunities, etc.). As a business, you just can’t afford to keep doing that.

So here’s what I recommend: Do what all businesses do: Finance this. Put it on your business credit card and make payments, write off the interest, and all the while, begin profiting from the extra business and market share this will bring you. When you’re ahead, just pay off the card and keep the profits from this! Let’s go ahead and do this….”

Response Four:
“You know, a lot of business owners (V.P.’s, etc.) at first think this is an expense, but think again: if it helps to bring you more business, and/or helps you keep the clients and customers you already have, then it becomes an investment in your success, doesn’t it? And that’s how all successful companies grow – they invest in their business.

And that’s what you have the opportunity to do right now. So let’s get you started…”

Response Five:
“I hear you _________, and let’s just say that I could wave a magic wand and get you the money (or reduce the price to where it would fit within your budget). Level with me: what other reasons would you have for not at least considering putting this to work for you today?”

[Now listen for the real objection and deal with it appropriately]

So now you have ten new ways of handling the price objection. Make sure and listen for what the real objection is and then use the right script to overcome it.