Monthly Archives: February 2016

Handling Objections When Requalifying

As I’ve suggested before, it’s always a good idea to requalify your prospect at the start of your demo or presentation. Doing so allows you to anticipate objections and position your presentation to speak to whatever resistance you may face later on.

When I make this suggestion, I get a lot of pushback from sales reps. “But if I ask for the deal before I’ve given the presentation, before I’ve given the value, they’ll just say no!” is the most common objection I get.

So let me make it clear: You’re not “asking for the deal” at the beginning, instead you’re using a trial close to access the next steps and to get a feel for the kind of pushback you might get at the end of your demo. Getting this information is crucial for you to leverage the rest of the call.

There are several ways to use a trial close. There’s the aggressive way below that is appropriate if you’ve been aggressive on the first call and identified the decision maker and time-frame. If you have, then something like this will work:

“_________, as we talked about last week, I’m going to go through everything now, answer any questions you have, and if, at the end of the demo today, you feel this will definitely help you drive more business, then is this something you can put to work for you today?”

Some sales reps (O.K., most sales reps) will be uncomfortable with this kind of requalifying because they haven’t done a thorough job up front. If that’s the case, then here is a softer trial close:

“_________, I’m looking forward to covering everything with you today. Just out of curiosity, if at the end you feel this is just what you are looking for, what would be the next steps to putting it to work for you?”

This is a soft, non-threatening way of finding out what his/her answer is going to be at the end when you ask for the sale. All of you have to agree you’d like to know that, right?

Another, in-between way, of requalifying at the beginning is:

“__________, at the end of today’s demo if you like what you see, is there anything that would prevent you from putting this to work for you in the next two weeks?”

The positive way of asking this is:

“__________, at the end of today’s demo if you like what you see, is this something you could put to work for you in the next two weeks?”

O.K., so there are the ways of using a trial close at the beginning. Now, what happens if you get push back? Here’s how to handle it. If you’re prospect says:
“I’m not ready to make a decision” (or any variation of that), you simply respond:

“That’s no problem and I’m not asking you to. We haven’t gone through the benefits here nor have I answered any of your questions. All I’m trying to get a feel for is IF you like what you see and you think there is value here for you and your company, what would you have to do to get this approved?”

OR

“I’m with you and don’t mistake my question for pressure. All I’m asking is IF, after the end of our demo today, you see value here and want to pursue this, what are the next steps on your end?”

What you’re trying to do is isolate and uncover what the objection or stall is going to be at the end so you can position yourself to deal with it and advance the sale. For example, if your prospect then says something like:

“I’ll have to take it to the committee,” (or show it to the boss, etc.), then you isolate this now:

“I understand and most people I speak with do as well. Tell me, if you really like this, though, what kind of influence do you have over that process?”

AND:

“I’m with you. And if you are in favor of this, would that affect their decision?”

Again, you want to isolate the objection and understand the stall so you can deal with the close at the end better. For example, if your prospect tells you they DO have influence, then at the end of your demo, this is how you close:

“So, does this sound like something you feel is the right fit?”

[Get buy in here, then]:

“Great, then what can I do to help them agree with us?”

See how this goes?

If the objection or stall at the beginning of your demo is the “No budget” stall, then say:

“Please, I’m not asking you to invest in this right now, and we can deal with where you’d get the budget from later. All I want to know now is that IF you found value here and were determined to move forward, is there a way you could find the resources – again, if you were convinced?”

If the answer is no, then you need to deal with the money issue now rather than spend the next 45 minutes on a demo that will end with the same objection!

I know this isn’t going to be a popular answer for many of you – again, I know you’d rather pitch until you’re blue in the face – but if your prospect can’t afford to do it at the end, why would you want to?

What I’m suggesting here is what I’ve taught for many years, and what I personally do when closing on my training services: properly qualify prospects upfront – on the cold call or prospecting call – on the six qualifiers (which I’ve written about extensively elsewhere – check out my blog if you missed it), and then requalify before you waste the time of giving a long pitch to someone who isn’t or won’t buy at the end.

Doing this will make you a more successful closer – and a more confident one as well.

How to Overcome the, “My relative handles that for me” Objection

If you’re in B2C sales (business to consumer), then you’ve no doubt gotten the objection, “My relative handles that for me, and I wouldn’t be interested in changing.”

In B2B sales (business to business), this objection often manifests as, “We’ve been doing business with X for years and we get the best (rates, service, etc.) and we wouldn’t be interested in switching.”

Other variations include:

“We have a rep who visits us each week and we don’t want to do business over the phone,”

OR

“I’ve known my rep for years and we have a great relationship so I wouldn’t be interested,”

OR

“Our supplier is the boss’s son (or father, sister, pastor, etc.) and we only do business with people we know.”

The list can go on and on.

The tricky thing about this objection is that we can all relate to having a personal relationship with a family member or someone we really like and trust, so we feel awkward trying to overcome it.

Here’s the thing: sometimes this is a real objection, and sometimes it’s just a smokescreen that works on salespeople so the prospect keep using it. Either way, below are some ways to get around it, or, at least, set the prospect up so they’re thinking about you when that relationship changes:

Response One:

“I totally know how that is, and I’m not here to come between you and that relationship. But hey everything changes, as you know, and if something should change between how you’re doing things now, it’s always good to have done your research in advance so you’re not scrambling later.

Why don’t we at least get together briefly, and I’ll give you some solid options in case you ever need them…”

Response Two:

“I understand and you know _________, every now and then initiatives change. Sometimes you might need a lower price, or more variety of product, or who knows. The point is that it’s always good to know what’s out there.

How about this: it doesn’t cost anything to at least compare what’s really out there these days, and who knows, if things change with you, at least you’ll know who to call to ask questions. Let’s do this…”

Response Three:

“Glad your (brother in law, sister in law, etc.) is handling this for you, but heaven forbid anything ever happen, you know a divorce or a falling out, you’ll be happy you’ve got a good backup!

Let’s do this….(set an appointment)”

Response Four:

“Well _________, you know how life is – people can get sick, or change jobs, or whatever – the smart thing for you to do is to always have a ready back up, you know just in case…

Since it doesn’t cost anything to learn about our services and prices, why don’t I drop by…”

Response Five:

“Because things have changed a lot since you’ve been working with (him/her), I’d suggest you at least be prudent and learn about what the current market has to offer you. Who knows? You may find that there’s an even easier/less expensive option available to you and you can let them know about it!

Let’s do this…”

Response Six:

“I’m happy you’ve found someone you’ve been able to trust for all these years. Let me ask you this: If something changes with that relationship and you find that you need to look elsewhere, could I be the next in line person you speak to about getting this (product/service) from?”

[If Yes – get information and give yours, then]

“_________, just out of curiosity, what might have to happen for you to even begin looking?”

Now you have a variety of ways to handle what may have seemed like an almost impossible objection in the past. Will all these work? No. Will some of them work a lot better than what you’re probably saying now? Yes!

How to Overcome the, “Market, Industry, Economy is bad…” Objection

You hear it all the time: “I/we can’t do anything now because the _________ (fill in the blank with market or economy, or company, or industry, or budget, etc.) is down.”

And the crazy thing is that sales reps actually buy into that objection! I guess if you’re not prepared to overcome it with a good script, and you keep getting it day in and day out, you’re susceptible to buying into it.

I’ve even begun hearing sales teams jump on the “Oh, things are terrible, the world is coming to an end…” objection and actually agreeing with their prospects! As soon as a sales rep gets this objection, I’ve heard them pile on with, “Oh, I’ve been hearing that a lot and things are bad out there! Some of our clients have even closed down their offices, and let people go – oh, it’s terrible!” And then add:

“Well, if things turn around, then definitely give us a call…”

Empowering, huh?

Remember: on every call somebody is going to be sold. The only question is: Are your prospects going to sell you on why they aren’t buying (from you), or are you going to sell them on why they need you more than ever right now?

Because your product or service can almost always save them money or time or energy or manpower, OR produce more and better results which will mean more revenue or business to them, then let’s face it: they can’t afford not to listen or meet with you!

Here’s the only script you need to overcome the “Everything is terrible” objection and earn the right to meet or do a demo with your prospects:

The next time you get any variation of the, “I/we can’t do anything now because the _________ (fill in the blank with market or economy, or company, or industry, or budget, etc.) is down.” objection, you simply say:

“Well, because of that reason, I’m sure it’s more important than ever for you to (reduce costs, save money, get more results, etc.) and that’s exactly why other companies are meeting with us to see how we can do just that for them. You’ll be happy we met, too. Here’s what I recommend we do…”

You have to be prepared with a positive, upbeat message to overcome their negativity – you have to believe in what you’re selling, in your solution enough – to earn the right to meet with your prospect.

Use the script above as it is, or adapt it to fit your personality and your product or service, and start closing your prospects – rather than letting them closing you…

Qualifying for Budget

Nowadays, there seems to be a raging debate about when – and even whether or not – to qualify for budget. The new thinking seems be driven by the fear that “until we give the value of what we’re offering (meaning the demo), it’s too soon to talk money. Prospects will just say they can’t afford it.”

Given this thinking, companies are stressing just setting an appointment with anyone who will listen, and then relying on the presentation being so strong that anyone with half a brain would jump all over it and buy.

Well, if you’ve ever tried setting demos and appointments that way and then calling these “prospects” back to close them, then you know how that goes….

Not properly qualifying – up front – on the six basic qualifiers (buying motive, potential objections, decision makers, timeframe/decision process, competition, and budget) means that you’re just hoping and praying when it comes to the closing presentation.

And I can tell you from personal experience, that’s an exhausting and highly ineffective way of running your sales career or company.

So here are some scripted ways you can qualify for budget up front – without the fear of having your prospect turn you down before you get to tell them how great your product or service is:

On the prospecting call:

Option One:

“_________, I’ve got you down for a brief demo of this on (confirm day and time). Now, as you can imagine, if you like this there are various ways you can engage with us – and at different price points.

So let me ask you: If, after we go through everything, you think this can seriously help you (or drive customers/revenue to your business), would you be in a position to make a monthly investment in your business of between $200 to $400 – again, if you believed it would help you?”

Option Two:

“Well _________ obviously, there are several ways for you to participate in this if you like it, so let me ask you: if, after our presentation next week, you really like what you see and think it can drive the revenue you’re looking for – would you be able to allocate $X amount towards it?”

Option Three:

“And ________ I know you haven’t seen this yet, but if after you do you think this can be a benefit for you, could you make the budget available to get involved for just $X?”

Option Four:

“________, most of our new clients who decide to put this to work for them usually start with an initial investment of between ($X and $Y). Again, if you think this solution would work for you, where would you be along those lines?”

Option Five:

“And _________, after we go through the demo on this and you decide it’s something you’d like to take advantage of, we have three packages: Our Starter Kit for $X; our Professional Package for $Y; and our Elite Deluxe Package for $Z. Where would you see yourself, again, providing you like what you see?”

As you can tell, there are various ways of qualifying for budget, but they all have one thing in common: They qualify your prospect for budget! And you should, too. Don’t fall into the trap of “spraying and praying” as one of my companies put it.

Make it a point of thoroughly qualifying your prospects and only spending time with buyers who are able – and likely – to make the decision to do business with you…

NEXT – The Most Important Word In Sales

I was talking to a real estate agent the other day about the importance of disqualifying leads, and he told me an interesting story about their office’s top producer. He was talking to her one day and asking her what she did that made her so successful. She said her secret could be summed up with one word. When he asked what it was she said:

NEXT.

The moment I heard him tell me that I was in total agreement. I told him that was what I was trying to teach him with my disqualifying method. The majority of people you speak with, I told him, are never going to be a deal. The problem 80% of sales reps make is they spend time with them anyway, sending information, making multiple appointments, and begging and chasing the deal.

The Top 20% producers? Their attitude is – NEXT. And that’s when he said something interesting. He said he was afraid to let go because he didn’t want to chance losing a sale.

“If you don’t know after qualifying and listening to your prospect what it’s going to take to get the sale, or who isn’t a real buyer, then you’ve got problems — big problems.” I told him.

“I guess I kind of know but you can never be sure,” he said.

I’m here to tell you that it’s that attitude that separates the bottom 80% of sales reps from the Top 20%! The Top 20% know when to say, and aren’t afraid of saying, NEXT.

If you’d like to learn the Secrets of Top 20% and how to identify buyers and stop wasting time with non-buyers, here are a couple of things you should do:

#1) Go to http://mrinsidesales.com/ultimatescripts.htm and get the book of proven, word for word scripts that will help you qualify real buyers and teach you how to disqualify out the time wasters – so you can say NEXT sooner and save your energy….

#2) If you want even more Top 20% techniques, then watch these free webinars: http://mrinsidesales.com/webinartraining.htm

The sooner you learn to identify and spend time with qualified buyers, the easier it will be for you to say NEXT…..