Getting Behind the Stall Objection

Last week I was speaking with a new prospect who had called in to inquire about one of my inside sales training programs. I went over her needs, matched up my training to fit those needs, gave her pricing options and then began closing on possible dates for the training.

And that’s when I got the old stall, “Well, let me run this by my boss, and I still have to hear back from some other vendors, etc..” Sound familiar?

Now all stalls are bad, but what was even worse was that a few days later she stopped returning my calls and didn’t respond to my emails. Now I can take a hint, and I knew that she probably wasn’t going to be a deal. I’m sure you can relate, and so I want to give you an effective technique that will allow you to:

1) Open up the dialogue again.
2) Find out why your prospect isn’t going with you.
3) Get them to tell you what you might be able to do to save the sale.

It’s called the “I love to learn” technique and here’s what you do:

First, you’re going to have to be persistent and keep calling your prospect until you get them on the phone. Don’t leave any more voice mails. And once you do get them to pick up the phone, say the following:

“Hi __________, I’m glad I reached you – how have you been?”

They will likely try to brush you off here, so you say:

“That’s perfectly OK. I’ve been in sales long enough to know when we might not be a match for a company. Just a quick question, though. You know, I love to learn, and I’m always trying to improve, what specifically about our (offer, quote, product or service) didn’t seem right for you at this time?”

Now be quiet and listen.

If you do this right, your prospect will tell you what was wrong with your proposal, and this will give you a chance to adjust or adapt it to fit their needs. Will it always work? Of course not, but if there is still a chance to get a sale, this technique will show you how.

If they aren’t going to be a deal this time, then you can ask any of the following questions to set up future business:

“What might you need to see from us next time you’re in the market again?”

AND

“Do you mind if I kept in touch with you every so often?”

AND

“How about someone in another department?”

Last resort:

“Do you know of anyone else in your industry this might be a fit for?”

This worked with my prospect, and I was able to set her team up for remote training. Try it for yourself and begin finding out what’s really behind the stall and what you can do to overcome it.

The Key To Building Value

You hear it all the time — if your price is higher than your competition you’re told to “build value.” You’re instructed to stress the quality, the warranty, the features, etc. But your prospects have heard all that before, haven’t they? Want a better way?

You also hear all the time that prospects will buy from people they like, know and trust. I would add that your enthusiasm for and belief in your product or service plays a big role in getting your prospects to choose you over your competition.

Knowing this, I’ve often used the following script to not only build value in my product or service, but also to build value in myself. Below you’ll find a script you can use – but, as always, I recommend you personalize it so you feel comfortable saying it:

If your prospects says, “I can get cheaper,” or “The ‘other’ company has something similar or for less money,” or anything like that, say:

“You know _________ I’m aware of all the other options for this (product or service) and quite frankly if I thought any of them were better for my clients, I’d be working there and selling them.

“When I got into this industry I did my own research, and I looked for the best company that not only offered the best (product or service) but also delivered the best customer service and follow-up. I chose (your company) because they give my clients the best overall value and the best customer experience, and that means they continue to do business with me and refer new business to me as well.

“If there was a better product or company for you to be doing business with, I’d be there and we’d be talking about that. But there isn’t.

“Bottom line — if you want the best overall value, results and experience with this (your product or service) then do what I do did – choose (your company) – believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

“Now, do you want to start with the X size order or would the Y size order be better?”

This technique builds value in the most important part of any sales transaction — you and your belief in your product or service. Use it each time you need to build real value, and watch as prospects follow your lead.

Remember, while prospects have a choice of products and companies, they can only get you when they purchase from your company.

How to Handle the “Status Quo” Objection

As you know, I often get emails from readers of my ezine, “Secrets of the Top 20%”, asking me how I would handle various selling situations and objections.

Someone sent in a request asking me how to deal with the, “We are used to the status quo and don’t want to make waves” objection. This reader also wrote that he had been told by another training company that he needed to, “Make them painfully aware of something they don’t see coming at them (like a freight train) and develop a more compelling message.”

As you might imagine, he wasn’t able to come up with anything that was working.

By the way, I must comment here that I frequently hear this about other “sales training” companies: they are quick to offer what sounds like good advice, but they don’t provide the specific solutions to back it up.

As you know from reading my ezines, watching my YouTube videos or reading or listening to my books and CD’s, I not only tell you what to you, but also how to do it.

In this case, I think the reader was having trouble with this technique because, to begin with, it’s not a good approach.

Trying to convince someone that what they’re doing is a bad idea and it’s going to lead to big trouble (so you can say, “I told you so” later), isn’t going to endear you to anyone. What I recommend instead is to find a way to bypass this obvious initial resistance and find a way present your product or service in a non-threatening way.

Your goal on the prospecting call isn’t to overcome objections (which this isn’t, by the way), but rather, to qualify and set a date up to demo your product or service.

Here are some sample scripts to help you do just that:

Objection: “We are used to the status quo and don’t want to make waves…”

Approach One:

“I’m completely with you and believe me, I don’t want to rock the boat. But because things change all the time, there might come an instance when you need to consider your options. So let’s do this: I’ll set a time to give you a brief demo of what we do and how it might help you.

After we do, you can then decide if you want to do anything with it now, or keep it in your back pocket in case you ever need to consider a different source – sound good?”

Approach Two:

“I understand and I’ll try not to make too many waves here. Just out of curiosity, when was the last time you did compare services and pricing – you know, just to keep current on what’s available to you?”

Approach Three:

“I’m with you and believe me – I’m not here to cause trouble. But let me ask you this: isn’t it wise to at least know about your options just in case you need to make a change at some time in the future?”

Approach Four:

“I’m with you. So tell you what: instead of me trying to sell you something, let me just educate you on what’s currently available in the marketplace – you know, so in case you need something further down the line, you’ll know who to call – make sense?”

Approach Five:

“No problem, I fully understand. Let me ask you this though: If something were to happen to your current provider, wouldn’t you at least want a dependable backup plan so you didn’t miss a beat?”

The point of these rebuttals is to bypass this resistance so you can get in front of a qualified lead and pitch your product or service. Obviously, once they agree to do a demo with you, you’ll want to ask other qualifying questions.

As always, I encourage you to practice, drill and rehearse your responses so you can internalize them and deliver them in a natural way.

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!

Always Have This Close Handy…

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

“Let me run this by…”

OR

“I’ll have to get with….”

OR

“Let me check with…”

OR

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

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

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

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

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

Then I asked how that sounded.

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

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

That is the wrong thing to do.

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

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

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

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

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

How’s that for a good answer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Responses:

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

OR

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

OR

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

OR

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

OR

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

OR

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

OR

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

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

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

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

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

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

OR

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

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

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

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

OR

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

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

“What is your timeline then?”

And Layer:

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

OR

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

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

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

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

OR

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

[If Yes]

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

OR

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

OR

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

[If Yes]

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

[If you get a date]

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

OR

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

OR

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

[If Yes]

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

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

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

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

Objection: “My supplier is my friend.”

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

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

Layer:

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

Layer:

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

[If never]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[If great]

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

Layer:

“And who did you use before that?”

Layer:

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

[Regardless of what they say, Layer]:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rebuttal:

“How long has that been?”

Layer:

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

OR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Handle the References Stall

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

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

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

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

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

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

Response One:

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

[Let them respond]

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

Response Two:

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

[If yes]

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

Response Three:

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

[Let them respond]

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

[Let them respond]

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

Response Four:

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

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