I was coaching a client this week and he was complaining about the biggest objection he almost always gets at the end of his presentation – that prospect stall the sale by saying they have to run it by another person first to get approval.
Now I’ve written about this before and provided ways of overcoming this, such as by isolating it with: (“If the decision were up to you, what would YOU do?”), etc., but he tells me that it still comes up and is the number one objection/stall that keeps him from closing sales. Here was my advice:
First, realize that when an objection keeps coming up at the end of your close, you need to find a way to deal with it – actually eliminate it – during your first qualifying call. I’ve always found that if I didn’t uncover and deal with an objection on the first call, then it’s my fault if it continually comes up at the end of the closing call (which it usually does). So the point here is that you need to handle it before it comes up.
Second, I recommended that we role play the solution. Here’s how it went:
Me: So tell me who you consult with when making the decision on something like this?
Prospect (P): Well, if I like it, then I send it to my regional manager.
Me: O.K., and how open is your regional manager to adding another vendor in this area?
P: Actually, I don’t know. I just send things on to them and sometimes they do it, and sometimes they don’t.
Me: I understand. And what is the name of your regional manager?
Me: O.K., well how about we do this. Rather than you and me taking time to go through a whole presentation together and then you liking it and sending it on hoping that Dave approves it, how about if you send Dave an email and see if he is even open to adding vendors at this time. If he is, then I’ll set up the presentation with you and then, if you like it, you can then forward this on to Dave, how does that sound?
P: That’s sounds O.K.
Me: In fact, I’ll go one further for you. How about if I send Dave the email, I’ll copy you, and then we’ll both know if we should continue or not. After I hear back from him, yes or no, then I’ll reach back out to you and either set something up or schedule to follow up in a few months – how does that sound?
Me: Great. What’s Dave’s email address?
What we’ve done here is qualify before we invest all our time and effort in a prospect who may or may not even be in the market to move on something. This is crucial when we’re dealing with an influencer who, and as we know, are often not in the position to make a decision. We absolutely have to get buy in from a decision maker (if we can) before we go down the very frustrating road of pitching the wrong person.
Now, will this technique work all the time? Of course not; none will. But what it WILL do is give you a fighting chance of finding out if there is even a real opportunity here to begin with. And that’s a whole lot more than you probably have right now.
Also note: the influencer’s willingness to go down this road will also tell you something as well. If they aren’t willing to email the decision maker, then he/she probably already knows what the answer is. If they are willing to do it, then you’ll either get a qualified lead, or you’ll save a lot of time. Either way, you’ll be way ahead of the game.
So take back control of the sales process by learning to eliminate objections and stalls on the front end of the sales cycle. If you don’t, then you have no one to blame but yourself…