Boost Your Sales by Using This One Word

Catchy title, huh? “Boost your sales using just this ONE word.” Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just one magic word that could really increase your sales?

There is…

Before I tell you what it is, though, let me give you a brief background on how I discovered it. Years ago as I was struggling to make sales, I found a bad pattern had developed in terms of how my sales attempts were ending up. After pitching and pitching, most of my sales were being stalled with some variation of:

“Let me think about it,”


“I’ll have to discuss this with my partner…”


“O.K., why don’t you get back with me in a few weeks…”

Sound familiar? It should. Most sales presentations end this way. After racking my brain for the reason, I finally began listening to how the top closers in my company were closing their sales. And how they were opening and qualifying their prospects as well.

Turns out they all were using one magic word. And the word was….


Or some variation of it when they were qualifying. And that’s when I started using it as well and it didn’t just boost my sales, it catapulted it! In fact, it had much more impact than that. It also greatly reduced the number of unqualified leads I sent out and spent hours of useless time with.

Here are some examples of how to use the word today in both your opening and closing statements.:

For qualifying you must qualify the prospect’s timeline and set the proper expectation for the close. At the end of your cold call and before you schedule your demo or send your information, you must ask something like this:

“So _________, I’ve got you on the calendar to do a walk-through of our solution next Wednesday, and if after we’re done you really like this, is it something that you can make a decision on at that time?”


“So _________, I look forward to our demo next Wednesday, and if after we’re done you really like this, I’m going to ask you for a simple yes or no, is that fair?”

Now in some situations if you’re dealing with an influencer, your question will be about what the next steps are, what the decision maker’s time frame is like, how many other companies they’re looking at, etc..

But if you are dealing with the owner or decision maker, you must get a firm commitment as to timeframe, ideally confirming a decision right after your pitch.

For closing calls, you use the magic word:

At the beginning of your presentation, before you go into your slide show or however you do it, you requalify by asking:

“I’m excited to show you this, and at the end if you feel this is the right solution for you, this is something you can move on today, right?”

That’s it. No wishy washy way around it. You must set a clear expectation right from the beginning (and that means on the qualifying call) and then reconfirm it at the beginning of the close.

I know what you’re thinking: “What if they say no?” Then you adjust your presentation to target their buying motive and start overcoming what their objection is. I’ve written many of scripts to help you do that, so check out my blog if you need them:

Bottom line: You will make more sales faster and with less struggle if you set the proper expectation on the front call and confirm it by opening your closing call using the magic word: today.

Try it today and see for yourself.

Too Many Options? Narrow It Down to Get the Sale Now

If you sell a product or service with many add-on’s and options or choices, then it’s easy for your prospect to get overwhelmed and want to “think about it.” Many sales reps actually make it for harder for buyers to decide because they keep pitching (instead of closing) and so complicate the sale even further.

If you find that you’ve “talked past the close” as I like to say, then it might be time to un-complicate the sale and make it easy for your prospect or customer to buy something now, rather than putting the decision off.

Here are some ways you can do that. As usual, take some time to customize these to fit your product or service:

Option 1:

“Now _________ I may have made this harder on you than I should have. Let’s look at the basic package again, the (restate the easiest offer), and let me ask you: will this do most of the things you’re looking at this to do for you?”

Option 2:

“It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices and combinations, so let me make this easy for you: most people in your position go for our X package because they find it does everything they need it to do. And, of course, you can always upgrade later should you have the need.

So let’s do this….”

Option 3:

“I’m getting the feeling we’ve gone over too many options, and it would probably be easier for you if we just took half of these away. Which features don’t you feel you need?”

Option 4:

“I know it’s easy to go back and forth on some of these combinations, so let me ask you: is this a toss-up decision, or are you leaning towards one more than the other – and if so, which one is it?”

Option 5:

“__________, let’s step back here for a moment. You don’t have to get the package that has all the bells and whistles – unless you really want to, of course…. – so tell me, which one of these are you leaning towards?”

Option 6:

“You know, going through all the possible options and combinations could take you hours and hours. You don’t have to do that now. Instead, let’s break this down to your absolute essentials: which features can’t you live without?”

Options 7:

“If you had to pick one package/combination over another, which would it be?”

Option 8:

“With all of these options you’re going to get our (warranty, performance, delivery, etc.), so any package you pick is going to be fine for you. Tell me, what are you leaning towards right now?”

Option 9:

“__________, let’s make this simple and get you started with the basic package for now. That way you can see how this works for you, we can get into a relationship, and later, down the road, if you want to expand your coverage, you can. At least in the meantime you’re not missing out on these results….”

Option 10:

“Let do this: let’s take the premium package so you won’t have to worry later that you’re missing out on something you wish you had gotten in the beginning. With this package, you’ll get everything you need….”

Having these closes handy when you feel your prospect slipping away or having a hard time making a decision could very well save the sale for you.

“I Want to Think About It” – Ten New Ways to Handle it!

I know, we’ve already been through this objection, but sales reps always want more input on it so here it is:

The bottom line is that when someone says they want to think about it, it means they aren’t sold yet. And it could very easily mean that they aren’t sold on your solution, and they never will be because they have something else in mind.

Your job is to either get to that hidden objection and learn what you need to do to overcome it, or get your prospect to reveal why they aren’t going to go with your product or service.

And that’s why you must get your prospect talking. Now here is why this is so hard for sales people: They don’t want to ask because they don’t want to know! Most sales reps would just prefer to let the prospect “think about it” hoping they will somehow convince themselves and buy at some time in the future.

How often does that happen?

What usually happens is that the prospect then disappears at this point, never to be heard from again. And that’s why sales reps dread this objection.

But top producers know that getting their prospect talking at this point is crucial to find out one of two things (and both of these things is a successful outcome):

1) What the hidden objection really is, and so find a way of dealing and overcoming it, or:
2) What the reason is they aren’t going to move on it, and so be able to hang this up as a learning experience and use the lessons to qualify the next lead better.

Let me repeat – BOTH of these outcomes should be considered a success. The first because you’ll learn what you need to do to get a deal, and the second because you won’t start chasing an unqualified lead that will never buy, and you’ll learn how to not create another one in the future.

So the following ten rebuttals to “I want to think about it” are designed to get your prospect talking – and then you’ll be able to decide which category they go into…

[Note: I would be remiss if I didn’t emphasize again that you should have avoided this objection from coming up in the first place by asking this type of qualifying question during your initial call: “And if you like what we have to offer, what would be your timeframe for getting started?”]

Objection: “I want to think it over”

Option 1:

“I understand. Just out of curiosity:

• “Do you understand how the (explain the benefits of savings or making money here) work right?”
• “And do you understand what we mean when we say, (stress any warranties guarantees or customer service options) here, don’t you?”
• “Then while we’re on the phone together, what other questions do you have?”

[If None]

“Then just to clarify my thinking, what part of this do you need to think over?

Option 2:

“Are you going to be thinking over the (name two or three benefits) we spoke about today or about whether or not this solution is the right fit for you?”

Option 3:

“I know I’ve given you a lot to think about today, do you mind me asking what part of this you’d like to think over?”

Option 4:

“I understand, and I’m sure you’ve got other options to consider…do you mind if I ask how we’re stacking up to what you’re also looking at?”

Option 5:

“__________, it sounds like you’re probably considering other options as well – do you mind if I ask who else you’re looking into?”


“And how do we stack up compared to them?”

Option 6:

“__________, besides yourself, who else would be weighing in on this?”

Option 7:

“I totally understand, many people I speak with want to consider all their options before making a decision. Tell me, who else is in the running for this?”

Option 8:

“That’s no problem. Level with me, if you would, what would be holding you back from saying yes right now?”


“And is this even a realistic option for you?”

Option 9:

“And as you think about it right now, what would be the major reason for not moving forward with it?”

Option 10:

“I understand – not everyone I speak with is ready to move forward with it right away. Quick question:

“What would you need to see here for you to say yes to this?”

As you can see, all of these responses are geared to get your prospect to reveal what it’s going to take for you to get the sale – and some are also geared to get your prospect to reveal why they will never be a deal.

Again, either way you win.

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…”


“I’ll have to get with….”


“Let me check with…”


“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…

Stop Pitching the Gatekeeper – and What to Do Instead

One of the biggest mistakes many inside sales reps make is pitching the gatekeeper. For some reason they feel compelled to pour their pitch on the first pair of ears they get, and, unfortunately, this usually gets them into trouble.

To start with, the gatekeeper is just that – someone whose job it is to screen salespeople from getting through to the decision maker. The worst thing you can do is immediately identify yourself as a salesperson by pitching them in hopes that they’ll be so moved by your pitch that they’ll want to put you through. Doesn’t happen. Instead, all you do is trigger their automatic response of, “Just email something, and I’ll forward it to my boss.” Or worse…

By identifying yourself as a salesperson, you’ll actually be making it easier for the gatekeeper to just blow you off with, “We’re not interested.” Think about it: They take sales calls like yours all day long, and after a while (like two days on the job), they’re as sick of getting phone calls as you are of making them. So leading with your pitch is the last thing you want to do.

Also, the reason you don’t want to pitch the gatekeeper is because they don’t care what you’re selling and they usually have zero say in whether to buy from you or not. Again, they are gatekeepers – not decision makers. Pitching them will mean nothing, and all it will do is annoy them and waste your time.

So, what to do? Your job, believe it or not, is to get past the gatekeeper with as little interrogation as possible (and with as little pitching as possible), and connect with the decision maker. That is the person you want to give your brief pitch to… So here are a copy of ways to avoid pitching the gatekeeper, and, instead, getting to the decision maker:

1) By now, you’ve already read about my “Please, please, please” technique. Some of you are already using it and isn’t it great? For those of you who missed it, it’s simple. To avoid 65% (or more) of any screening, simply open your call with:

“Hi, this is (your name) with (your company), could you please connect me with (DM’s name) please?”

That’s it. To read the whole technique, simply check out my blog here:

2) If you don’t know the name of the person you’re looking for, simply say:

“Hi, this is (your name) with (your company) and I need a little bit of help please.”

After they ask how they can help you, you say, “I’m looking for the person who handles X – who would that be please?”

That’s it. No pitching, no pleading to be put through, instead you’re simply asking for their help and then directing them to put you through. If you ask this in a polite way, you’ll get through 65% of the time.

3) Now here comes the tricky part: In some cases, the gatekeeper has a little more authority, like an office manager, or executive assistant, etc. In this case it’s O.K. to deliver your opening value statement – just so they know what it’s about – but then it’s highly important to try to get through to the decision maker as soon as possible. Here are a few ways to do that:

The best way is to quickly qualify for decision maker status. As soon as you ask if they make the decision on what you’re selling, and are told that someone else makes the decision, that is your cue to ask to be put through to the actual DM. Try:

“Oh, I see, tell you what: If you’d put me through to (boss) briefly, I’ll explain what this is about and if he (or she) is interested in learning more, I can make an appointment that fits his/her schedule. I’ll be happy to hold on while you connect me…”


“It sounds like the best thing to do before I send something is to have just a few words with (DM), and that way I can save us both a lot of time depending on their level of interest. Could you please let (DM) know I’m holding please?”


“Before I bother you with emails and then follow up calls, why don’t you put me in touch with your (boss) briefly, and I’ll see if there’s an interest on his/her side. If so, I’ll take the appropriate action, if not, we’ll save us all a lot of time. Could you let (the boss) know I’m holding, please?”

4) Sometimes the gatekeeper or office manager will want a little more information on what it is you’re offering, and in this case it’s O.K. to give them more details, but just make sure that you qualify for their role in the decision process and that you ask for the best way to connect with the other decisions makers if possible. Sample questions include:

“And beside yourself, who makes the decision on this?”

Layer with:

“Great, can I connect briefly with them to make sure this is something they’d like to know more about?”


“If this is something you like, how much influence do you have in the decision process?”

If they tell you their boss would make the final decision, then layer with:

“I understand completely. Tell you what, so we don’t waste your time or his/hers, let me have a brief word with them, and I’ll see if this is something they even want to learn more about. I’ll be happy to hold on…”

If you’re then told they aren’t available, try to get their name or direct email address or extension, and when you call back if the assistant isn’t available, ask for the DM directly.

The major lesson here is that you must resist the temptation to pitch the gatekeeper, or to give too much of your pitch to the assistant if they aren’t the final DM. Give just enough to qualify for interest, and then try to get through to the actual DM. This will save you a lot of time and headache later on.

15 Ways to Handle the Competition Objection

Targets hit in the center by arrows
Targets hit in the center by arrows

We all face competition. There is always someone who can do it cheaper, or faster, or better (at least in the mind of your prospect). Because of this, prospects – and even customers – are constantly on the search for a better deal. Knowing how to handle the competition objection effectively can mean the difference between winning the sale or suffering that sinking feeling of having lost the business to someone else.

There are several times you can handle the competition objection, but surprisingly most sales reps wait until it comes up at the end of their closing presentation. This is the worse time to handle it because you have already given your pricing and options and sometimes even your best deal. While you may have to handle the objection of competition during the close – and I’ll give you some scripting to do just that later in this article – the best time to handle it is in the beginning, while qualifying. Here are some ways you can do that:

Qualifying for competition:

Option #1:
“_________, let’s talk a little bit about who else you’re looking at for this – who’s top of your list right now?”

If you’re uncomfortable bringing up potential competition, let me assure you of two things: One, if they are shopping you, they are most likely shopping others, so don’t be surprised, and Two, trust me, it’s better to know in advance who you’re up against so you can position yourself to win the business during the close. And always ask this in an assumptive way…

Option #2:
“How many companies are you getting quotes on for this?”

Once again, don’t worry about introducing the concept of getting quotes, if they are going to do this (and most are), it’s better to get an idea of it now. If they tell you they are getting three quotes (doesn’t matter how many), layer this with: “And who have you liked so far?” Again, be assumptive with this.

Option #3:
“_________, how does your current supplier fit into all this?”

This is a nice opened ended, assumptive way to get your prospect to reveal why they might be moving away from their current vendor – or why they might still be considering using them. A great way to layer this is to ask:

Option #4:
“And if you find that we can give you a better deal than you’re getting right now, what will you do next?”

Obviously you want them to reveal that they’ll take it back to their current vendor to get them to lower their price, and this is what you want to know in advance. Asking this question in an opened ended way like this often gets them to tell you this. You can also ask this in a more direct way:

Option #5:
“________, if we can show you how we can take care of what you’re doing now, and do so for less than you’re paying your current vendor, what will prevent you from taking it back to them and getting them to just drop their price to keep your business?”

Listen carefully to not only what your prospect says here, but how they say it. If they hesitate or if their voice goes up or wavers a bit, then you’re in trouble. You can also handle it this way:

Option #6:
“Now _________, after we do our analysis, I’m pretty convinced that we’ll be able to save you money just like we do our other clients. But ________, I have a concern and I need you to level with me: Sometimes we go through this work to find these savings, and after we do, some companies use them to get their current vendor to lower their prices. Do you see what I mean?”

[Wait for response]

“So I’m happy to do the work for you and show you some savings, but let me ask you: what is the chance that you’ll take these back to your current vendor and do the same?”


“Let me ask you: if we can also show you savings, what would prevent you from doing the same?”

Option #7:
“________, what is going to be the deciding factor on who wins your business on this?”

And if it’s price, then layer with:

“O.K., then after you get all the quotes, will you at least let me compete against the lowest quote to see if I can do better?”

Handling competition during the close: If after you’ve presented your product or service your prospect says they want or need to check on other offers/estimates/quotes, then use the questions below to get your prospect to open up and possibly reveal what it might take for you to win the business:

Option #1:
“I understand, which way are you leaning right now?”

Option #2:
“What would it take for someone else to win your business?”

Option #3:
“What would it honestly take for you to choose us for this?”

Option #4:
“What don’t you see with our proposal that you see in others?”

Option #5:
“Are we in the running with what else you’ve seen out there?”

[If yes]

“What about us would take us out of the running?”


“What would you need to see to choose using us?”


“What can I do right now to insure that we win your business?”

Option #6:
“Obviously you’re going to show this quote to your current vendor – if they match the price, will you just stick with them?”

[If yes]

“What can I do to prevent that?”

Option #7:
“How many times have you taken other quotes to your current vendor?”

[If they tell you]:

“And what do they usually do?”

[If they say they lower their price to keep the business]:

“How can we break that cycle and get you the right pricing from the start?”

Option #8:
“_________, let’s take your lowest bid right now and compare it – services to services – to what we’re offing you. If I find you’re getting a better deal, I’ll tell you so. If I can beat it, then I’ll let you know that as well. Either way – You’ll Win! Do you have that other quote nearby?”

Remember, competition will always exist, but you can beat it and win business if you’re prepared with proven and effective scripts like those above. Pick your favorite ones and tailor them to your particular sale.

If the Prospect Only takes Emails, What to Do?

I received an email from a reader who said that he sometimes gets the objection from the gatekeeper of, “I am sorry but he/she does not take outside calls, he/she only responds to emails.” He asked if there is a way to get around this, and my answer is: sometimes. Let’s start at the beginning:

First of all, my question to the sales rep who sent me this email would be, “How did the gatekeeper know you were an “outside” call,” rather than a client, prospect or friend?” The first thing a sales rep needs to do when prospecting is to use the please, please, please technique that I’ve written about earlier and to be as assumptive, yet polite, as possible. This generally eliminates 60 – 85% of the screening you’re likely to get.

If you still get the screening of, “What’s this call in regards to,” once again, you need to use the assumptive, directive approach I teach, combined with a please at the end. Something like, “Yes, please tell her it’s about her lead processing, and I’ll be happy to hold please.” This will work in most instances. Once again, you must use the openings as I recommend them to avoid the screening that occurs naturally.

If you have used both of these openings and still get the objection, “She only responds to email,” then you can try the following statements which may sometimes work:

“I have emailed in the past, and I think they may be getting stuck in her spam folder. Could you please tell her I need just a minute to confirm this please?”


“I’d love to email her my information, but I’m not sure which brochure to send. Would you mind if I had just a 2 minute conversation to see what would be appropriate, please?”


“And how do I reach her if I don’t hear back from my email?”


“I understand, but this is important, could I speak with her supervisor, please?”


“I understand she may be busy, who is her manager, please?” Then: “Could you please connect me with ________ please?”


“I know what that’s like, we have a similar policy here as well. But after three email attempts, the caller is to be put through. Could you tell her I’m holding, please?”


“Question for you: if I haven’t heard back from my previous emails, how would you recommend I reach her?”


“If I end up not being able to reach her, who can you connect me to?”


“My email is down right now, do you might putting me through for a quick question?”


“Could I speak to your supervisor, please?”


“What happened the last time you put someone through to her?”


“I’m not allowed to email anyone I don’t already have in my data base. Do you mind letting her know I’m holding, please?”


“Who can you put me through to?”


“Could I have customer service, please?” (And then just go through them to be put through to your prospect)


“What would you recommend is the best way to reach her by phone?”


“No problem, for next time, what is her extension, please?”

These are a variety of responses you can use to get past the gatekeeper and on to your decision maker. Pick the ones that work best for your sale and your personality. If you find that you absolutely cannot get through, then try reaching out to your prospect through LinkedIn or other social media.

If you exhaust all of the above and still find you can’t get through to a prospect, then consider them disqualified for your product or service and move on. There are plenty of other deals waiting your call…

The Right Way to Open a Closing Call

How do you open your closing presentation calls? Have you scripted out the best opening, or do you wing it? Do you let your prospect take the lead, by asking if this is still a good time for them, or do you confidently and enthusiastically assume the opening and set the pace for the rest of the call? The way you open your closing call often determines how the presentation will go, and many sales reps set themselves up for stalls by opening a closing call weakly. Here’s the right way and the wrong way to open your closing calls:

The Wrong Opening #1:

“Oh hi, this is _______ _______ with _________, and we had an appointment right now to go over the presentation, is this still a good time for you?”

Now I know that it seems to make sense to check in with your prospect before just launching into your presentation, but giving them an out right at the beginning isn’t the way to go. When you use the opening I recommend below, if the time isn’t right for your prospect they’ll let you know. But don’t open your call by giving them an out…

The Wrong Opening #2:

“Oh hi, this is _______ _______ with _________, and I was just checking in with you to see if you needed anything today?”

Although this may immediately sound weak to you (and it is), you’d be shocked by how many calls I listen to that sound just this way! This kind of opening might as well be restated as, “Ah, you wouldn’t want to buy anything today, would you?” Once again, the cure is to script out an assumptive opening that offers them a choice of products or specials as you’ll read below.

The Wrong Opening #3:

“Hi, this is _______ _______ with _________, how are you today?”

Nothing telegraphs a sales call more than those four overused words: “How are you today?” Be different! Be engaging! Use an opening that signals that you’re different and that what they’re going to experience with you is more than just a worn out sales pitch…

The Right Opening #1:

“Hi _________, this is _______ _______ with ________, how’s your Friday going?

[Listen and react accordingly]

_________, I’ve been looking forward to speaking with you today because I have some updates that you’ll be particularly interested in. I’m sure you’re in front of a computer, so do me a favor and go to….”

Once again, if this isn’t a good time for your prospect (but it should be because you did send out reminder emails, right?), then they will tell you. But the power of this opening is that you are opening with some exciting news, you’re directing them into the presentation and you’re taking control of the call. And that’s what you should always be doing.

The Right Opening #2:

“Hi _________, this is _______ _______ with ________, how’s your Friday going?

Great! _________, I’m glad I reached you today, and after you hear about some of the specials we have going on today, you’ll be glad I called. Now the last time we spoke you told me you were (heavy users of/always on the look-out for/usually in need of…), and the good news is that today we have (X at $…..) and they are flying out the door. How many of these could I ship out to you today?”

Assumptive, assumptive, assumptive. Now, are they always going to buy? Of course not! But when you assume the sale and lead in with a couple of specials that you know they could be interested in, and then when you ask for an order like that, those prospects who might be interested in what you have will likely take the bait and either order or begin asking you buying questions. And that’s what you’re looking for, right?

The Right Opening #3:

“Hi _________, this is _______ _______ with ________, how’s your Friday going?”

Again, throw away the old, tired opening of “How are you today?” and replace it with a different and engaging opening that anchors your prospect into the day and actually gets them thinking about how their Friday (or Monday, or Tuesday, etc.,) is actually going. I’ve already added it to the above two openings, and you can see how much better they flow. By using it, you’ll be building a lot more rapport by asking this, and I encourage you to try it and see for yourself how effective it is.

When you combine these openings with the requalifying scripts I wrote about earlier, you’ll have the most effective and comprehensive opening possible. And it’s this type of opening that will give you the edge over your competition and get you further into a qualified presentation. And that will equal more closed sales.

How to Use Assumptive Statements

Want to make your presentations instantly better? Then invest some time and change your closed ended, weak closing statements and questions into powerfully persuasive assumptive statements that lead your buyer to make the decision you want them to make. Assumptive questions are just that – they assume an answer rather than ask it, and in doing so, they cut through any hesitation or resistance a prospect is likely to put up. In addition, a good assumptive question also heads off any smokescreen objection a prospect might try to hide behind.

If you look at your presentation carefully enough, you’ll find many opportunities to replace closed ended questions with assumptive ones. Here are some examples to get you started:

Change: “Do you have any questions for me?”

To: “What questions do you have for me?”

Change: “Would you like to get more business?”

To: “How much more business would you like to get?”

Change: “Do you think you would get more traffic (or leads) from using this?”

To: “How much more traffic (or leads) do you think you’d get using us?”

Change: “Do you think your other (departments/locations/etc.) could benefit from this?”

To: “How many other (departments/locations/etc.) would benefit from this?”

Change: “Do you have a budget for this?”

To: “What kind of budget do you have for this?”

Change: “Do you think your partner/manager/corporate would agree with this?”

To: “Why do you think your partner/manager/corporate would agree with this?”

Change: “Does this make sense to you?”

To: “Tell me, what part of this makes the most sense to you?”

Change: “Is this something you’d like to go ahead and try?”

To: “Let’s go ahead and get you started…”

Change: “What do you think your manager will say?”

To: “How do we get your manager to say yes to this?”

Change: “Are you the ultimate decision maker on this?”

To: “And besides yourself, who else would be making the final decision on this?”

Change: “Is your (current solution) providing all the leads you need?”

To: “What would you like to most improve with your (current solution)?

As you can see, nearly any open ended question can be turned into an assumptive one. And do you see how much more suggestive and powerful they are? Go through your qualifying script, your closing script and your rebuttal scripts and look for opportunities to transform your closed ended questions into powerful and effective assumptive ones. And then watch as you gain more control over selling situations and begin eliminating the objections and stalls that you may be creating right now…

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…