I hope you had a really positive week this week, either in work or home life – and hopefully both!
I have had another good week and I managed to secure a new client who I have been looking to work with for a few months now. This is a classic case of persistence and value winning in the end. I first met the MD nearly 6 months ago and I have continued to share content and ideas with him over the last few months. He had some concerns about the impact I could have with him and I dealt with these concerns with questions such as those I share below. I get asked sometimes do I take my own advice!!
The answer is a resounding yes. Everything I share are ideas and thoughts that I use in my own business. You sometimes need to work to close prospects and this builds on what we discussed in last week’s email.
Last week we looked at the five primary reasons why otherwise “ideal” prospects aren’t buying from us. I had several interesting emails and social contacts after last week’s Saturday Sales email – these scenarios seem to have rung true with many of you.
What also seemed universal was a general lack of ideas of how to go about handling some of them, and I think some of you were expecting this email to contain some spectacular tricks or “secret sauce” that was going to open up a world of previously lost sales…
Uh, no! 🙂
But we will be looking at a few ways that you can either avoid getting “stuck” in these scenarios in the first place or how you can push the sales process past these sticking points in circumstances where there is the potential for business.
The key to all this is just two foundations, and both of them are down to you:
Asking better questions and getting better engagement;
Using your emotional sales intelligence to understand your prospect better.
Let’s see how this can work in each of the scenarios we talked about last weekend.
They don’t want the service – but are too nice to say this to you
Right, this is where your intuition is needed to understand where the prospect is. If you feel this could be the reason they won’t commit, you could try an approach such as:
“Paul, look, can I ask you to be honest with me here? What are your REAL thoughts about this product? If it’s not what you need, then please tell me – I want what’s right for you.”
This is a powerful question. You’re giving the prospect a “get out of jail free” card if the product or service isn’t right, and then you can both move on.
However, if it turns out that they do like the product, it should then provoke another objection which may be the real reason behind the inaction. This gives you another bite at the cherry. It also gets your prospect to vocalise that they do like what you have to offer.
They have a fear or unspoken worry that it won’t work for them.
So, again, we need to bring this out in the open. But it’s a slightly different angle this time. Here’s an approach that might work for you:
“Sarah, tell me what you think about our solution. What concerns or worries do you have? I am keen to make sure I fully understand your thoughts so that I can resolve those for you.’
By paying close attention to their response (both verbal and emotional), you’ll be able to assess whether or not they do have concerns. By bringing these out, you then have the chance to deal with them. You can only deal with objections if they are out in the open!
They don’t believe, trust or like you
Ouch. This is the most difficult one to deal with because it turns out that the problem could be you.
Many salespeople give up at this stage, taking the easy way out that “they don’t like me, so they’re never going to buy from me”. While that might be true, if you have the courage and maturity to face this head-on there’s always a chance you can make something from nothing. Try this approach:
“Tony, I get the feeling I have done something which is causing you to be unsure about me and my solution. How can I show you that I have your best interests at heart and want to get this problem resolved for you?”
See, I told you that was only one for the brave. However, if you do go down this route, make sure you modulate your voice when you ask this. Use a tone that’s soft and low. Make full eye contact and MEAN what you say.
Be prepared to be completely honest and self-deprecating so that you can get the real thoughts from the prospect. Once you have those, you will know if this is something worth pursuing further or not.
They can’t match the price of your service with the value
Now you really should catch this one much earlier in the sales process, but plenty of salespeople don’t.
The key is to be watching your prospect’s body language and facial gestures at all times during the sales cycle, particularly when first introducing pricing.
When you brought up the cost did they look nonchalant, or was there a little wince or a raised eyebrow? Did they lean away from you, or cross their arms or legs, bring their hand to their mouth?
The best salespeople are watching for all these subtle clues at every meeting, not just the closing one. If you noticed something like this when you brought up the price the first time, address it sooner rather than later:
“Give me your honest thoughts on the investment required to get this started, Karen. How does the return on the investment you make I’ve outlined stack up for you?”
You do need to have gone through some calculations previously for this to work. That’s why it’s crucial to handle price objections as early on in the process as possible.
Here’s a video I made about how to show value to your prospects that goes into this in more detail:
They are not the decision-maker or really can’t afford it
This is another tricky one if you haven’t already asked the right questions much earlier in the sales process with your prospect.
If you find yourself at or close to the closing meeting, you need to discover quickly what the prospect’s actual situation is. You could try the following approaches, firstly if you suspect you don’t have the real decision-maker in front of you:
“John, what have we got to do to get moving on this project? Who else can we involve to make this happen?”
If you need to find out if affordability is a real concern, try:
“I do understand budgets are tight, Jane. How do you feel about investing this amount right now?”
Both of these questions are firm yet polite and friendly ways to dig a bit deeper to try and find out if you need to move on, or if it’s worth spending more time on this prospect.
So as you’ve seen, there are some things you can try that less successful salespeople wouldn’t use and would give up at an earlier stage without giving themselves any chance of success.
Also, don’t forget that knowledge is vital in sales. If you get to the bottom of an objection, it will provide you with valuable sales intelligence on them that may become very useful next quarter, or next year, when they are finally ready to buy from you.
Using your emotional sales intelligence means that you will be able to spot these potential objections earlier in the process, and handle them sooner. It also means that you will do so in a way that doesn’t negatively impact on the relationship you have built with the prospect, and that can lead to new business further down the road, or repeat business if you do sign them up this time.
I hope you found this look at handling these often tough objections useful. It also highlights that the best salespeople use the skills they have to make sure that these issues don’t crop up for the first time when you go to get a signature on the order form!
What have been your experiences – good and bad – of these kinds of reasons prospects didn’t buy from you? Do you have any examples where you could have done something differently and perhaps changed the outcome?
Let me know your experiences from the front line. You can get in touch on email via firstname.lastname@example.org or through any of the social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube – search for ‘jameswhitesales’.
I’m always keen to hear from subscribers about any topics you’d like covered in these emails or on the YouTube channel, so don’t forget to let me have your suggestions too.
So here’s to a great weekend for all of us, and I hope next week sees you putting your emotional sales intelligence to good use to win some quality business.