When I was still a bit green in my selling career, I had this dream. In it, I went to sell my product to a married couple -- and they were so helpful! They thoroughly enjoyed my presentation. They agreed to everything I mentioned. They didn’t ask any questions or give any objections. They even helped me fill out the paperwork! The whole transaction was completed and in record time. I walked out their door with check in hand, several qualified leads and two very happy people waving good-bye. What a wonderful dream! Somehow, I don’t think I was alone in having a dream of that sort. Most new salespeople think that’s what selling is like. Unfortunately, some veteran salespeople keep looking for that dream to come true, as well.
That’s why, when I begin teaching at my seminars, I remind my students that there are seven steps in the selling process. They include: Prospecting, Original Contact, Qualification, Presentation, Addressing Concerns, Closing and Getting Referrals.
Please take note that addressing concerns is a normal step in any sale. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any salesperson who truly wants to make a career in selling any more than the fact that prospecting is a normal step in the process. It’s human nature to object, hesitate, stall or procrastinate when making any decision that separates us from our money. We have to feel absolutely confident that what we are replacing that money with will give us all the benefits we want. We have to be comfortable with the value we are receiving for our hard-earned dollars. I know that’s true about me, so why should I expect my prospective clients to be any different?
My success rate in sales increased tremendously when I came to expect to hear concerns raised instead of fearing to hear them. When I began to listen for them, to anticipate their arrival, I was amazed to learn that I was hearing basically the same three or four concerns in nearly every selling situation. That’s when I began doing some serious analysis. I spent a few hours thinking about each of those areas of concern. Why were my prospects saying these things and what could I do or say to help them get comfortably past these points?
I began by putting myself in their position and discovered most prospects were objecting because of one basic emotion that was being triggered--FEAR. They were afraid to make an irreversible decision. They were afraid to make a commitment with their money. They were afraid the product wouldn’t live up to their expectations. They were afraid I was a “take-the-money-and-run” salesperson whom they’d never be able to reach again when they had questions or problems about the product after they owned it.
Realizing those points, I began to make some changes in my presentations. I eliminated words from my vocabulary that provoked fear (see my training about rejection or “nasty” words for more.)
Let me explain what concerns or objections really are. Besides being a normal part of the selling sequence, concerns are defense mechanisms. They are ways for the buyer to tell you you’re moving too fast. They are ways the buyer tells you they need more information before they can feel confident about going ahead with the investment. Always remember, the prospect is not objecting to you, personally. They are concerned about some aspect of the product or service that they are not yet comfortable with.
I teach two don’ts and one do for handling every concern you hear.
(1) DON’T argue. If this sounds silly to you, good. You already know this. But, even though you know it, do you fight with them in the back of your mind? If you do, eventually it will begin to show. When potential buyers object, they’re asking for more information. If the salesperson gets upset, sarcastic or applies pressure, he or she is, in essence, killing the sale. If the salesperson wins the argument, the prospect is beaten and will often find a way to get back at him or her. Usually, by buying from someone else.
(2) DON’T attack them when you overcome their objections. Put space between your prospects and their objections. By this I mean that you must be careful to separate your people from every one of their objections as they come up before you can be sure that, when you shoot at the objection, you don’t hit the prospect in a vital spot. Learn to develop a sensitivity to how your prospects feel when they voice their objections. Show concern for saving their face, not determination to prove them wrong. If you start fighting their feelings, their negative emotions will always take over.
And, we’ve worked so hard to eliminate negative, fear-producing images thus far, so let’s not blow it when we hear an objection. Objections simply tell you where their interests lie. Take advantage of that information to learn what you must emphasize, eliminate or change before they’ll buy.
For example, if a man buying tires for his wife’s car expresses concern about the safety or reliability of the tires, he’s concerned for his loved ones. You would then sell security. If instead you harp on the low cost, he will realize you’re not paying attention to his concerns and you’ll very often lose the sale.
(3) DO lead them to answer their own objections. A true professional always tries to maneuver prospects into answering their own objections. Most prospects will do just that given time and a little more information. After all, deep down they want to go ahead. They wouldn’t waste their time objecting to something they didn’t want to own, would they?
Guest Tipster - Andrea Sittig-Rolf
Leveraging Ambassadors to Close Business
by Andrea Sittig-Rolf
Have you ever wondered how you could leverage your current customers as Ambassadors to help you close more business? Have you ever asked your current customers to be your Ambassador and help you close a new opportunity? Have you considered that if you have, in fact, created outstanding results for your customers and they're happy with the service you've provided, that they might just be willing to return the favor ... if you just ask? Introducing your new prospects to happy customers creates a compelling environment for your prospects to decide to do business with you.
To clarify, the difference between this technique of leveraging or empowering Ambassadors to close business versus empowering Ambassadors to promote your business, is that in leveraging them to close business, YOU are the one bringing the prospect and current customer together to have a discussion about the services you provide and the outstanding results you create. When empowering Ambassadors to promote your business, the Ambassador is bringing the prospects to you to close.
The next time you have an opportunity to close a new customer, consider your current customers who are happy with the solution or service you have provided. Also take into account the type of industry, company size, annual revenue or other relevant factors that pertain to your prospect, and match them up with your current customers who have some or all of the same characteristics of your prospect.
Once you find common ground between your prospect and a current customer, reach out to your current customer and ask if they'd be willing to sit down with you and your prospect to discuss the solution you implemented for your current customer and how it has benefited them.
You will find that most happy customers are more than willing to do this if you just ask.
During the meeting, after making the introductions and explaining to the prospect the solution you implemented for your current customer, watch what happens next...
Chances are, your customer will jump right in and sing your praises to your prospect, making the "close" a no-brainer.
Try this technique of empowering your current customers to do the closing for you and watch your closing ratio increase to a whole new level!
For more information about working with Ambassadors check out Andrea’s newest book: Power Referrals: The Ambassador Method for Empowering Others to Promote Your Business and Do the Selling for You (McGraw-Hill, 2008). Each purchase comes with 20 FREE downloads to help you on your way to getting Power Referrals!
Talk about getting referrals!
I built my original real estate sales business from nothing
to being a 98% referral business within 3 years
by keeping in touch with my clients.
I heartily endorse the Send Out Cards program.
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CLOSE OF THE MONTH
The Time Trap Close
This close works best with larger items, such as homes, retirement plans, or long-term investments.
Phraseology: “John, over 90% of the people in our country aren’t comfortable with their situations when retirement comes along. The biggest reason for this is what I call the “Time Trap.” You are currently ___ years old. What do you feel you’ll be doing ___ years from now?”
Listen. Many people just aren’t sure.
“I hope that’ll be your situation, but now is the time to take steps to make that a reality. I know that the future seems far away now, but consider what you were doing 20 years ago. When you look back, events seem like they happened just yesterday, don’t they? Time has a way of looking like a wide expanse into the future. Yet, it compresses as we look back into the past. We want to make sure that in ___ years you’re not looking back saying, ‘where has the time gone’ and not be at a comfortable place to enjoy your golden years. Let’s see what we can begin doing today to ensure your future.”
Master this and many other proven-effective closes by reading, Sales Closing for Dummies.
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