The Triplicate of Choice for Money

I’m often asked how to eliminate money objections. The single best strategy I have is the triplicate of choice for money strategy.

Here’s how it goes: You suggest three different ranges of “investments” for your type of product. Then you ask the buyers what range feels most comfortable to them.

Most buyers will give you a range. Some will not. Those who don’t will say something like, “I don’t know what to expect in purchasing X because I’ve never considered it before.” And, those people will be handled differently. But, for those who already know about and/or own your type of product, the triplicate of choice is great for eliminating a money concern. By giving them a range of amounts up front–before you present–you will be able to adjust your presentation to deliver a product that suits their budget.

Here’s an example of what this strategy might sound like:

“Most people interested in acquiring this type of equipment with its standard options are prepared to invest $12,000. A fortunate few can invest between $15,000 and $20,000 which allows them to include all of the premium options. And then there are those on a limited or fixed budget who— with the high cost of everything today—can’t go higher than $10,000. May I ask, which of these categories does your company fit into most comfortably, Mary?”

“We were thinking of spending about $12,000.”

Why did she say that? In actual fact, Mary possibly didn’t have an exact amount in mind. She doesn’t want to be in the bottom category, so Mary opted for the middle figure.

I’ve structured the figures to allow me to say at this point, “What I’m excited about is this: the machine that meets all your minimum requirements involves an investment of only $10,000—substantially less than the amount you’re prepared to spend.” After you’ve completed your presentation and asked for the order, Mary can’t say “it costs too much” now, can she?

I’d still be okay if Mary had assigned her company to the lowest category. You see how it works. Structure this technique so that you come up a winner no matter what figure they pick. This is the best single strategy for eliminating the money as a potential objection later in the process. In fact, many sales are made at this point, it’s just a matter of presenting the product that’s best for them. You may not even have to concern yourself with addressing concerns or using closes that are typical of most selling situations.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Selling Value vs Price

As a sales professional, please realize the difference in selling value vs price. If you are selling a value-based product against a price-based product, trying to compete on price is a recipe for an unfulfilling sales career. People who make purchasing decisions primarily on price will encourage a bidding situation between competitors.

When selling value, you can avoid bidding situations by establishing your value proposition early in the sales appointment with a discovery question about their intentions: “Is the lowest investment your only consideration, or is quality also important?” You want to hear the buyer say something like “Price is important, but we also want the quality to be good.”

Later in the sales process, if the buyer hesitates on the investment for your product, you simply refer back to their earlier statement about value. “I’m sorry, I thought you said earlier that you were interested in both pricing and quality.”

“Well…yes.”

“Do you feel it is reasonable to pay the same for two different levels of quality?”

“Um…”

Remain calm because that earns you more negotiating time with the buyer. Sincerely ask about the buyer’s previous statement with the intention to understand. You want to discover what she is thinking at this point. If your buyer suggests your value-based product should be priced the same as your price-based competition, then you probably didn’t persuade her very well about the value of your product during the presentation.

The second way to avoid a bidding situation is refuse to participate. Let’s replay the example above. The buyer says, “Your bid is at $4,100 and your competitor’s bid is at $3,600. Match the competitor’s price or I will buy from them.”

You respond with, “I’ll be glad to see what we can do for you about lowering your investment. However, to ensure getting you the highest-quality product, I may not be able to match the competitor’s bid.”

Many buyers are so conditioned to deal in price, they are caught off guard. “Well, uh…why not?” your buyer asks.

That is your opportunity to affirm the value of your products. “Because there are too many ways to cut corners when the money is tight. We don’t believe in cutting corners. We charge enough to do the job right the first time.”

You’ve just planted a seed of insecurity in the buyer’s mind. She starts to wonder what she’ll lose in quality by playing the price game. You just reset the focus of the conversation from price back to value. If she is still in the conversation, she will probably say, “How low can you go?”

“I’ll check on it and get back to you as quickly as possible.” What you’ve just done here is to stall her from purchasing from the competition. If she’s really interested in how low you can go, she will wait for your answer before making any decisions.

The buyer may decide that value is a more important factor after all. Or the buyer may go ahead and buy from the competitor. But one thing the buyer won’t do is bid down your company and negatively affect your ability to move your product at a higher amount with other potential clients. You opted out of the bid-down situation, protected your margin structure, and made a powerful statement to the buyer about the value of your products. More important, you have made a powerful statement to yourself about the value of your products. Most salespeople “talk the talk” about the value of their products, but their actions betray their level of conviction when buyers squeeze them on price.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. and Tigran LLC.

Excerpted from When Buyers Say No. Order an autographed copy here for less than Amazon charges for the book: http://www.tomhopkins.com/p/1590.html 

Get Buyers to Answer Their Own Concerns

The most important “do” of addressing concerns is: Get the other person to answer his own objection. That advice may sound tricky to follow, but here’s why it’s so important: You’re trying to persuade your prospect, so he’ll be likely to have reservations about anything you do or say. Why? Because anything you say must be good for you, too. Until the prospect realizes that you’re acting in his best interest, he will doubt you.

When you say it, a prospective client tends to doubt it. When he says it, the buyer believes it to be true. And that’s why you want to get your prospect to answer his own objections — because he’s much more likely to believe himself than he is to believe you. All you need to do is provide the information that answers his concern and let him draw his own conclusions. You let him persuade himself.

35053You may need to nudge a client a little by asking a question to get him to state the desired answer: “How do you see that feature impacting your company’s level of efficiency, Josh?” It’s much more powerful when he answers than if you just say, “That feature will increase your company’s efficiency by 20 percent.” See the difference? Take advantage of the strategy, and you’ll close more sales because your clients will be convincing themselves.

This technique often works well when you persuade a married couple (children, take note). When one partner objects to something, don’t respond immediately. Average persuaders are quick to defend their offering. But there’s a better way: Learn to sit tight. Many times, one spouse jumps in with the next comment, and you have a 50/50 chance that the originally silent spouse will answer the objection for you. If the second spouse agrees with his partner’s objection, then you know you’ll have to work a little harder to overcome it. The point is that these two people already have a positive relationship (you hope) and trust each other’s judgment. Being quiet while they think it through can cause the objection to evaporate into thin air right before your eyes.

When something important to you is hanging in the balance, being patient is difficult. During such moments, seconds feel like hours, and you can quickly become very uncomfortable. To keep yourself from jumping in too soon, try this trick. Silently count to 20 or 30. Or you may want to count the seconds by saying to yourself, “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three,” and so on. (Just remember to count to yourself, not aloud.) Some salespeople recite a short poem to themselves to kill that time. Just don’t let your mind wander off from the matter at hand. Whatever method you choose, just be careful not to let them see your lips move.

What you never want to do when you’re waiting for a response is look at your watch or at a clock in the room. Even a slight glance at a timepiece can distract the prospects because they’re already looking at you, waiting for your next move. So practice waiting until you’re comfortable with it.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. Excerpted from Selling for Dummies, 4th Edition (Wiley).

Hearing No is Part of Getting to Yes

Champion sales people understand that hearing no is part of getting to yes. Average sales people let every nuance of the word no strike them like arrows and deflate the rest of their sales presentations. Think about how the following comments by potential clients make you feel:

056BZC01“Well, Jim, that new equipment you showed me sure is nice, but unfortunately I’m just going to have to say, ‘no.’”

“We appreciate all the information you’ve shared with us, Mary, but we’re not going to do this right now.”

Those are typical words and phrases sales people hear all day long, every selling day. For average sales people those words signal defeat. The gut reaction experienced when hearing them is an immediate one—of failure and rejection—something sales people go through on a regular basis.

In fact, since rejections are so common, it’s a wonder that so few sales people anticipate hearing them and prepare to deflect the negative feelings they can create. Most sales people just accept those words and the feelings they generate as part of the game of selling.

How often you hear the words and phrases like those above will depend on your abilities and skills as a sales person. But what you do and say after hearing them will make a world of difference in your closing ratio and in your personal bottom line.

Getting to “Yes”

This post is about “yes.” But the starting point is “no.”

The truth of the matter in selling is that very few buyers will say “yes” the first time they’re asked to own a product or service. Yet, the irony is that most sales people are willing to give up and accept rejection after hearing that first “no.”

Think about how you would feel if you heard the words at the beginning of this post.

  • Would you feel the physical effect of disappointment? It’s that sinking, let down feeling. It can be a tired feeling as your formerly pumped-up selling emotions trickle down the drain.
  • Would you mentally stop closing and simply move into “Let’s keep in touch”mode where you decide what to leave behind, what to pack away, and about moving on to your next meeting?
  • Would you say, “That’s okay.” “I understand.” Or, “I’ll touch back just in case you change your mind?”

That’s how average sales people respond. So my question to you today is this: Do you want to be average – or do you want to encourage yourself to become better than that?

There’s a whole lotta selling to be done after you hear the word no. It’s just a matter of understanding the many meanings of the word no, selecting the one this particular client means, and working with it.

When you understand that “no” doesn’t always mean “no sale,” those words will roll off your back like a duck sheds water and you’ll keep paddling forward in the sales process.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Wiping the Slate Clean in Sales

clean slateAs part of the sales process, you might need to resort to a strategy of wiping the slate clean with your potential clients. Much of the decision process is based on past buying experiences. If your buyer made a purchase of a product similar to yours and was unhappy with it you face a double-edged sword. On one side, they are unhappy with your competitor’s product which makes them a pretty good candidate for yours. On the other side, their bad past experience may make them hesitant to even try your type of product again. [Read more…]

Low Profile Selling

35312closed saleWhat do salespeople really do when they close sales?

When I wrote the book Low Profile Selling, I wanted to get away from the term “closing” because it’s considered by some as too hard-sell. So, I decided to use the word “consummate” instead. In the dictionary, the word “consummate” means “perfect ending.” I like the sound of that and the image it brings to mind. It’s the perfect ending. Everyone is happy. The new client is happy with the benefits they’ll receive. You’re happy because you now have a new client. Your manager will be happy because you moved product. Everyone is happy. [Read more…]

Closing Tough Sales – Put the Shoe on the Buyer’s Foot

42209 Put the ShoeWhen it comes to closing tough sales, it’s wise to mentally walk the proverbial ‘mile in the other person’s shoes’ so you can gain a clear understanding of their feelings about your company, your brand, or the specific product you market. In order to lower their defenses and open their minds to allowing you to serve their needs, it’s also critical that you put the shoe on the buyer’s foot.

This strategy is particularly helpful in situations where you are calling on a client who had a bad past experience with another representative of your company. You will have to work twice as hard to earn their business as you would with a buyer who has had little or no experience with your company.

This buyer will have built a pretty high wall of sales resistance, but just the fact that he or she has agreed to meet with you speaks volumes. Perhaps they love the product but just didn’t like the previous representative. You will have to sell yourself first.

This potentially tough conversation might begin like this: “The last guy from your company sold us the product then never called again. We had an issue with it right after installation and he wouldn’t return my calls. I have to tell you I was pretty fed up with the whole thing.” Ouch!

Even though you weren’t the “bad guy” in this situation, you are there to represent your company well. Start by apologizing for how the client was treated. “Let me begin by apologizing for how you were treated in the past.” It’s really that simple. Most people just want their discomfort or unhappiness acknowledged.

Then, to break down that wall of resistance, say: “Just for a moment, would you please pretend that you’re the owner of my company. You’ve just learned that one of your representatives has damaged your relationship with a valued client. How would you handle that situation?” This allows the buyer to envision the challenge being resolved. They might say, “I’d fire the jerk.” They might say, “I’d send that guy back through training or get him out of customer service all together.” It doesn’t really matter what they say. Just listen. Let them get it all out.

Then, take charge of the remedy yourself by saying, “That’s might very well be what happened because I’ve been assigned the task of resolving any past issues you had with our company and to provide you with excellent service going forward. Help me understand your needs so we can determine how best to serve them.” With those words you’ve just hurdled that wall of sales resistance and landed softly on the same side as your buyer.

If you never address that “elephant in the room” — the other salesperson or the bad equipment or poor service — the buyer will stay ever vigilant for the moment you prove yourself to be just like that other guy and provide disappointment. Would you rather help your buyers to be watchful for how great your service is?

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. For reprint permission, please contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).
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Closing Strategies, “Not in budget”

When you are working with purchasing agents or heads of households, they will often try to stall you or dismiss you by saying the purchase of your product just isn’t in their budget. For some, it can become reflexive to say that. Rather than let the impersonal budget stand between you and a potential sale, get them to admit who is in charge of the budget. Then, sell the value of your offering over the value of sticking to something that was created before they even knew your benefits were available.  [Read more…]

Real Estate Concerns: “We wanted another bedroom.”

Real estate agent with coupleWhat do you say when you hear this one? “The home is very nice, but we  really wanted another bedroom.”

When they say this, what does it really tell you? They don’t need that extra room. They were really hoping for it, but the odds are good, since you did a good job of qualifying that both you and they know they can’t afford a home with that extra bedroom.

Your job now is one of asking questions to help them gain a more realistic view of their situation. Try these words, “John and Mary, I know when we first talked you were hoping to find a home in this neighborhood where you could possibly have an extra bedroom. Knowing inventory the way I do, I’m afraid there just isn’t one available in your price range. If you’re open to considering a different neighborhood, or school district for the children, I might be able to find a nice home with the extra bedroom. I would be happy to research that for you, but have to ask, what will you base your final decision on: having that extra bedroom or having your children attend the schools you (and they) prefer?”

In most cases, the quality of the children’s education will far outweigh having that extra room that they were “hoping” for. Of course, if you work in an area with an open enrollment, perhaps the parents would be happy to drive their children to the better schools and live a little farther away in order to have that extra room. [Read more…]

What to Say When You Hear “I want to think it over”

If you’ve been in sales for more than five minutes, you’ve heard this from a buyer: “I’ll think about it” or “I want to think it over.” It’s almost as natural to them as saying, “No, thanks. Just looking” when asked “May I help you?” Why do they say it so often? Because with average salespeople it works. It stops them dead in their tracks.

But, I know that you don’t want to be average. You have set your sights on being a champion salesperson. Your aim is to serve more clients than the average salesperson. So, you learn and prepare yourself to overcome the most common objections.

So, let me give you the answer you’ve been waiting for. Whenever you hear a buyer say, “I want to think it over,” “We’ll sleep on it,” or “We’ll get back to you,” it’s very likely that they like what you’re offering and are feeling compelled to own it. These stalls are just their way of slowing down that buying momentum because they’re a little afraid to part with their hard-earned money. [Read more…]