In all my years of sales, a mistake I regularly see is the belief that OVERCOMING OBJECTIONS is the most vital part of the sale.
More often than any other component of the sale, my counsel has been sought on that topic – how to overcome objections – common and rare – from the customers my team has encountered.
My team members have requested I jump into the deep end of the pool on their sales calls and visits, expecting me to dig them out of whatever hole they have found them in. Sometimes I am successful but, other times, I deem this impossible because no foundation has been built. Even when I am successful, I pretty much have to begin the routine all over again because vital pieces of the buildup have been omitted.
What does all of this mean?
You cannot build a successful sales visit or call without LAYING THE FOUNDATION. This starts from even before the call is made.
First, recognize that this is a game where numbers reign king; it is a contact sport and you have to optimize your time so as to effectively cover as many leads as humanly possible in the time alotted. Sometimes, preparation is poision – do not spend so much time psyching yourself out that this lead is of good quality when the preponderance of the time your knock on the door, entrance into a business or cold call is met with no decision maker on the other end.
In addition, a big stumbling block occurs at the beginning of the call – if you give the decision maker the opportunity to get a word in edgewise that you did not elicit OR if you fail to ask the right stuff while putting together your case against the customer’s weaknesses, you will lose.
Customers have a strategy, too. It is called GETTING RID OF YOU. Anticipate it. Your mission is to push each sales call as far as you can and be able to look back and know the specific reason the customer did not believe in you and/or your product. Period. Asking yes or no questions, allowing the customer to bully you around or failing to recognize your role as prosecuting attorney asking pointed questions designed to attack their pressure points later will lead to your demise.
YOUR INTRODUCTION needs to state your name, company, your intention and TRANSITION IMMEDIATELY into a question – the first question on your itinerary. Do not give them a chance to say anything outside of your program. They will try and, when they do, you ACKNOWLEDGE IT, RESPECTFULLY PUT IT IN ITS PLACE and then MOVE ON TO YOUR NEXT AGENDA ITEM, be it your next question or, if you have enough information, YOUR PITCH.
Remember, you will not close them all. You will not overcome every objection. You will not win over every customer. However, you will not even make it out of the gates if you fail to set up the RIGHT FOUNDATION for your sale.
That foundation begins from the moment you knock on that door or dial the phone. What happens next is ALWAYS up to you.
The reason this is so imperative is because IF you actually manage to get to a pitch or you later try to overcome objections from your customer, the process on your end will be half baked. Without uncovering NEEDS AND WEAKNESSES from your customer, without being able to USE THEIR OWN WORDS AGAINST THEM and without knowing anything about their current situation, you do not have a leg to stand on when you are backed up to the wall.
Focus on finding out what makes your customer tick. Once you determine that, you must show them what their weaknesses are – make them realize what they are – and show them how what you have cures what ails them. THAT is sales. And that, my friends, is what will make you a master of the selling game.
Make it a great selling day! All the best.
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