Slow Down To Accelerate! For anyone faced with “complex” sales…

By April 2, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

In a lifetime of selling, I think that I have heard virtually every excuse or reason for someone not to buy from me. In my earlier years, I found this kind of rejection to be frustrating, depressing and often angering. But as time went on I learned that “everyone had a right to be wrong!”…which was my way of removing me from any blame for a failure to close the deal. And as the years went by and I learned from both my triumphs and failures, I realized that to improve my success ratio I needed to take responsibility and leave the world of blame to others. It was at that time that I started acknowledging that perhaps I had failed to articulate the value of what I was offering or perhaps I had failed to understand the prospects personal agenda as well as his situational needs.

Today, I use a selling process that is incredibly effective. It is designed for more complex sales such as technical products or services or high priced items… it is not necessary to use such a process to sell preprinted post cards or calendars where the product and value is easily understood. My batting average has improved substantially at an age when I thought there was nothing left to learn about selling. Boy was I wrong about that; I was blinded by my own hubris! One of the things that has become crystal clear to me is that it is often better to slow down to accelerate. Yes, that is exactly what I mean… slow down if you want to close that deal quickly. Everyone is in a rush to close the deal but the deal cannot and will not be closed until certain mandatory things have occurred. I will tell you more about those things another time. For now, I just want to share some of the most typical objections I have faced and suspect you have faced as well.

Let’s start with: “I just don’t see the need for what you are offering.” In this objection, your prospect is telling you that they do not see the return on their investment. They believe they understand your solution, service or product but they do not see how it will make them profit, give them more time, or make life easier. When faced with this kind of objection you need to pause and think about how you can provide the prospect with evidence such as testimonials or case histories where other clients had similar doubts but went in to enjoy great benefits by purchasing from you. Another common objection is: “The timing is not right.” Or: “We don’t have the time to do this.” No one ever has the time because time is a limited resource and a body at rest tends to stay that way… remember inertia? You need to provide them with a sense of urgency and show them how time may be a wastin’ and in their hesitation they may be losing ground and market-share to a competitor. Your job is to alert them to the need for action.

My all time favorite is when the prospect says: “I really love what you are offering but we just don’t have the money right now.” The truth is there is never any money or enough money. Leaders find the money. Your prospect is going to spend money with you or without you. Focus on value and take the time to articulate the benefits they will accrue from allocating funds for your product or project. Never focus on the money, instead, focus on the value you provide and how it will improve their condition and benefit their organization.

One of the worst things to hear is: “I need to speak with my partner (fill in with a name, a title or a group).” This is troubling because it suggests that you may have failed to identify the economic buyer and thus, it can be back to square one with an even tougher hill to climb. But this is a pretty common objection and may be just a deflection. Confirm who the buyer is and then ask if there are concerns that you may have not addressed. Next is the classic: “Thanks for all of the valuable information but I need some time to review what you have proposed.” Again, this is a deflection. The buyer may be thinking, “Is this something I have the authority to approve?” Or, “What will my boss think?” “How will this make me look?” What if it fails?” “Am I giving up a better option?” Once again, you may have to rearticulate the value and provide sufficient evidence of the strength of your solution. But the toughest objection of all is when the prospect refuses to give you the objection and dismisses you with a: “If we are interested, we will get back to you.” The use of the “we” pronoun is deadly and in combination with the dismissal it signals you that the prospect does not trust you. No one will buy from someone they don’t trust unless they are coerced or forced to. If this happens you need to slow down and go back to establishing a relationship. See if you can find some common ground to talk with the prospect. Stop selling and start working on building a relationship with the prospect.

In summary, no one bats 100% but you can improve your average if you slow down and use a process. Listen carefully to what the prospect is saying to you. Put yourself in his or her shoes and see the world from that perspective. Consider what would have to happen if you were them and you were to be convinced. Try to determine the “personal” objective of the buyer as opposed to the situational reasons that are on the surface. Watch their body language… what is it telling you and how can you respond to the different signals? Plan your responses carefully and take the time to think through what you are going to say so that it builds your story and your credibility. Seek to find areas of agreement and stress them and do your best to minimize disagreement. Never argue with the prospect. If you do you lose.

And in closing, let me say that in my experience, the best thing to do is to slow down to accelerate to a close. Break the selling process into key phases or steps and don’t try to stuff them all into one session. Take your time and achieve your objective for each step along the way. Happy hunting!

You can contact David at david@executive-confidential.com or call him at 631-392-1530

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