After every flight, UPS pilots fill out a form called a ‘gripe sheet’ which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics address the problems; document their actions on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight. Following are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by UPS pilots (P) and the solutions (S) provided by maintenance technicians.
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right and be serious.
P: Friction locks are causing throttle levers to stick.
S: That’s what friction locks are for.
P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF is always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: After brief search engine found on right wing.
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from the midget.
This is a humorous way of being reminded that some objections you get are valid and should be addressed, but many others are just plain goofy. Recently I heard an associate with the RAIN Sales Training and Consulting Group based in Boston, say it this way; nearly all sales objections come down to one of four things: Need, Urgency, Trust, Money. He was reminding salespeople to make sure they didn’t let objections drive them NUT$!
With this acronym in mind, let’s briefly look at these four types of sales objections and a couple of ideas to navigate each one of them.
The bottom line is that in order to become a customer of yours, prospects must have a need for what you offer. If you can’t somehow solve a problem or improve their life with your product or service, it’s going to be a NO SALE.
The flip side however, is that you may also miss the sale by knowing that there is a real need but doing a lousy job of strapping it to the prospect, causing them not to realize they can’t live without it.
As you perform your discovery, here are a couple of ideas to improve the odds of gorilla-gluing a need to your prospect:
- Always focus on results and not methods, because people buy benefits, not features. I am so convinced of this that nearly forty years ago I stood by the bedside of my wife as she struggled for hours to deliver our first child and blurted out, “Honey I’m sick and tired of hearing all these labor pains, I want to see the baby!” Turns out that wasn’t the wisest thing I ever said, but the principle was absolutely correct. Funny how I remember EXACTLY what I said that day when I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday.
- Probe, using your best friends; a.k.a. open questions, beginning with the magic words what, why, when, where, how, and who to help uncover bona fide needs. It’s equally important during the probing process, to not snag the first need and immediately begin selling. I remember reading about Frank Bettger, one of the most successful salespeople from the early 20th century who, after determining a prospect’s need would follow up with, “In addition to that…” He did that as a result of keeping accurate records over the years that taught him most homeowners and business buyers harbored multiple needs. The only way to really hit it out of the sales park is to develop a uniqueness for uncovering all prospect needs, and then providing solutions for them.
This one drives me crazy. You build the relationship, develop trust, have the right chemistry, prove you can help, and the prospect knows it, and money is not the primary issue; but they still say “it’s just not the right time.” The prospect “has a lot of balls in the air,” they need to close out the quarter, they don’t want to bring you in as a new vendor until they finalize… (whatever). On the other hand if it’s a residential prospect, it the same old drivel like; “We’re traveling out of the country for the next couple months,” or “I’m waiting for last year’s tax refund to arrive,” or “We don’t really want to have that done until after school starts,” blah-blah-blah.
Therefore YOU are the one that must create the sense of urgency, by emphasizing both “flavors” of benefits (logical and emotional) so your prospect will realize there is more value in moving forward now than putting it off until a more convenient time. Here’s a couple of suggestions:
- Restate the logical benefits of your solution by reminding the prospect a little bit about how it works. “Mr. Homeowner don’t forget the anticipated monthly savings on your power bill from installing the additional insulation. This project is designed to pay for itself in approximately three years, so every month you wait just pushes back those savings.” Remember the original need you discovered was electric bills that were too high. Stay on that like a laser beam so the homeowner can’t overlook the return on investment. If they are allowed to take their eyes off the ball, urgency won’t be there.
- Most importantly, reiterate the emotional benefits of your solution, because people buy with emotion and justify those buying decisions with their brains. “I want to remind you, Mr. Homeowner how much better you said you would sleep at night when this project was completed, knowing there would be much less stress on your HVAC system, which should extend its life a few more years, hopefully long enough to get Bucky through college.”
Next time Selling Point will address the other two types of objections, No Trust and No Money, so don’t miss it.
———–You Said What???———–
“Doug, I just want you to know that your weekly coaching is so crucial to me personally that if my boss were to discontinue these sessions, thinking the company can no longer afford them, I will pay for them out of my own pocket in order to continue meeting with you.” Michael Jarrett, Service Manager, HVAC. You gotta be curious about a statement like this. Take a look here.
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