On Saturday evening’s, beginning in 1969, many in my generation watched a feel-good country music variety TV show called Hee-Haw, direct from “Kornfield Kounty,” near Nashville. Each week at some point in the show, Buck Owens and Roy Clark would do a humorous bit of one sort or another, and then sing a chorus they wrote that went like this:
Gloom, despair, and agony on me.
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery.
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.
Gloom, despair, and agony on me.
Salespeople too, especially blue collar residential reps, experience a lot of “gloom and despair” during the lead-lean offseason. Much of that “agony” stems from “apathy,” as homeowners exhibit indifference toward salespeople who contact them for an appointment or attempt to conduct a sales conversation with them. Several reasons come to mind why a majority of the buying public reacts this way when they are contacted:
They don’t believe they have a problem and therefore, don’t want to be bothered.
They think you want to try to sell them something they probably don’t need.
They may have some version of what you are offering and feel satisfied with it.
With that level of complacency facing you out there in the wild, you’re likely to hear responses similar to these:
“Sorry but we’re just not interested.”
“Thanks, but I don’t think I have that problem.”
“Look, if I decide I need you in the future, I’ll call you.”
So when you hear a reply like one of these, you should respond instantly, since in the prospect’s mind he is through with you. The simple strategy I recommend is certainly not a “silver bullet,” but it is a good Plan B and will give you a shot at reversing the “No” you just got hit with. Your objective is to achieve a change of perspective and hopefully a response like, “We hadn’t even thought about it that way.” It will prolong the conversation and some of the “No’s” will change their mind and set appointments with you. For illustration purposes of this strategy, let’s assume you are an HVAC comfort consultant making phone calls to homeowners during the winter to set appointments, and one of your prospects, Mr. Panichi, has responded with, “We’ve never had any HVAC troubles here during the entire 15 years we’ve owned this home, so thanks but no thanks.”
Agree initially with their point of view in order to quickly disarm them, since they are certainly thinking you want to sell them something unnecessary, and they just want to get you off the phone. Maybe you respond with something like this:
“I’m really glad you haven’t experienced any trouble up until now.”
“I don’t blame you for not wanting to talk about this.”
“Most people don’t think twice about this until their unit quits blowing warm (or cold) air.”
Ask for permission to ask a question, hoping to change their perspective.
“I’m really not trying to give you a sales pitch, but is it OK if I just ask you a couple of questions that could help me learn how I might serve you in the future?”
Assess their situation quickly by using a pre-planned analogy to uncover circumstances that would have a negative impact on the prospect, which would in turn lead to an opportunity for you. Share a consequence of inaction and then ask if they are willing to act in order to avoid it.
Here’s what that might sound like once you have permission “to ask a couple of questions:”
You: “Since you obviously want to keep your system running trouble free as long as possible, let me play “what if” for a minute. Mr. Panichi, what would you say if someone you know had an older car with high mileage that was beginning to need expensive repairs, but the owner kept pouring money into it instead of replacing it with a newer vehicle?”
Panichi: “I’d say that would be a mistake.”
You: “What do you think would happen if say, his transmission went out and the cost of a rebuilt one was more than his car was even worth?”
Panichi: “He would lose either way.”
You: “If he could have a do-over, do you think he would have replaced that old car sooner?”
Panichi: “Sure, who wouldn’t?”
You: “Well I shared that story because your HVAC system is one of the most expensive components in your home, and if it is over 12 years old, it could be a real mistake to spend a lot of money on it when it breaks down, and it will. That said, would it at least make sense to get a FREE assessment and energy audit, so you will know where you stand now and what options are available to you in the future?”
If you get a YES in any form, set an appointment. If you get a NO, remember this strategy was a Plan B to try to turn around the negative response you received initially, and it only required an additional one to two minutes. This might just reduce the amount of gloom, despair, and agony on YOU.
REMEMBER: Some Will, Some Won’t; So What, Who’s Next?
——From the Grand Canyon State——
Thanks Doug! At our franchise here in Arizona we all appreciate the online coaching you are giving us, and our sales team has flourished since we began.
©2017 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC