How many times have we all heard that “timing is everything?” I can certainly attest to that and will give you an example from my past. In 1980 I made a career change into a sales field totally foreign to any of my past employment experience. The reason I did this was due to a personal encounter I had that completely changed my outlook about how I viewed the way I, and most other Americans, purchased their insurance and savings-related products. I was so enamored with how much these concepts improved my financial situation that after aligning my finances this way I decided to go to work for the company that was offering this radical financial approach.
Nearly two years later, after posting phenomenal growth, this company published a prospectus in preparation to an initial public offering of its stock. An older man I knew well, who had been involved with this company since its inception, asked how many shares I planned to purchase. I told him that I planned to wait until the next year to plug some money into this company’s stock. He went ballistic and told me that this IPO, where current associates could purchase shares at $5, would not be available once the company went public, and that I would have to pay whatever the market price was at the time. He told me that he thought this would be the best financial opportunity of our lifetime, and that he was investing $250,000. He then told me I would be making a tremendous mistake if I didn’t do whatever was necessary to come up with as much money as possible and participate in this IPO.
At that time the only money I had was the equity in my home. But that guy’s passion, along with the company track record I’d seen since working there, convinced me to approach my wife with the idea of selling our house and buying as much of this stock as we could. Long story short, she finally agreed and we netted $10,000 from the sale of the house and purchased 2,000 shares of the IPO just before the cutoff date. In October 1982 the company went public and only a year later the shares were selling for almost $60, a 12 times increase over what we paid for them. So if I had followed my plan, I would have purchased $60 shares rather than $5 shares. DO THE MATH and you can see what I mean about the importance of timing! Additionally this investment catapulted my personal finances forward in ways I never imagined. BTW, two year later we were able to replace the house we sold to free up investing capital with one much nicer and newer.
Timing is also very important in every aspect of selling. When it comes to objections, your job is not only to be prepared for them, but also to decide when to address them.
There are four common time frames you can choose from to respond to concerns and roadblocks:
Prior – Before They Come Up
Present – When They Come Up
Post – Later
Pass Over – Never
Let’s take a quick look at each one so you can better decide when to address these interruptions that pop up during your selling conversations:
————I Thought I Was Retiring————
I left the corporate world several years ago and signed up to receive my monthly ration of social security and pension funds. Since my bucket list included writing a book, I spent the next 18 months writing and getting it published. Things blew up after that and today I conduct 30 online sales coaching sessions each month for blue collar companies. I doubt if you can convince me to conduct a new online session for your company, but I have developed an inexpensive regimen of DIY sales coaching you can conduct for your sales folks and technicians while I’m playing with my grandkids.
1. Prior – You may not even have thought about it this way, but most of the objections that come your way are common and recur frequently. That said, it may be smart to just provide an answer for these during your presentation, before they can even be verbalized by your buyer.
When you answer objections that have yet to surface, since you won’t be put on the spot to address them, you are actually taking them away from the buyer. You should be aware that if you choose to conduct a pre-emptive strike with a particular objection, you’ll need to introduce it into evidence, something like this:
“Since I heard you mention that the C-level officers just had their suites remodeled, let me put your mind to rest as to how we will install the fiber optics there without harming the new decor… I just imagined that was something causing you concern.”
Choosing to handle objections before they occur really demonstrates forethought and professionalism, and helps earn more trust from your buyer.
2. Present – This doesn’t require a complicated answer. When you hear objections, just answer them; remembering to follow a simple process like this one I’ve touted for years:
Reduce the Drama – Agree before you disagree avoid a spectacle and then counter
Respond with an Answer – Make sure to include logical and emotional benefits
Ratify the Acceptance – Ask a closed question to confirm your prospect is satisfied with your explanation.
3. Post – This would be an option to consider when you know the answer to a concern is in your presentation materials and will be covered very soon, such as:
“That’s a valid concern you just brought up, and the answer is a couple of screens ahead on my iPad. Can I defer my answer and cover it then?”
4. Pass Over – Some customer objections are so ridiculous that they don’t deserve a reply. Downplay and minimize them or even ignore them and just continue presenting. An example of that type of objection and response might be a prospect stating she heard somewhere your company was under investigation by the Secretary of State:
“I see. Well, I didn’t get that memo and came to work today as always… Now, as I was saying…” OR
“Seriously…sounds like somebody didn’t want you to talk to me. Let’s move on and look at Option #2 …”
The bottom line with concerns and objections is that you have control over when to address them. Like all selling strategies, you should invest some time offline practicing all four of these options, in order to be more comfortable and confident using them in live situations as they occur.
©2017 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC