Yesterday we discussed the first 3 ways to work to overcome a prospective customer’s objections, today let’s discuss the last 2.
4. Dollarize Your Benefits Often when you get a rejection that is a knee-jerk reaction it can be because YOU have not quantified, or “dollarized” what you can do–how much profit you can create for your customer. The perception of “value” is always going to be considered when purchasing a product or service (regardless of whether is dollar value or emotional value). Therefore this value aspect must be presented. To paraphrase Tom Hopkins, if you are trying to sell a website to a new prospect for $5,000, yet they were only ready to spend $3,000, you need to illustrate to the customer why they should spend that extra $2,000, and how your process is going to be worth that $2,000 investment. My suggestion is to amortize the $2,000, and highlight how if over ten years the additional investment of $200 per year will quickly be overcome by the additional business that will be won with your website. In business, the bottom line is king, focus on that and guide your prospect to full understanding of the financial benefits and they will choose you.
5. No is GOOD I once read a piece written by a very, very successful Wall Street broker, who wrote that if he did not hear “No” several times per day, he knew he was not working hard enough. Think about that, here is a guy who was top producer, yet even he was hearing “No” daily. Therefore, in essence, “No” can be a good thing–it means you’re on track,and working hard. Sso instead of letting “No” get you down, and spiraling you into a rut, embrace it, and understand that when you’re out there presenting ideas to people you will ALWAYS hear “No,” so, take advantage of it–LOVE IT!
6. BONUS. Learn from NO! Every time I interface with a prospect, at some point during the process I make a mistake–always. Scheduling, follow-up, the presentation, wording, pricing, some aspect of what I do is wrong, which can ultimately end up in a rejection. So, what do I do? Learn from rejection. My strongest suggestion to you is to review each step after you receive a “No” and highlight what you did wrong, and work to avoid doing this again. This will make your end to end interactions with both customers and prospects stronger and much more engaging for them, ultimately leading you to a higher customer vs. lost prospect ratio.
I believe if you truly digest these aspects of rejection, you can learn to handle “No” better, overcome them, and when it is a real “No” understand “No” can be a good thing–in its own way.
What do you think?
Preston Ehrler, Webvantix
Recently I was finishing Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, and on p.244 – p.246 they began to discuss how the word “Yes” applied to becoming a trust agent, and how important it was to embracing this thought process–yet, so few do as “No” continues to be the knee-jerk reaction in so many aspects of our lives. Bravo to Chris and Julien to highlight this, as yes, we are inundated with marketing and spam from all side, but sometimes, “Yes” can offer change for the better!
From a business perspective, if you are marketing or selling a product, no matter how super-wonderful-incredible-awesome it is, be prepared to hear the word no–or, not even to hear back.
Here are 5 specific ideas to what you can do when you hear “No,” and how you can use it to work closer with your prospective customer, as well as learn from business rejection.
1. “No” gives you the opportunity to drill-down and understand why your prospective customer is rejecting you and your product/service. If they spent the time to look at what you are proposing, and ultimately said “no” it is your chance to get closer to them by understanding why. According to Tom Hopkins in How to Master the Art of Selling, you can say something like, “just to clarify my thinking, is it the the integrity of my company or my integrity that led you to no?” They will almost always say that is absolutely not the case, and you can work through various aspects of your offering, eventually getting to the chance inject “is is the investment that’s involved?” This will almost always be the case–but that leads you to the opportunity to understand how much they ARE ready to invest/spend, and that’s where a professional must quantify the VALUE of your offering. If you cannot ,then you are not prepared, and game over man! Be ready to quantify that differential.
2. Numbers, numbers, numbers. Business is a game of numbers, plain and simple. If someone says no, and means no, be prepared to move on quickly. Don’t agonize over the loss of a prospective customer, just have another prospect in your pipeline. If you have a quality product or service, there will be customers for you–always. So understand that generating prospects through all aspects of your marketing campaign is critical. Someone will always reject you.
3. How many “No’s” does it take for you to get to a “Yes.” Understand this formula and your business will thrive. If you know over a period of time that you must cultivate nine opportunities to achieve a yes, then all your business becomes in a mathematical equation. Plug that equation into your business model and see how well you can do! If you can, through your marketing efforts, find ten prospects per week, you should be creating four new customers per month. So, you must understand your pipeline and what it will take for you to create the new customer stream you need.
Tomorrow, yes, the day before Thanksgiving, I’ll post ideas 4 and 5. If in the meantime you have any thoughts or ideas for dealing with “No” and rejection, please share them with us!
Preston Ehrler, Webvantx
No, I can't be bothered with another salesman, I've got a battle to fight
I’ve always loved this cartoon as it so perfectly captures the essence of being a salesperson.
I’ve agonized over this post for a while and finally decided to break it up into several posts. The theme though is, are you a person that always says “no” just because of inertia and that it’s the quickest and easiest thing to say? I find that I do, but mostly because whoever is presenting an idea to me does a poor job of quantifying what the advantage of their offering is to either me or my company. Unfortunately, it’s just that simple. I do think the phenomena is a direct reaction to how much we are marketed to. Whenever I spend time on Twitter I notice how many people throw up links to “this made me $171,000 last month” or something like that. Yeah, sure it did, and that’s why you’re so nice to share it with all of us on Twitter, give me a break. So, how do we hold off the junk while being willing to take a closer look at something that may enhance our lives or grow our businesses?
About a year ago I was on a brief vacation and went to see the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey. He was the quintessential “No Man,” but then had to say “yes” to everything, and what I loved was, that his life and work changed for the better!
Could this happen to you, or me?
I’ll write at least one if not two more posts on this theme, including some thoughts on no and rejection from Tom Hopkins, as I think many people in business right now are hearing “no” more than they would prefer–and how to learn from it.
So what do you think, how about giving “YES” a chance, where otherwise, you would say no….just give it a try and let us know on this forum what happens!
Preston Ehrler, Webvantix
Maybe not so easy...
Staples…that was easy…oh, really. Perhaps I begin to harp on this too much but after a recent experience at Staples, I felt thrown back in time to a point where the term “Customer Service” had yet to be coined. After purchasing an item that was obviously opened and returned, I noticed that it was broken. Heading back to Staples, I parked in the near empty lot and upon entering I was greeted by a salesperson (not a teenager, mind you), who inquired if he could be of assistance. I told him I was there to return an item. Upon hearing that he quickly became disinterested and motioned for me to get in line…I’m glad it was short. As I waited for the only cashier who was open, I looked around and noticed quite a few Staples employees mulling about, with no look of determination to help anyone. Strange. How about helping me get in and get out? Regardless, when my turn came I was rung up and unfortunately informed that as I purchased my item with a debit card, that I HAD to be reimbursed with cash. This is my business card, and being given a credit to my card, as other businesses have done, is much preferred. Sorry, no go. Cash only. Needles to say, I took my $24.59 over to the bank and deposited it…I think the cashier thought I had lost it!
When I reflected upon this transaction, I thought how much easier it would have been with Amazon, or even Wal-Mart. So, that was easy…not so much.
I was also thinking of a passage in Joey Asher’s How to Win a Pitch, where he discusses the thought processes that all businesses must undertake in order to survive in a service oriented world:
I often feel that low energy would not be so common in business if everyone approached a new business pitch the way a professional baseball player approached an “at bat.” Think about the mental pressure that every Major League batter faces. Every time he steps to the plate, he knows he has to perform because there are hundred of young, hungry players out there waiting to take his place. He doesn’t have to hit it out of the park every time, but he has to bring intensity to the ballpark everyday. If his performance lags for any prolonged period, he’s done; his career is over.
Most people in business don’t approach their jobs with anywhere near the intensity of ball players. I wonder, however, if people did consider their job to be on the line every day whether it would make a difference in the vocal energy the brought to the pitch. I suspect it would.
I loved this passage when I read it. How is your intensity, and how are your employees engaging with clients and prospective clients? If you don’t know, perhaps it’s time to check…
I believe it has to come from the top down. What do you think? How can companies service their customers better?
In business it’s critical to know how to move your deal to a close, yet at the same time, not to sound like a used car salesman. I actually once got “what’s it going to take for me to get you in this car today?” Awful, just awful. I’ve always thought that identifying with the prospective customer and understanding what is most important to them, empathizing with them, will help tremendously–but you have to be genuine.
Your reaction to a certain statement or objection by your prospective customer often becomes the single linchpin to closing the deal. Over the years I’ve cobbled together many quotes and quips that you can inject into these moments, yet not sound like Mr. Used Yugo. Here are a few:
At Webvantix we often hear “can we get a quote for a site?” As our business had matured, we have found that throwing out a number is just a waste of everyone’s time, instead we must become ‘trusted consultants’ who instead of being reduced to a number (which another firm can always best), we work with the prospective customer to understand what it is they don’t like and what they would like to see. (this process is detailed in How to Win a Pitch by Joey Asher)
What is it about your current situation that concerns you?
What are the consequences if this continues uninterrupted?
Ultimately, what do you foresee?
We all have forwarded information to a prospective customer only to hear “I have not had time to look at it.” This is a great opportunity for you to stand out, the response:
Let’s carve out 15 minutes and review it together on a brief conference call, I can quickly illustrate to you how this will generate more traffic to your site and greatly improve your metrics, does later this week work for you, or is early next week better?
Often businesses, as well as people, are afraid to step up and ask for the order. It’s a scary thing–sometimes it’s just more comfortable to have the opportunity in your pipeline, vs. just coming out and asking for it and losing. But opportunities in your pipeline don’t pay the mortgage. Besides, let them know you’re interested in the business! Here are a couple of great ways to ask–try them!
Why don’t we give it a try?
We have the necessary paperwork for you to authorize, are you ready to get started?
Also, if this is a great piece of business that you are genuinely interested in, there is nothing wrong with say just that:
We are very excited about this opportunity and want very much to work with you, are you ready to begin?
I’m in the process of finishing Joey Asher’s How to Win a Pitch, which has other quotes and processes that I think are great. I will be reviewing his book very soon, it’s a winner.
Let me know your thoughts, and if you would like to see more…one of my favorites to work on is the reaction to “I want to think about it.”
As we at Webvantix are always seeking quality customers for web design, one of the things I am willing to do as a business owner is look at products and solutions that help us to that end. As I don’t want the metaphorical door slammed in my face when I prospect, and I don’t do it to other marketers. I will listen to an idea. For instance, we utilize several products to help our business bring in new business. Probably one of the best solutions we now utilize is www.gotomeeting.com-just a terrific product that enables us to present to our prospective customers who are anywhere and everywhere.
During the Thanksgiving week I had looked at a e-mail marketing product and had forwarded them my phone number, with the intention of looking closer at what they offered. I knew I would probably be contacted–I was, and that’s ok; I’m a believer in purchasing or subscribing to something if it is valuable to my company. Quite simply, if I see its value, I don’t mind “being sold.” Many small business owners think they’ve lost a contest if they are “sold” but if the product or service is a benefit, getting involved is actually a good thing!
When I received my phone call this morning there was one disconcerting aspect to the call, while I was intersted in the product and attempted to explain my position and what I was seeking, the salesperson kept cutting me off in mid-sentence. This occured three times during our discussion. Obviously he was more interested in selling me, than listening to me. Bad, bad, bad.
One quick piece of advice to anyone who is truly interested in cultivating new customers….LET THEM SPEAK. We are always so excited to get a prospect on the line, and tell them how great we are, but remember, if you say it, it’s a lie, if the prospect says it, it’s the truth. So, go ahead, really, just let them explain their lay of the land and don’t interrupt. If you interrupt it says “hey I don’t care about you, I care about me and my sale.” So, listen, really listen, and ask questions, like “what type of email campaign software are you using?”, and “what do you like about it,” and “how is not fulfilling your needs?” Regardless of what your product is, ask open ended questions, that show you are really interested in helping, not just selling.
Essentially, if you’re a good enough salesperson to get your foot in the door, you better not have stinky feet!
Thanks for listening to my rant and more on the “Small Business Lifeline” before the end of the week (more things to do Right Now…and remember, LISTEN!
Over the weekend I was discussing sales prospecting with a friend who owns a local real estate agency. We were discussing how the relative “easy” time of showing houses and making a sale were over, and that true “prospecting” now had to be incorporated into every agent’s/salesperson’s day. Although Webvantix creates and designs websites, I believe at the heart of Webvantix, and every business, a sale must be made. Just as Webvantix must illustrate to a prospective customer that an investment in a “professional” website is actually an investment that will yield long-term positive results, any business, whether they are a roofer, carpenter, Real Estate Agent or Dog Kennel, must follow the basic tenet that before someone utilizes your product or service, they must comprehend the specific advantages you offer–therefore, regardless, you are at the very core of your business, a salesperson.
That being said, and to the heart of this post, I have found it extremely helpful to “track” my sales efforts, and have developed a tracking system that looks at my daily, weekly, monthly and annual efforts. This program essentially tracks the result of each outgoing and incoming call. The reports are in no way perfect, as they are constantly being tweaked, but it’s much better than most of what’s out there, and it enables me to honestly assess my work–the harder I see the outgoing effort, the better the results. Essentially, the harder I work, the luckier I get. Now, please understand, I did not mean to insinuate that I invented sales tracking or its benefits, I actually got the idea from a sales book “How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success In Selling” by Frank Bettger–the author was inspired by Dale Carnegie (the author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”) In his book, Bettger was failing at sales and decided to begin to track his efforts, thus leading to much greater success. Even though the book was published in 1947, I still found it very helpful!
If you’re interested in my tracking system (which is several Excel spreadsheets, please email me and I’ll forward them to you–free). email@example.com
Good luck in this tough environment, and thanks for reading my rant…more to come soon.