Posted edited on September 3, 2016
I was once in sales for over 8 years, making up the bulk of my post-collegiate career. In that time, I worked under a sales director who taught me that the phone and simply pitching people an idea has been a proven way to and will continue as a way of getting to customers and new business. Even with all my digital marketing background, I know it is true. It is the fastest way of challenging an objection and getting a fair chance at positioning your product. It comes down to overcoming objections in a systematic way that fits most sales scenarios.
These rebuttals cut to the core of the “no” and are your way to creating a better scenario for a “yes”. These three (3) common objections state one simple customer problem: “I do not have time for this”. Even the dreaded budget objection is really a time management scenario weighted against the variables of time spent doing something else.
For you, always is the push for a better time to make informed decisions after hearing how and what the solution is and seeing how it can reach a desirable goal, like saving time which is money, which is the margin you begin to pocket when you win the sale of getting a simple foot in the door.
Forget about “how you like to be sold”, but instead ask how do you like to make a sale over the phone? I like meeting new people, solving problems, and being rewarded professionally. Also, having control over the size of your paycheck and getting a raise every month are not bad either and merely side effects to a holistic salesperson.
So, you called, got past the gatekeeper, and two rings later you connect with your desired contact. You perk a bit after a round of voicemails left, and gatekeeper battles lost from your previous 17 calls. You deliver your greeting, ask a simple question about their day perhaps to test their mood and to mirror them. You spout the perfect value proposition and ask an open-ended question about how they solve their problem now… you pause… and you hear…
and a begrudging voice mutters back an answer they believe best puts them in a place to save you the time and effort of not going any further with your wildly expensive, totally useless and cockamamie solution. They decided on one of these three responses the moment after they said they are having a great day.
Below are great rebuttals that have worked for me and I’ll share with you some of the psychology on getting solid appointments booked and your sales revenues growing again.
“Already working with someone”
Your Response: “I am one to appreciate good, working relationships and my company has championed this for years with our clients. However, taking the time to benchmark another provider and looking for ways to save time, money or create efficiencies is always time well spent, wouldn’t you agree? I am free on Tuesday the 9th or Wednesday the 10th, which is best for you that I return a call/stop on out?”
Give them two options on time and date, but do not ask a yes or no question. Already you want to give them narrowed choices since you are interrupting their day. Time is what they do not have… at the moment, but if you open the average decision makers’s calendar and look 2 weeks out, it is vastly open aside from vacations, holidays and the occasional seminar or out-of-office meeting.
This is the modern day, of course they will always be working with someone. People die, however, businesses go under, and Moore’s Law will still state that technology doubles every 18 months.
As my dad says, where you can find someone working for you, you can always find someone who will work harder for that same job.
Another key question to ask at this point is, “if you could change one thing about your current provider, what would that be?” Chances are that all their needs are not being met or there is something missing they are hoping for, like overnight delivery, net 30 terms, bulk discounts, etc. You might be able to fill that need for them, but you do not know if you do not ask.
“We’re all good over here”
Your Response: “You and I both know that things change rapidly, especially this day in age. That’s why I do my personal best to stay on top of what my competitors provide and I would love your input. Are you more of a morning person or one who works better in the afternoons?”
Boo-ya! Again with two options! They might be “all good”, but this rebuttal preys on people’s natural instinct to clan together and to offer help to one another, especially when asked directly for it. You already start to tip the mental scales and come in as a consultant and not a conniving swindler.
I position the appointment I am setting as a mutually beneficial meeting where I get to tell my prospect all about my fantastic do-dad and then they show me theirs. It helps to let them lead the meeting as well, just to make the situation less “salesy”(but you will be the one controlling the room). As soon as you give someone else an opportunity to teach you something, you begin to take down your offensive barrier and the prospect begins to trust you.
“Just send me some info”
Your Response: I’d be happy to send you a calendar invite actually to get a better time to discuss all this. I realize now, that I caught you at a bad time. I already know I called you specifically because of X, Y, and Z. Now, if we can meet for only 15 minutes, you can see first hand how the solution works for you. The materials I do have just present our product/service the same way I just explained. You will see how it works better when I am (or my salesperson I set appointments for is) able to stop by. We’re in the area on the 14th and 15th, so which date works better for you?
Little more abrupt you may notice in the beginning, but after saying this one a few times, you’ll be saying it with much more confidence. Say it as if rare calendar invites are awesome compared to yet another email with a PDF attached.
What I did was state that I already took the time to make sure they fit. X, Y and Z are blanket factors, based maybe on company size, revenue, industry, or maybe even clients they serve, but are key stats that make them the perfect candidate to call about your offer. Again, something that saved them time.
I almost always will state how I realize I right then in the moment that I caught them at a bad time. However, I do not apologize. Due to being a pretty optimistic person, that moment may very well have been the best time and place in the space-time continuum to call them up. Apologizing puts you in the wrong and puts them in a greater position to get you off the phone.
It is about as silly to apologize for calling them as it is obeying those “No Soliciting” signs – which are predominantly placed outside businesses who sell things you’ll notice…
Act as if maybe they didn’t quite hear you or are for sure mistaken about your intent (play dumb). You’ll also notice I threw in “we’d be in the area” and it may be due to a similar prospect you are meeting with, or you are having a blanket campaign and will be in the area anyway, so you remove the inconveniencing feeling they want to portray. Make it a waste of your time that they not show up.
Beyond this is mastering your product or service knowledge, keeping up with good customer service habits, and actually making the calls and putting forth the effort – all prerequisites to almost any sales job. Add these to your cold-calling ammunitions reserve and I guarantee more appointments booked, less cancellation requests, and an easier meeting once in it. A lot of gaining the sale is in your pre-appointment construct. Gaining rapport, exuding confidence, and solidifying why the meeting is happening will save you the backtracking in the meeting.