The paperclips didn't need a sales pitch. Neither do your clients.


The Take-Away

by GSchulz 27. March 2012 20:34
“I really can’t say that what you’ve shown me, Bob, does anything for me,” stated the prospect.

“In fact,” he went on, “your choice of colors is nowhere as extensive as your competitor’s, who was just in here this morning, by the way.”

Bob hated this type of prospect. And for some reason, the past five months had been filled with them. Gosh, thought Bob, this is going to be one of those meetings where he raises the hundred objections and I try to beat them down one after another.  There’s got to be a better way to make a living. “I didn’t know you were looking at anyone else,” responded Bob.

“Well, it’s what I should do. And I’ll tell you this now, right upfront, her prices are extremely favorable.  I doubt you could beat them.”

Here goes, thought Bob, start knocking them down. “Let’s talk about the colors; our colors are by far the…” Two hours later, Bob crawled out of the office with a signed purchase order. Totally exhausted, he got into his car, called the office and read them the order.

“Good work,” the sales manager responded, “but how come he’s ordering less than before?”

“The competition has got a proposal on the table,” responded Bob, “you wouldn’t believe what I had to do to get what we did.”  With a felling of dread he added, “I’m going back next week to see if I can knock them out.”

Bob was so afraid that he was going to lose the client that he was prepared to do just about anything to keep him. Bob had the guts to spend another two hours butting heads, but he did not have the guts to find out if he really needed to do this.

Taking a sale away, taking yourself out of the running, and then waiting for a response from the prospect/customer takes real guts. This is not a technique for those with weak knees. No one can fault Bob for his dedication to task. And most salespeople and sales managers would agree that in the above story, which happens every day, there was nothing else to do but “gut it out.” But there is something else.

Before Bob launched into meeting every objection, he could have done something very simple. He could have said, “You might not realize what you are telling me; I want to make sure that I have it right. The competition has more colors, the price is good, they were here this morning, I guess it’s over for me. When you gave the order to the salesperson this morning, was she excited?” And then wait for a response from the prospect, no matter how long it takes. In order for this technique to work, your really have to mean it and be prepared to “walk out the door” and not look back. If you cannot do this, this technique will blow up in your face. However, if you are truly prepared to walk away, this technique is incredibly powerful at eliminating objections. There are a multitude of words and gestures that you can use to “take it away” depending on what you are trying to accomplish and with whom.

Customers and prospects alike are famous for stating, in so many words, that the other guy can do better for less. In essence, you want to mirror back to them what they just told you and then state, not ask, “You did place the order.” Then do not speak until you get a response. Either the order has been placed or not. If is has, it probably really is over for you. If it hasn’t, then you deserve to know the reasons why. And when you find out why? You are now learning what you need to do to get the order or keep the order.

Prospects who gave given all the indications of being ready to buy, but who just resist closing, are especially susceptible to having it taken away. “Bill, you have given every indication that you are ready to buy. But for some reason you just aren’t sharing, you keep stopping short. I think I should leave.” Then wait for a response.

MORAL: Take it away ONLY if you are prepared to walk out the door. Once you take it away, wait for a response regardless of how long it takes.

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of "To Sell is Not to Sell" and a columnist for business journals around the country. Greta does corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies and she has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs.

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How to Avoid the Lowball Offer

by GSchulz 13. April 2011 20:08

As a consultant, seller or even CEO… how many times in your career have your heard prospects fight you on rate or price? “I like your proposal, your price is too high.” “I can get other companies at a lower cost , or “What can you do about your rates?” or “I’ll do the deal but you’ve got to knock 20% off… take it or leave it.”

Here’s a true story told from a banking rep names Jennifer. Jennifer finished a presentation to a prospect after she had qualified the prospect on need, budget and had all the decision-makers in the room. She had gotten each of them to agree to make a decision at the end of the presentation. her presentation was textbook. She had each person involved; she addressed each of their requirements. She presentation points covered each of the prospect’s issues in their priority… and he only addressed issues, which were relevant to the sale.

At the end, one of the prospects made a simple statement. “Jennifer, this is great, and we love the job you did for us. We’d love to begin, except we want you to give us a discount. What can you do for us about your price?”

Jennifer remembered the following: Never defend or justify. In fact, Jennifer did the exact opposite thing most sales people would have done.

She said, “I could raise it.”

The Prospect laughed and said, “Jennifer, I know you’ve got more leeway on your interest rate”.

Jennifer calmly asked, “I suppose that it’s over?”

The prospect responded, “What do you mean?”

Jennifer said, “Simple. My price is too high and it’s over.”

She held out her hand to thank him for his time when…

“Wait Jennifer. Your rates are high, but your ideas are better than any we’ve seen.”

“I appreciate that,” responded Jennifer, “but you aren’t going to buy it, and I wanted to thank you for the opportunity.”

Then the prospect replied, "Jennifer, telling people they aren’t going to buy is no way to make it in sales.” “Thanks for the advice,” she responded.

“Don’t be too hasty to leave. Actually Jennifer, we are going to do this. But I have to tell you Jennifer, “I’ll remember that.”

The result: When used at the right time, telling a prospect that “It’s over” can make sales happen, because it forces prospects to make a decision. Why? Remember when you were a child your parents told you that you couldn’t have something you really wanted? You actually wanted it even more. Not that your prospects are children and you’re parental, but the concept applies.

Use this tactic when the prospect gives you some objection when it’s time to close.  But two conditions must exist before you use this tactic: First, the prospect must have stated how your solution will solve their concerns. Second, the prospect has told you they have a budget big enough to buy your solution. When you go forward, act the part with conviction. When you make the statement, you must convey the to the prospect you believe the sale is NEVER going to happen.

And when the prospect tells you that it’s not really over, offer your help by stating, “Oh. I got the wrong impression. What would you like me to do now?”

Then wait, forever if necessary, for a response.

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