Most sales reps make the following mistake ? at least until they get beaten up enough times to know better. They develop their well-oiled 9-minute, 17-second sales ?pitch,? rehearse it till they?ve got it down pat, then deliver it without letting the client say a word until they?re done.
The problem? When the client finally speaks, and says ?No,? the rep has no idea where he lost him, and finds it difficult or even impossible to retrace and find out.
Don?t do that! Tell the client short bits at a time. Follow each point with a question, such as: ?Knowing what you know now, is this something you could get excited about?? If the client says ?no,? the rep knows (s)he has to change direction right there and resolve the objection. The client?s ?no? acts like a rudder on a boat, enabling the rep to ?tack? or steer in a different direction each time (s)he hears it. Make all the corrections and all the client can say is ?yes.?
When you think you?ve done everything right, including making all the mid-course corrections, and the client still says ?no,? don?t wimp out! Ask him why.
This is especially important when the client gives you a lame ?I don?t know,? or ?I need to think about it.? (No one needs to ?think about it.?) The client knows then and there if he?s going to buy. It?s my experience that most advertisers give those lame answers when they want to get rid of the rep for now, hoping to postpone the decision they know they need to make, at least until the rep comes back weeks or months later.
It?s really cruel to lead a rep along with ?I need to think about it,? but at that moment the client does not want an argument or a rehashing of the sales pitch. He just hopes the rep gives up.
Stand up for yourself. You?re not there to waste your time or his. Ask the advertiser what he has to think about ? make him tell you. Take each point, one at a time, and ask how he feels about each.
Many times, it comes down to money. In that case, you might offer to stretch out the billing or cut back the number of impressions, take his credit card, or whatever the client can handle. You have to be brave enough, strong enough, to find out what the ?no? was really about.
Another strategy? Tell the client you thought you had prepared well for the presentation and had answers for any objections he might have. Beat yourself up right in front of him for not doing a good job. No client likes to see a rep beat himself up. Most will try to make you feel better by explaining why you haven?t sold them. Armed with that explanation, you may then get a second chance.
Remember, when a client says he needs to ?think about it,? or asks you to come back at a later time, he?s really about to take out his little business card and hand it to you?the one that says, ?Thursday isn?t good for me?how about never??
Everyone knows the hardest part of the job is ?chasing? clients. Coming back later after the client ?thinks about it? is almost always a waste of your time and his ? valuable time you could be spending on other clients. Don?t let advertisers do this to you. Far better to learn to close the sale on the spot, or at least to dig hard to unearth the client?s objections and work to overcome them.
BOTTOM LINE: Use ?No? as a helpful road sign ? it means the advertiser has an objection. Find out what it is and turn your sales pitch in a different direction, even make a U-turn if necessary. ?I need to think about it? is just another objection. Find out what he needs to think about and make a final effort to close the sale now!
Gary Ratcliff is the owner of High Impact Communications, Inc. and a broadcast sales author. Visit his LinkedIn page HERE.
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