This Month’s Selling Principle:
The Lifestyle Close
This is an older technique that’s designed to be used for the objection “I just can’t afford it. The payment is still too high.” This objection is an emotionally charged stall tactic that comes after the commitment to buy today has been acquired. As most of us already know, the vast majority of the objections we get after the commitment are nothing more than stalls or time outs. They don’t mean “No!”, they just mean “Not yet.” Most customers, if we’ve done our job correctly up to that point, want to go ahead with the decision to own but just need us to help them to feel a little more comfortable about doing so.
For this example, let’s say we’ve already exhausted all the adjustments available to us (initial investment, term, leasing, etc.) and we’re at $560 per month but they want to be at $460. Our customer says, “”I just can’t afford it. The payment is still too high.”
We say, “Jim, let me ask you something, okay? It’s Monday, and just as you arrive at work your boss asks you to come into his office because you guys need to talk. He tells you, ‘Jim, I’ve got some bad news. Corporate has just informed me that they’re going to have to do a major downsizing and our office is gonna have to lay off just over 400 people. Now, we’ve decided that you’re way too valuable to let go but all of us are going to have to make some sacrifices. I’ll need to reduce your monthly salary by $100.'”
Pause a moment or two and then proceed with, “Jim, would you angrily jump up, resign, and storm out of the office?”
Wait for Jim’s answer (which will almost always be “No”) and then continue, “Would you have to sell your home?”
Wait for Jim’s answer and then continue, “Would you have to cancel your vacation plans?”
Wait for his answer and then continue, “Would you have to pull your kids out of private school?”
Wait for Jim’s answer and then continue, “The fact is, Jim, that this $100 won’t diminish your current lifestyle one bit. As a matter of fact, some would argue that it would actually IMPROVE your current lifestyle, right?”
“So, come on Jim, go ahead and reward yourself. You’ve earned it, haven’t you?”
This, like all new techniques, needs to be personalized to our own selling style, our own delivery rhythm, and our own vocabulary. Then it needs to be practiced until we own it. And like all other techniques, it’ll only work when we are willing to use it. Nothing works all the time, and neither will this, but let’s at least add it to our toolbox so we can have it at our disposal when the time comes to help that client of ours that just needs a gentle nudge to take action on the buying decision they’ve already made.
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“There’s a wonderful truth about skills and knowledge: they don’t wear out with use. Quite the contrary. Knowledge takes on greater depth and meaning through hard use; skills become strong and tough through hard use.”
Objection of the Month: “I need my wife/husband.”
These are just a few of the most common strategies shared at the workshops we’ve conducted all across North America and attended by thousands of the top sales people in our field. Please keep in mind that nothing works all the time, and no one thing will work for everybody. Each of these strategies, of course, need to be tailored to the individual user, to the specific customer, and the particular situation. Also, this is by no means the definitive work on overcoming this particular objection and it’s not intended to be.
a. “Let’s go get her!”
b. “Let’s go ahead and call her.”
c. “Let’s take it to her.”
d. “No problem, we can complete this with the condition of ‘subject to your wife’s approval’ within 24 hours.” 1a. this usually requires management approval before we can make this suggestion
e. “Here, you can take it home over night and get her approval.” 1a. traditionally known as the “Puppy Dog Close”, this usually requires management’s OK and must also have a time limit attached to it.
f. “Why isn’t she here right now?” After our customer lists out the reasons she’s not there (works a lot, has to watch the 9 kids, hates car shopping, etc.) We use those very reasons to suggest that he “Save her the time, grief, and aggravation and do it without her.”
g. “This car’s for you. You’ve been thinking about it for the last three months, right? It’s the right color, right equipment, our store is close to your office, you’ve heard good things about our service department, but you just want her involved in the decision right? Then pause and ask him, “What if she says you can’t have it?” If customer says that she won’t, then we simply close the sale. If he says he won’t get it then, we say, “If she did object, what would she most likely object to, the car itself or the money? The money? Well, would she be most uncomfortable with the monthly payments or the total investment? (If payments) “If I could show you a way to get into the brand new car and keep your payments about the same as you’re paying now, what would she object to then?” (If total investment) “If I could show you a way to drive this new car for roughly 60% of the sticker price after you’re done with it, what would she object to then?”
h. “You know what I’ve discovered in MY marriage? Sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness, than it is to ask for permission. Isn’t it sometimes true for you too?”
Next month’s objection will be: “I don’t need a salesperson.” We need YOUR input! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to [email protected].
“Circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him.”
A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole.
The moth seemed to be stuck and appeared to have stopped making progress. It seemed as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. The man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth; so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But its body was swollen and small, its wings wrinkled and shriveled. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to and able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a small, swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. The man in his kindness and haste did not understand that the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was necessary to force fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight upon achieving its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets, and don’t forget the power in the struggle.
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: ‘What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. Absolutely, said the professor. “In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello”. I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
Abraham Lincoln Didn’t Quit
Probably the greatest example of persistence is Abraham Lincoln. If you want to learn about somebody who didn’t quit, look no further. Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown. He could have quit many times – but he didn’t and because he didn’t quit, he became one of the greatest presidents in the history of our country. Lincoln was a champion and he never gave up. Here is a sketch of Lincoln’s road to the White House:
1816 His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818 His mother died.
1831 Failed in business.
1832 Ran for state legislature – lost.
1832 Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
1833 Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
1834 Ran for state legislature again – won.
1835 Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
1836 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
1838 Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
1840 Sought to become elector – defeated.
1843 Ran for Congress – lost.
1846 Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
1848 Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
1854 Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – get less than 100 votes.
1858 Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
1860 Elected president of the United States.
“Never, never, never give up.”
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