This Month’s Selling Principle:
Advocating for Our Self
I’m often asked to share a few talk tracks that allow us to politely advocate for our self with customers. These are non-threatening ways to address some common misconceptions prospects can have about salespeople in general. These assumptions can sometimes be insulting, and unless we are prepared to stand up for our self in a polite and controlled fashion, our rebuttal can come off as being defensive, or even worse, aggressive. Like all talk tracks, these will need to be adjusted to our own vocabulary, personality, selling style, and the specific situation. I’m confident you’ll find these useful.
“I don’t want to waste my time…” (Then comes the complaint or request).
“Mr. Customer, I take my job very seriously (and this is how I feed my family). I didn’t come to work today to waste my time either. I know that if I waste your time then I waste my time too and I guaranty I won’t let that happen to either one of us, fair enough?” (Then we address the complaint or request.)
“Give me a basic idea on price, I promise I won’t hold you to it.”
“I pride myself in being a professional and in my household $30,000 is a heck of a lot of money, how about in yours?” (Wait for an answer) “Then I want you to hold me accountable for everything I say to you, especially the numbers! Wouldn’t you expect that from a sales person?” (Wait for an answer) “And as far as pricing is concerned, we want to be as open and transparent as possible, so we put everything in writing, in black and white, so there’s no misunderstandings. When it’s time to go inside, may I do the same for you?”
“I don’t want this back and forth, back and forth game playing.”
“Mr. Customer, it’s the 21st century, and thank goodness these days I hardly ever have to do that back and forth, back and forth nightmare. Really the only time I am forced to do that these days is when I’m helping a totally uninformed or unrealistic customer.” (Pause a beat, then proceed with,) “It’s obvious to me that you’ve already done your research, and once you get a fair competitive price, you wouldn’t begrudge us a little profit would you?” (Wait for the answer)(When they “no”, we say,) “See? You’re realistic, we won’t have to go through all that.”
(If they say, “yes I would”, then remind them,) “Mr. Customer, we are not a non-profit organization and businesses who chose to take a small loss on everything hoping to make it up in volume aren’t able or even around long enough to support their clients throughout the entire ownership experience.”
“You can make it up on the next guy.”
“That’s not how we do business, Mr. Customer. We don’t rip off the other guy so we can pass the savings onto you. (Smile) Everyone here pays a low, very competitive price. Everyone here gets treated fairly… you will too.”
“All salespeople are liars.”
“Mr. Customer, I want your business. Your business is important to me. There are three things, however, I refuse to do for anyone’s business. One is to take abuse for it. The next is to bribe someone for it. And the last is to lie for it. If you can live with these three conditions then we can do business together.” (This technique can be used for several different scenarios. If our customer wants us to beat another dealership’s price, we end this technique with “bribe”. If our customer is treating us rudely, we end it with “abuse”. And if, as in this example, they suspect we my lie to them, we end it with “lie”.)
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
John F. Kennedy
Objection of the Month: “We don’t have a lot of time today.”
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. “Fine, then to make the best use of your time, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” (Then we go ahead and ask our needs determination questions.)
b. “Okay then, what were you hoping to accomplish today?”
c. “How much time do we have?” (then reply,) “Oh that’s plenty of time to get you all the info you’ll need to make an intelligent decision. Did you want a coupe or sedan?”
d. “Wow, only twenty minutes? That’s not a lot of time. Let me give you as much information as I can, as quickly as I can. How will you be using your new car?…” (Then we just go into our needs determination process. After about twenty minutes goes by, we look at our watch and say,) “Well, looks like it’s gonna take a little more time but you said you were in a hurry. Are we okay or do you have anyone you need to call to be a few minutes late?”
e. “I think you’ll be impressed with how efficient I am with your time.”
f. “You say you only have ten minutes? Then what makes this so critical? (Our customer may not understand the question and we may need to clarify by asking further,) “You have to be somewhere in ten minutes but you stopped here first. So, what’s going on? Did your car break down, or are you at the end of your lease, or did you just get car jacked?! What’s up?”
g. “How much time do we have?” (then reply,) “I’ll tell you what, you tell me when our time is up, fair enough? And to make the best use of your time, let me ask you a few quick questions.” (Then we just go ahead and ask our needs determination questions.)
h. “Two minutes? May I have just two minutes more of your time?” (This will almost always get us five to ten minutes more.)
i.(This one is for situations where our customer tells us they need to get back to work.) “If you don’t mind me asking, how much do you make an hour?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “What if I could do this, what if I could get my manager to pay you ten times your hourly wage to simply call in and get us an extra hour to put this shopping chore behind you?” (Then all we have to do is show a discount of ten times whatever they told us their hourly wage was.)
Next month’s objection will be: “The price or payment is too high” We need YOUR input! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to.”
Knowing When to Make a Point and When To Shut Up
Upon hearing one of his students use the expression, “I don’t know nothing about it…” a teacher took the opportunity to explain about double negatives and correct grammar to the class.
The teacher explained, “In the English language a double negative makes the statement positive, so your assertion that you ‘don’t know nothing about it’ is actually an admission that you do know something about it.”
Encouraged by the interest in this revelation among certain class members, the teacher went on to demonstrate more of his knowledge of world languages: “Of course not all languages operate according to the same grammatical rules, for example, in Russian, a double negative remains negative, although perhaps surprisingly, there is not a single language anywhere in the world in which a double positive makes a negative..”
At which a voice from the back of the classroom called out ironically “Yeah, right..”
Creative Management Strategies
A school head was alerted by the caretaker to a persistent problem in the girls lavatories: some of the girl students were leaving lipstick kisses on the mirrors. The caretaker had left notices on the toilet walls asking for the practice to cease, but to no avail; every evening the caretaker would wipe away the kisses, and the next day lots more kisses would be planted on the mirror. It had become a bit of a game. The head teacher usually took a creative approach to problem solving, and so the next day she asked a few girl representatives from each class to meet with her in the lavatory.
“Thank you for coming,” said the head, “You will see there are several lipstick kisses in the mirrors in this washroom..”
Some of the girls grinned at each other.
“As you will understand, modern lipstick is cleverly designed to stay on the lips, and so the lipstick is not easy at all to clean from the mirrors. We have therefore had to develop a special cleaning regime, and my hope is that when you see the effort involved you will help spread the word that we’d all be better off if those responsible for the kisses use tissue paper instead of the mirrors in future..”
At this point the caretaker stepped forward with a sponge squeegee, which he took into one of the toilet cubicles, dipped into the toilet bowl, and then used to clean one of the lipstick-covered mirrors.
The caretaker smiled. The girls departed. And there were no more lipstick kisses on the mirrors.
“To succeed in business, it is necessary to make others see things as you see them.”
John H. Patterson
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