This Month’s Selling Principle:
The average retail car customer has to say “no” or object four to seven times before they are even in a position to say “yes”. Other trainers have found essentially the same thing. Some say that, “Most sales are made after the fifth close attempt.” and others tell us that “Over 80% of all transactions are closed by the eighth attempt”. But essentially we’re all saying that, as salespeople, we need to ask the average customer somewhere between five to eight times to do business with us before they can look us in the eye, tell us “no” and really mean it. We’ve all heard it before; no objections means no sale. Unfortunately, since the average salesperson only knows one or two closes, most customers have to go to three or four places before they are ever collectively asked eight times. Many times the salesperson doesn’t even ask for the sale at all!
Sometimes this happens because the salesperson doesn’t want to offend the customer or appear too “pushy”, and if we only know one way to ask for their business, asking for it the same way eight times makes it really difficult not to come off as obnoxious. But not asking for their business is actually MORE offensive. It implies that we think they can’t buy or that we’re simply not really all that interested in their business. But salespeople usually don’t ask because they don’t feel they’ve earned the right to. Whenever we short cut the rapport building or the value building processes, the fear of rejection goes up dramatically.
In his article, You Offend Customers by NOT Trying to Close the Sale, fellow sales trainer, Dave Anderson writes, “Another reason you may be afraid of asking for the deal is because you know deep down that you haven’t earned the right. Maybe you don’t know your product well enough, or you didn’t take enough time to build rapport with the customer and identify their needs. You can’t fool yourself, and if you’re not doing a quality job during the sales process, you’re not going to feel confident enough to ask for the sale, and by all rights, you should feel reluctant to ask for the sale because you know you don’t deserve it! So stop hiding behind fear of putting on “pressure” or your own incompetence and turn pro in sales, because pros ask for and get the order.”
Most of the time, though, customers aren’t asked to buy enough times because the sales people they meet know only one or two ways to ask them for their business. Although, “If I could…would you?” still occasionally works, as I suggested earlier, asking it over and over again is obnoxious and unprofessional. “If I could…would you?” implies a discount and makes us sound like every other “car jerk” they’ve ever dealt with. Plus, it’s so easy to say “no” to and is actually kind’a scary to say “yes” to, isn’t it? So, we need to have other ways to ask our customers for their business.
Even the simple ones can work well. Ones like, “So, do you want it?” or “Other than money is there anything else keeping you from owning this vehicle?” or “Is there anything you’d like added to your new truck?” or “So, are you ready to put this shopping chore behind you?” or “Is this the one you’d like to own?”.
The tried and tested technique “1 to 10…” is also an effective way to ask our customer for their business. For those of us not familiar with it, it goes something like this; “On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 meaning you love the car and are ready to own it right now and 1 meaning you hate the car and wouldn’t take it even if we gave it to you, where would you say you are right now?” When our customer gives us a number we simply reply: “What would have to occur to make it a 10?” Once they tell us, they have committed. If they tell us they don’t know, we simply say, “But if you did know, what would it be?” Again, once they answer that question, they’ve committed.
Of course, few if any closes will be effective if we fail to established trust and rapport with our customers or if we fail to involve them emotionally by building value in those things they’ve told us they place value in. If they don’t feel reasonably comfortable or are not somewhat emotionally committed, they’ll be very reluctant to spend $45,000. There are no “baby seal” techniques that will work on everyone, all the time, no matter what. But here are some very basic closing strategies that are easy to learn and put in our toolboxes to use: Twelve Basic Closing Techniques (part 1), Twelve Basic Closing Techniques (part 2). Right now would be a good time to add the ones we don’t already know to our toolboxes, wouldn’t it?
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“Training is not an ‘event’. It’s a decision to be excellent. Either we’re committed to excellence or we’re not.”
Objection of the Month: “We need to think/sleep/pray about it.”
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. “Of course you need to think about it, it’s a big decision, right? Come on inside so I can get you all of the information you’ll need to make an intelligent decision. Follow me please.”
b. “Where I come from, that means someone just wants to make their decision” (or “pray about it”) “without some salesperson hanging all over them. I’ll just excuse myself for a few minutes and you folks go ahead and discuss this alone.” (or “do what you feel you need to”) “When I come back, if you have any remaining questions, I’ll address them then. That way you’ll feel completely comfortable about owning your new car.” (Then we need to leave and get out of their line of vision for a few moments. After about thirty to forty seconds, we get back into their line of vision, close enough to see them but not so close as to hear what they are saying, and let them see us waiting. When they ask us back into our offices or back to the table, they’ll usually tell us either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ but rarely tell us they need to think about it.)
c. “Mr. Customer, we’ve worked out such a great deal already. Now is the best opportunity you’ll ever have to own the van you really want. I’ve worked very hard for you and now the ball is in your court. So, let’s wrap this thing up so you can start enjoying your new van. Do you want it registered in your name or the company name?”
d. “That’s fine Ms. Customer, obviously you wouldn’t spend time thinking this over if you weren’t serious about owning this car. You wouldn’t be telling me this just to get rid of me would you?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “Then I know you’re going to give this careful consideration, right?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “Listen, just to clarify my thinking, just exactly what is it you have to think over?
e. “That’s great! Let’s think it over together. Two heads are better than one, right? What exactly do you still need to think about?” (Or if the objection is “Pray about it”:) “That’s great! Let’s pray about it together. But I always want be honest with you though folks…you’re going to pray for guidance, right?” (Wait for their response, smile, and then say,) “Well, I’m going to be praying for the sale.”(If we aren’t comfortable with this last one, don’t force it.)
f. “Good! Think about it some more, and remember they can only honor this deal for a certain amount of time. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
g. “Okay, that’s why I’m here! I’ll help answer any further questions you may have while you think. What’s the first one?”
h. “Please don’t think yourself right out of the car you really want to own! I can see how excited you are and that excitement is really a necessary element of making a great decision. Let’s finish it now so you can start showing off your new Porsche. Will that be a personal check or a company check?”
i. “Sometimes when my customers say that it means I haven’t done my job well enough. Tell me what you need to know in order to feel comfortable about owning this car.”
j. “Whether you take one night, one week, or one month to think this over it’s still going to come down to the same three issues it does with all my clients. I call them the three “P’s”. The first “P” is the product. Is it missing some equipment you need?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “Is it the wrong color?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “Does it have stuff you don’t want?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “Anything at all wrong with the car itself?” (If so, we simply switch them to a unit that better fits what they’re looking for. If not, we proceed with:) “Maybe it’s the second “P” which stands for the “people”. Is it the dealer location that’s hanging you up?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “Is it our service hours?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “The dealership’s reputation, is that what’s wrong?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “Is it me, did I do something to offend you?” (If so, we simply introduce them to someone else. If not, we proceed with:) “Then it’s got to be the last “P”, either the payments or the price. Which one is it?”
k. (If the objection is “Pray about it”:)“That’s neat! I don’t hear that very often. You folks are a devote couple, huh? You pretty much go down the path the Lord leads you, right?” (Wait for their response, and then say,) “Listen folks, you’ve found the car you’ve been thinking about for six months now, equipped exactly the way you like it, in the color you didn’t even think you’d be able to find, at the store that’s closest to your home, and with a salesperson who takes care of her clients for years after the initial purchase. All that and we even got it to fit into your budget too! Isn’t it possible, folks,” (Pause…) “isn’t it possible that’s why He led you here in the first place?”
Next month’s objection will be: “I don’t want all this back and forth stuff.” We need YOUR input!!! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to [email protected].
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing”.
“Living the Good Life”
— by Philip E. Humbert, Phd, a Psychologist, Personal Coach and entrepreneur.
Over the years many people have offered their models of the “Good Life”, and some have left quotes that nicely summarize important truths. The following are ten of my personal favorites.
1. Know Thyself – Socrates. From ancient Greece comes this reminder that introspection, keeping a journal, paying attention to the heart of things, comes first. Before we can know the world around us, and make wise choices, we must first come to grips with who we are and what we value.
2. To Thine Own Self Be True – Shakespeare. In life there is no substitute for integrity. My grandmother was fond of saying, “We either stand for something, or we’ll fall for anything.” Integrity is about going beyond the truth to full and complete honesty, openness and fairness.
3. And the Greatest of These is Love – St Paul. He also observed that “without love I am just a clanging symbol or a noisy gong.” Without love, caring relationships, and compassion, life is indeed a dry and shallow thing.
4. Imagination Rules the World – Albert Einstein. The good life is at least partly based on dreams that are worthy of us, dreams that elevate and challenge and inspire our best. Bobby Kennedy noted, “Others look at the world and ask, ‘Why?’ I dream of a world that never was and ask, ‘Why not?'” Martin Luther King’s defiant cry, “I have a dream!” will live long after most of us are gone and forgotten.
5. Too much of a good thing is just right – Mae West. The good life is about living large, about expressing the joy and love of life. It’s about song, exuberance, and about taking chances, and “going for it”.
6. Opportunities multiply as they are seized – SunTzu. Success depends on the courage to act, and courage in turn requires a level of faith that every opportunity acted upon will lead to more and better ways to serve, learn, grow and prosper.
7. Do, or do not. There is no “try”. – Yoda (The Empire Strikes Back). Life requires action, boldness and decisiveness. Mae West also observed, “He who hesitates is a damned fool.”
8. Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away – Antoine de St. Exupery. Henry Thoreau recommended, “Simplify, simplify, simplify. Let your concerns be as 2 or 3, not more.” Friends, work, the media and this thing called the Internet, along with our own “wish lists” try to seduce us to complexity, busy-ness and anxiety. Keep it simple!
9. The artist is nothing without gift, but gift is nothing without work – Emile Zola. Only focused, intelligent, diligent effort turns potential into reality. Without creative effort, talent and “gift” seem to atrophy and die. Truly a case of “use it or lose it”.
10. There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein. I highly recommend practicing the attitude of gratitude. What else is there?
“Everything in the universe has a purpose. Indeed, the invisible intelligence that flows through everything in a purposeful fashion is also flowing through you.”
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
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“For the last five years I’ve attended these workshops with Michael, and every time I learn something new! Applying these skills have had a profound effect on the quality of my work and income.”
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