Set clear goals for the sales process. Outline how many calls you will make in a day. Set aside a specific time of day to make these calls. The best time is either first thing in the morning, or just after lunch. This is when the majority of people tend to be in the office.
Accept that negative responses are going to come your way. Accept that you are interrupting people and that they are going to try to get rid of you. If you prepare for the objections in advance however, they’re never as bad as you expect.
Prepare for objections
The objections you can expect will vary from industry to industry, but they generally fall into four broad categories. Let’s go through each one in turn. (Think about which ones you use when a telesales person calls you.)
Most salespeople give up at this point and put the phone down. However it is still possible to take the conversation further. You need to remember that the response could be true, or it could simply be an excuse to get rid of you. So you need to work to overcome these rapid-fire responses and extend the conversation where possible – and with a clear goal in mind. Running down your competition is not the answer if they have the work. The last thing your potential clients want to hear is that they have made a bad decision.
So how do you extend the conversation? Here is a potential reply:
• Other firms in your industry told me the same thing. They were also working with other training companies before they saw how we could complement what they were already doing.
• If the response was “we are ok”, come back with a reassuring statement that leads into how you could complement or enhance their existing situation. What could you say to enhance/complement their situation?
We’re not interested
When you get a “not interested” response, turn it around with a benefit (what’s in it for me). You can use a variation on the following:
• You know, other companies told me exactly the same thing before they saw how what we offered could benefit them. Give clear examples of how you helped these clients.
Can you send me some info
This is probably just an excuse to get rid of you. How can you continue the conversation after this request? Try something like:
• Of course I can send you some literature. I’m just curious though, how are you training your salespeople right now?
Always agree to their request, but then follow up with a meaningful question of your own. You will increase the likelihood of having a good, extended conversation with your prospect.
Do you try to avoid answering direct questions if you don’t have all the information on hand or if you think the client is likely to be put off by the cost of the product or service you are offering? Don’t, because the good news is that by asking a question, your prospect has created an opportunity for you to ask a question of your own. This should help you to move closer to getting an appointment or even closing the deal. Have all the facts on hand and respond to direct questions, but be sure to counter with one of your own.
Take some time to craft really good answers to answer all four of the objections above. They should be specific to your industry and product or service. You will then need to practice to ensure that you recognise the category instantly and give the right answer to keep the conversation flowing.
* Adele Howell-Pryce is a business coach who specialises in working with small businesses and solopreneurs, specifically in the areas of sales and marketing. She offers various sales training courses. For more visit: www.1StopMarketingSuccess. com. She is also an accomplished public speaker and is the founder of the ISPA (International Speaking Professionals Association).