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30 Minutes To Closing More Sales- Part 2

 

Guest articles > 30 Minutes To Closing More Sales- Part 2

 

by: Jon Gilge


In part 1 of this article I discussed 3 techniques that allow a salesperson to move past a prospects resistance to being sold. In that article I also introduced the topic that would become the subject for part 2, but had to save it for a second post because I had promised a 30 minute lesson and the second topic would have taken the time required to master both well over the 30 minute threshold.

In this post, I will cover that second element:

How to effectively respond to mild buying hesitations expressed after the buying question, the most common of which is “I need to think about it.”

If you read part one you’ll know that the idea behind the article was to introduce a skill that could be understood and learned quickly, in 30 minutes, that would have maximum and immediate impact on a salesperson’s ability to make more sales. I was looking for maximum impact from a minimal investment of time, and selected 2 topics based on what I have observed over the years to be the most common sales weaknesses. The first had to do with creating openness and receptivity to the sales message, the second will deal with how to handle the prospect who does not immediately commit to the purchase after being asked to buy.

An informal survey of any group of salespeople I’ve ever talked to reveals that the “I need to think about it” excuse is used by customers more than any other– as much as 75% of the time after the customer is asked the buying question. While this percentage should be dramatically reduced by the proper application of the last lesson, the need to respond to this excuse will always be a common element in a successful sales career.

Before we begin, I’ll ask you to remember that professional salespeople learn to handle customer excuses not to limit their freedom of choice, but rather to insure that they make the right choice in those cases that your product or service represents the best option.

If I were to ask you, and that is what I am doing, how often do you have customers respond to your buying question by telling you “I need to think it over,” what would you answer be?

Half the time?

1 in 5?

1 in 10?

Your response will likely depend on your proficiency in the art and science of sales persuasion, and to a lesser degree the product you are selling and the industry in which you sell. But despite these factors, “I need to think about it” is a significant impediment to successful selling in any industry if you don’t know how to respond.

It always surprises me when long time sales veterans do not have a effective response after years and sometimes of decades of being presented with this excuse by their prospects. If you don’t yet have a solid response at the ready, I’ll give it to you here. If you practice and polish the technique I can assure you that the next time a prospect tell you that they need to think about it, you will smile deep inside knowing that you can move beyond the excuse to the the real cause of their hesitancy, and from there, to making the sale. This is significantly better than how most salespeople receive this excuses– with frustration and disappointment.

The next time a prospect replies to you buying question with “I need to think about it”

Respond with:

I can appreciate that.

Obviously you wouldn’t take the time to think about this unless you were seriously interested, is that true?

Yes.

And I trust that over the next couple of days you are going to give this very careful consideration?

We sure are.

I’m curious, what is it that you need to think about is it dealing with my company?

No, it’s not that

Is it the quality and selection of the products?

No, not that either.

Is it the way we install them and the service we would provide in the future.

No, it isn’t that.

Is it me personally?

No, you were great.

(softly) Bob and Sally, there’s really only one thing left, is it the money?

When they respond that it is the money, congratulations, you have successfully moved the customer from an excuse to an objection, which is one step closer to a decision.

You may still have some work to do with the money objection, which you can learn how to handl in the Master Closing Guide (you can download the guide for free by signing up with an email address from any page on this site) It is sufficient for our discussion here to say that money objections are logical and can be overcome, and are much closer to a decision than an excuse like needing to “think about it.”

A couple of additional points:

  • As you use this technique, you will often find that you never get to the final question. Somewhere along the way the customer gets honest with you and tells you that it is about the money.
  • When a prospect answers your final question with something other than agreement that the concern is about money, simply proceed by saying:

Mr Customer, if it isn’t the money, or any of the other things that you need to think about, then there must be something that I am missing. Do you mind if I ask what it is?

Their response will point you in the direction of their resistance to buying, perhaps another excuses, maybe an objection, or a questions you haven’t answered. Either way, you are moving the customer through the closing sequence and are that much closer to identifying and overcoming their resistance to buying.

Lets continue by taking a minute to look at the psychology behind this technique. You don’t necessarily have to understand the theory to make this technique work for you, but it can help to get you to believe in it through an understanding of how it works.

When the customer first responds by saying “I need to think about it” what they mean is that they are not yet convinced, and probably don’t want to tell you the reason why. This can happen for several reasons; they can’t really name it, they don’t want to offend you, they believe that if they tell you then you will try to overcome their objection, or because this is simply what you tell salespeople to end the sales call. From this perspective, understand that your job as a professional salesperson is to help the customer organize their thinking, be honest with you, and come to a resolution to either take advantage of your offer or not.

Your initial response to their statement is to try to take the pressure off of them. Immediately responding can cause a potential customer to put up their defenses after which the sale is usually lost.

So you start by saying:

I can appreciate that.

Obviously you wouldn’t take the time to think about it unless you were seriously interested.

Can I trust that over the next couple of day you will give this very careful consideration?

What do all those statements imply? That you are accepting their desire to think it over. At Sales GIANT Training we refer to these as “out the door statements” because they imply that you are leaving and that the sales call is concluding. This is designed to take the pressure off, because when the customer perceives pressure they will be defensive to any further discussion that will allow you to continue to convince them to buy.

The next questions that you ask is the key to this technique:

I’m curious, what is it that you need to think about is it dealing with my company?

This is very different in its effect from the question that most salespeople ask at this point, which is, “what do you need to think about?” The difference is that by asking the customer what they need think about you allow the customer to give you a dead end response. A dead-end response is one from which you have no way to move the discussion closer to closing the sale. Here’s why. When you ask a customer what they need to think about, what do they tell you? Something along the lines of “If we want to do it.”

Now what do you say?

What can you say?

You have lost the initiative in the conversation by asking a question that can only lead to answer with which you can do nothing. Instead, Sales GIANTS ask a similar question, but combine it with a statement that begins the process of eliminate topics about which they ‘need to think about it.” Like this:

I’m curious, what is it that you need to think about is it dealing with my company?

This question will produce a very different response. The close ended question controls the response and limits it to an obvious ‘no.’

Now we are getting somewhere.

The questions that follow each eliminate one category of consideration and lead to the final question that brings us to the money objection. Experienced sales people know that it is usually about the money, but great salespeople know that you can’t bring a customer to admit that it is without first eliminating the other possible considerations.

If you directly ask if it is about the money, potential customers will usually not admit it because on some level they know that if they tell you that it is you will lower your price and they will be put into a position to buy if they want to remain consistent. This is the conclusion that their anxiety over making a bad decision is keeping them from making. By making money the only option left, after they have told you that is not anything else, the human need to be consistent leads them to admit that it is the money, and leads you one step closer to the sale.

To Your Ultimate Success!

The Sales Giant

 


The Sales Giant is the publisher of the popular Sales Giant Training Blog (www.salesgianttraining.com/blog)  and the author of the FREE 'Master Closing Guide' that you can download instantly at www.salesgianttraining.com/free-master-closing-guide. For more information on all of the sales training resources they offer, please visit them at their online home at www.salesgianttraining.com.


Contributor: Jon Gilge

Published here on: 27-Mar-11

Classification: Sales, Psychology

Website: www.salesgianttraining.com

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