When Your Customers Hate Sales Pitches

by Charlie Cook

You’re in a meeting with a promising prospect. You review the project and the services you provide and then, just when you’re hoping to get the okay, the prospect raises an objection. They may tell you:

“I haven’t got the time right now.”
“Send me a written proposal and I’ll think about it.”
“We already have a supplier.”
“We prefer working with a larger company.”
“Its too expensive.”
“We really don’t need your services.”
“I need to get approval from my boss.”

Has this ever happened to you? How do you respond?

Are these the real problems, or is something else going on?

Prospects raise objections like these when they still have questions about your company and the value of your services. If they tell you they’re looking for a larger firm, what they are really asking i,

“Can your firm do the job?”
“Do you have the resources to meet our needs?”
“Won’t a larger company with more personnel give us better service?”

When a prospect tells you your product or services cost too much, what they are really asking is,

“Are the benefits worth the money?”
“How do I know if it will work?”
“Will I get my money’s worth?”
“How much money will I save or make by using this service?” or
“Won’t I save money by not using your service?”

When a prospect tells you, “I already have a supplier,” what they are really asking is,

“How do I know I can trust you to provide the services?”
“How do I know you’ll do a better job than my existing supplier?”

Prospects raise objections because they have questions about your company’s credibility, the solution your product or service provides and its value. Every buyer has these concerns.

Once you’ve done work for a client, selling them your services the second and third time around is much easier. They trust you, understand the solution you provide and recognize its value.

To eliminate objections, first acknowledge that most prospects’ objections are based on three common underlying concerns.

Your credibility
Unless they’ve purchased your products or services before, prospects need to know that you can be trusted to deliver.

The solution you provide
Prospects want to know whether your products or services fit the problem they are trying to solve. They want to know what your services are and how well they’ve worked for previous customers.

The value of your products and services
Whether they’re spending a few dollars or a few million, buyers want to understand the benefit of what they are buying. The biggest barrier to sales is a lack of understanding of the value of your products and services.

The best way to avoid having objections become last minute deal-breakers is to take the following three steps to identify and address them in the course of your marketing.

Understand Objections
Use questions to get prospects talking about each of their concerns. If you charge high prices for your services, ask them what their concerns are about price. With the right questions, you’ll find out where to take the discussion or how to refine your marketing strategy.

Validate Objections
Openly acknowledge common concerns in your marketing materials and presentations. For example, if you are a small firm competing against larger companies, don’t try to sweep this obvious fact under the carpet. Bring it up and turn it into a selling point.

Educate Prospects
Once you have a clear idea of your prospects’ distinct priorities, you can explain the benefits of using your high-priced service or how the smaller size of your firm is actually to their advantage.

When to Address Objections
The best time to address objections is in your marketing materials. You can use your brochure, your web site and other materials to validate prospects’ objections, understand their concerns and educate them. Assuming your prospects read your materials, you can use this approach to eliminate objections before you even have the first conversation with a prospect.

Of course, not all prospects will read everything you provide and some will have lingering concerns despite your best efforts. Until the sale takes place, you should assume that your  prospects will have questions that need to be addressed. What can you do about these persistent objections?

Use your marketing conversations to get prospects to clarify their concerns so you can address each one. For example, don’t wait until the last minute to find out that the person you’ve been talking to needs to consult their boss. Early on in your marketing effort, ask them who needs to be part of the purchasing decision so you can include them from the start.

Prior to asking for the sale, get your prospect to identify:

When the right time would be to use your services.

What information they want to see in a written proposal.

What they like and dislike about their existing supplier.

What their financial or other objectives are.

How your smaller / larger/ local / global company could better meet their needs.

What benefits would justify the costs.

Your marketing objective is to make it as easy as possible for your prospects to become clients. Unanswered questions and concerns get in the way and result in lost sales. Eliminate these up front in your marketing and you’ll find many more prospects signing up to be clients.

More Ideas to Apply
1. Write down your business and marketing goals and post them prominently in your office.

2.  Identify which objections and obstacles are out of your control and then make a list of those you can remove. For example, your prospect’s perception of your credibility and the value of your services can be changed by your marketing.

3.  Ask questions to identify objections and obstacles.

4.  Instead of struggling to overcome objections to close the sale, use your marketing materials and conversations to eliminate them throughout the marketing and sales process.

5.  Acknowledge your prospect’s concerns right up front in your marketing materials and sales calls as a first step to eliminating them.

(VALUE: $200)
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