Over the years, I have seen many salespeople who have delivered what they believed to be great sales presentations, only to fall at the final hurdle. There are lots of reasons for not closing a sale including ‘poor presentation’, ‘lack of product knowledge’ and ‘failure to listen to the needs of the client’, but in my experience, one of the most common reasons is the fear of rejection. The fear of ‘No!’.
A personal experience
Many years ago while working in the telecommunications industry, I had occasion to accompany a salesman who was going through a slump, in order to observe where he was falling down. The main visit of the day was a company with whom we were in the advanced stages of negotiation for the installation and service of a P.A.B.X (Private Automatic Branch Exchange).
The company was medium sized and the whole process was taking much longer than one would have expected. Having spent two hours with the company’s General Manager and finally establishing that everything was to his satisfaction, my companion informed him that a re-quotation would be prepared and sent to him later that week.
My colleague was anxious to get a start on the sixty plus mile return to the office. I asked him to wait in the car and returned to the prospective client. Without any further explanation I apologised for my colleague and handed him a pen and a fourteen year contract. He gave me a knowing look, smiled and signed the document which I had prepared during our discussion. You see, my colleague was afraid to face a refusal. He was afraid of ‘No!’.
Does No really mean No?
We have all heard the phrase that “No means No” and that may indeed be true in many situations, but professional selling is not one of them. When that prospect has a need, somebody is going to fulfil it and it is our duty as professionals to use every honest means to be that somebody. If we have a product that is fit for purpose and we have the integrity to stand behind that product, ‘No’ does not mean ‘No’. If a prospect says ‘No’, what they are really saying is, “You have not convinced me enough yet”.
In today’s economic climate, that potential client wants to be convinced. That potential client wants to rest easy in the knowledge that the choice that they are about to make is not going to leave them with egg on their face. It is our job as professionals to help that person to have confidence in our product or service.
A simple formula
The ultimate purpose of a sales presentation is, a call to action. If there is an objection, we deal with it by following this simple formula:
1. Find out the reason for the objection.
2. Ask if that is the only reason, or is there another. If there is, ignore the first.
3. Ask the client, that if there was a way of dealing with that objection, would they then be willing to proceed. (At this point it is important that the next one to speak is the client.)
4. If they say no, return to step 1.
5. Find the new objection and repeat preceding steps until close.
I have proven this formula, at every level form selling encyclopaedia to major contracts. Good hunting