Authored by Eric Slife, Slife Sales Training
“It’s not in the budget.” Sound familiar?
This is probably the number one objection most salespeople have experienced the last two years, and it’s not a smoke screen. What do you do when your prospects tighten their purse strings?
The primary reason sales people encounter this objection is because their product or solution isn’t a high priority. Businesses highest priorities are their Critical Success Factors. If anyone of these factors fails, the business will eventually fail or be significantly crippled. Especially, in a down economy, companies circle around the wagons to protect their Critical Success Factors. It’s no different than you forgoing that cruise or trip to Disneyland.
Here are three ways in which you can change how your prospect views the priority of your offering.
1. Change the perception of your offering.
Too many salespeople are still selling value added benefits, gain, opportunities, etc. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s making people pull the trigger on decisions now. Your prospects are focused on lost sales, lost profits, and surviving. In other words, “FEAR” is their number one motivator. You need to position your product or service in such a way that brings some peace of mind to your prospect’s worried state.
2. Speak to the real decision maker.
Obviously, if you want to understand what is really bothering your prospects, you’d better be talking with the ultimate decision maker. I would much rather get one good appointment with the ultimate decision maker than four ‘I’ve got my fingers crossed appointments’ with Purchasing or Human Resources.
Ultimate decision makers will share with you their Critical Success Factors. In addition, you will significantly speed up the sales cycle. They may even be an immediate “No,” but that’s better than being dragged on for a year by a Purchasing Agent.
Finally, ultimate decision makers have the power to change the budget. If you can plug the dam that is leaking, they will find the funds to make it happen.
The best question to determine who the ultimate decision maker is, “Besides yourself, who else will be involved in the decision making process?” This strokes the ego of the person you are speaking with, which will give you a much truer answer than, “Are you the decision maker?”
3. Learn how to get better at really qualifying your prospects.
The reality is you shouldn’t be wasting time with companies that don’t have the money, won’t make a decision within the next several months (obviously if you sell jet liners this may be different), or can’t give me definitive answer to specific questions.
More often than not, companies that are just kicking around the tires are not good prospects. A good litmus test is to ask the following questions:
- How soon are you looking to make a decision?
- When can I speak with the other decision makers involved?
- How high a priority is this right now and why?
- Have you tried to fix this problem before? If “Yes,” find out why it didn’t get fixed before.
Finally, sit down and make a list of the top industries that rely heavily upon what you provide. Once you have completed this list, compile another list of the top companies that require your solution. These are your top prospects and should garner your most attention.
The following are some of the questions you need to be able to answer to identify if you are a top priority:
- Why is my product or service critical?
- What are the consequences if my product or service fails?
- How does that impact my contact(s)?
- What alternatives does my prospect have?
- What Return on Investment will my product or service yield, both hard and soft?
- Who will be purchasing in the next several months and why?
- What companies or industries are growing or suffering?
In addition to the above, you should brainstorm more with your team, and contact your current customers. The best way to do this is ask them for a testimonial, and then have them elaborate on how your solution has impacted their business. Not only do you learn more about your top customers, but you walk away with a great testimonial.
About The Author:
Eric Slife started Slife Sales Training, Inc. with his wife Daphne in 1999. Since then, their company has evolved into one of the most extensive and affordable online sales training resources www.salestrainingcentral.com. Sign up for their newsletter today and receive Top 10 Voicemail Blunders for absolutely FREE.
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