Some things never change.
Nearly 100 years ago, Frank Bettger – one of the original All-Stars of sales – began to suspect that some of his prospects weren’t telling him the truth.
So he started keeping track. Over his career, he analyzed more than 5,000 discussions with buyers and kept meticulous records on the objections he encountered. He found that in 62% of cases, prospects initially gave him a bogus reason for not buying.
Sound about right?
Prospects will give you all sorts of reasons for not buying: They can’t afford it. They don’t need it. The old one’s working just fine. The stars aren’t aligned and the omens are unfavorable.
Sometimes they’re just trying to get rid of you. Sometimes it’s more complicated: They haven’t really thought about it. They’re not in touch with their pain. They don’t want to tip their hand. Or they have some unconscious block that they can’t even admit to themselves, much less to you.
You can’t very well say, “Gee, Ms. Prospect, I don’t think you’re being honest with me here.” But you don’t have to. Bettger offers four simple words that can help you find the real objection without challenging the buyer:
“In addition to that…”
Here’s how it works:
The prospect says, “Well, our budgets are set for the year. Why don’t you call me in six months?”
You say, “I understand your budgets are committed. But I’m getting the sense that you have other concerns as well. So … in addition to that, what else is making you hesitate to buy?”
“What else? Well … to tell you the truth, I’m just not convinced I’ll get the savings you’ve promised.”
Don’t stop there. “Sure, that’s a valid concern. And in addition to that, what else are you concerned about?”
“Um, my boss, I guess. Last time I proposed something like this, he shot me down.”
Now we’re getting somewhere.
Bettger’s point is that you have to dig deep to win sales. Your less skillful competitors will take that first objection and run with it. They’ll offer all kinds of evidence to convince the prospect that she can work it into this year’s budget, or can start this year and pay for it next year, or pay a little now and….
And later, they’ll wonder why that thick-headed buyer wouldn’t listen to reason.
Meanwhile, you’re having the conversation that really matters – about how your projections are based on companies just like hers, and the best way to present this idea to her boss. In other words, you’ve found what matters to your prospect.
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