Handling The Most Common Responses
Remember you are not a crook, and all you want to do is ask for an opportunity to meet with somebody. If the prospect doesn’t want to meet with you, you don’t particularly want to meet with the prospect. You are looking for people who want to speak with you about the product or service you are offering.
Because my personality and your personality are probably different, I can’t put the words I might say in your mouth. You have to write your own script for your own “what-if” scenarios. Ask yourself, “If my prospect says this, what would I say back?” Then literally create the script. Try it, and over time keep refining it.
For example, how would you handle the “We don’t travel that much” scenario? A lot of salespeople might respond with, “Well, how much do you travel?” Or “How many people travel?” Or “How big is your travel budget?” In other words, they start firing questions in response to avoid the Death Pause.
Here’s the way I would handle it.
Gatekeeper/Prospect: “Mike, thanks for calling. We don’t travel that much.”
MM: “This may sound funny to you, but that’s exactly why I called you. My company specializes in firms like yours who don’t travel that much. It’s been our experience that most of our competitors are chasing the IBM’s and the G.E.’s and the companies with large travel budgets. We have found that there are a lot of companies like yours whose travelers really need the services we provide. We purposely target local businesses that don’t travel as much as the big corporations. It’ll take me about fifteen minutes to outline our service program to you. You really don’t have very much to lose.”
Do you want companies who don’t travel that much at the top of your list? Probably not. But you have to read through the smoke. The gatekeeper/prospect wasn’t awaiting your call and probably didn’t initially focus on what it was you were saying. The immediate knee-jerk response was to get rid of you and get back to whatever he or she was doing. The reason you were told “We don’t travel that much” was to get you to hang up first.
Having done your homework, you know that this was a possible scenario and you are ready. When you answer your prospects with an intelligent, polite, “Yes, however,” you will find yourself getting more appointments.
I mentioned that a lot of salespeople start firing questions over the telephone to avoid the Death Pause. Here are my thoughts concerning this practice. The person you just called doesn’t owe you a thing — including answers to your questions. If you are going to ask a question, I recommend you ask permission before going to Q&A. It really irks me when I make a call and the person answering the phone simply states, “That line is busy, please hold.” Boom! All of a sudden I’m listening to “If I Say You Have A Beautiful Body Will You Hold It Against Me?” on country music station KCOW. If they simply took three seconds and asked, “May I place you on hold?” I’d be happy to listen to Willie Nelson sing “You Shouldn’t Mess with the IRS.”
The same principle holds true when you want to ask a prospect some questions.
Compare these dialogues.
Rookie: “Mr. Big, where do you plan to travel next month? Where have you been? How much do you spend on travel each month? Do you go first class or coach?”
Prospect (thinking to self): “Who is this bozo? I don’t owe him any answers, and I don’t know why he wants to know.”
Now try it my way.
MM: “Mr. Large, may I ask you three questions concerning your travel habits?”
Prospect: “Ok, Shoot.”
Then you can fire away because the prospect gave you permission to ask. Remember: Before asking the questions, ask permission to ask questions.
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