You know the sort – the ones that always say they are going to buy from you in the near future – the ones that ask you to ring again in three months time – the ones who were super keen when you first talked to them and now they have decided not to go ahead at all when you ring back and the ones you have spent hours doing a proposal for and they do not want to proceed.
I must admit that I have had quite a few of these in the last few months myself but I am getting the go ahead from these people more often than I used to.
Here are a few strategies that I have found successful:
- First of all ask yourself a few questions like; “How will I change my approach to create more interest for the prospect to go ahead now?”, “What information can I give the prospect that would cause them to say that they were better off taking my call than they were before taking it?”, “What does my prospect want to get and what do they want to avoid?”
- When the prospect does not want to do anything yet, ask them a few questions like “What is the real reason you are not going ahead now?”, “Are you saying that because you do not think you are going to get a return on your investment?”, What decision making criteria did you use to make this important decision?”
- Become a problem solver. Come up with some thoughts such as; “Let’s work out how much it is costing you to do nothing about your situation” or “How much time are you spending on _____ and “How much is that costing you right now?”
- Sometimes people ask you to supply references to stall their decision to go ahead. Before doing so, make sure you get a solid commitment from them that they will go ahead when they are satisfied with the references they get.
- I recently had a prospect express an interest in doing some in-house training but he only had three people. I said it was better to have an in-house with six to ten people, that way it would be more economical and more interactive. I suggested he get some colleagues in his industry to join forces with him. He liked that idea and said he would give me a call. Afterwards, I realised how stupid I was. Did I really expect he would ever get round to doing that? After four weeks of hearing nothing, I rang him back. Needless to say, he had done nothing so I offered to find the other people for him. We fixed a date and a time and I got my sale. Think about what extra mile you could go to help your client to do business with you.
- It is hard to sell products just before Christmas unless they are gifts. They will probably say to you “call us again in the New Year”. Immediately ask them, “What day in the New Year do you expect you would want to take delivery? That is fine, we can deliver the products now and bill you on ____January. How does that sound?” You could create a holiday special or have a one-week sale in December. You could also create urgency by saying the price is going up in the New Year.
- If you keep getting put off every time you call, simply ask them “Why aren’t we doing business with each other yet?” You may be surprised at some of the reasons.
Jenny Cartwright – International Sales Trainer / Speaker / Coach
Author of “Don’t Get Hung up! – How to sell products and services by phone” and “Secrets of Top Sales Professionals.”
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