Don’t you hate it when a fabulous prospect says “This looks great, but I need to think about it”.
Would like to turn ‘No’ and ‘Maybe’ into a ‘Yes’? Have you given an outstanding presentation to a cool prospect…and they didn’t buy. How frustrating, right?
Well, after being in sales for over 25 years, I learned 10 very key reasons great prospects don’t buy. If you can improve on just 1 or 2 of these, you should see an improvement in your closing percentage.
10 Reasons Great Prospects Say “No”
You are trying to conduct business over email
Emails. Make them stop. Look at my inbox count below. And this is on a good day. I never ever look at unsolicited emails. And it is far too easy to type “Sorry, we have decided to go in a different direction” than to say that face-to-face.
The modern-day salesperson has got to stop relying on digital communication and start conducting business face-to-face.
You sound like a salesperson when you call prospects
What is the tone in your voice when you call your buddy Bob to play golf on Saturday. Ladies, what is your tone when you call your friend Julie to set a playdate with your kids? Are you using that same tone when you call a prospect? If not, you should.
Salesman voice: (deep and serious) Hello, is this Mr. Hammond? Hello Mr. Hammond, my name is…..
Friend voice: (calm, low and slow) Hey, is this Bob? Hey Bob, my name is …….
- Practice speaking low and slow – like you do when you talk to your friends
- Address prospects on a first name basis (excepts for doctors)
You are going into your pitch too soon
When you approach a prospect face-to-face, your #1 goal is to sit down with them. Business deals aren’t made at the front desk. When you call a prospect on the phone, your #1 goal is to set an appointment to see them in person.
The mistake many salespeople make is they launch into their sales talk or perks+benefits before they have sat down with the prospect.
Example of wrong way to ask for an appointment:
Hey, is this Bob? Hi Bob, my name is Susan.Your friend Frank Smith suggested I introduce myself to you. I’m the one talking to all of the businesses about a supplemental cancer policy for their employees. What it does is pay benefits directly to your employees when they are diagnosed with cancer. It also has no caps or limitations on it. and the rates never increase either. Is there a time this week we can get together?
The danger of launching into your product’s benefits is it creates a ping pong match between you and the prospect and it makes it very challenging to get an appointment.
You start getting questions like How much does this cost? which is waaaaaaaay too premature of a time to be discussing pricing when you haven’t even given your full presentation yet.
Here is an example of the effective way to ask for the appointment:
Hey, is this Bob? Hi Bob, my name is Susan. Your friend Frank Smith suggested I introduce myself to you. I’m the one talking to all of the businesses about a supplemental cancer policy for their employees. I’d love a few minutes of your time where I can share with you in person how it will greatly benefit your people. I’m going to be in your building/area Tuesday as well as Friday. Which of those works better for you?
If the prospect asks questions or wants more information over the phone, I always say, “That’s a great question. And that’s exactly what I will share with you when we get together. Once I can learn a little more about your organization, I can customize/crunch some numbers for you.”
I want to insinuate that unless they give me their time, I can’t share the sweet stuff
You aren’t creating a buying atmosphere
People love to buy but they hate to be sold. Oftentimes a sales pitch feels desperate. Key phrases to use that take the pressure off your prospect and helps create a buying atmosphere are:
- If you like this, great. If not, no big deal.
- Some people are getting this. Others aren’t. I’m just happy to show this to everyone.
- When I get done with my presentation, can you give me a big ‘yes’ or ‘no” either way. I do take ‘no’ for an answer (smile)
By giving permission to your prospects to say ‘no’, you will actually create more ‘yes’s’
You are giving a sales talk and not a sales conversation
Nobody wants to hear a monologue. And by giving a 1-sided sales pitch you aren’t connecting with your prospect, discovering a need or getting a feel of how engaged they are in what you are selling.
This took me yeeeeeeaaaars to learn and was a big Ah-ha moment for me once I connected the dots. When I sold educational books, instead of me saying “Betty, here are 5 reasons everyone is buying this from me….” (and then launching into my monologue about all of the amazing features the books had to offer), I changed my sales talk to a conversation:
Betty, what grades are your kids going into?
What kind of grades are they making? All A’s, A’s and B’s or A’s B’s and C’s?
How often to they get homework? Every day or not much at all?
What subjects do they get the most homework in?
What subject gives them the toughest time?
When they come to you for homework help, how easy is it for you to help them?
Do they have plans to go to college?
And like waving a magic wand….my sales exploded. Why? Because I connected with each family, I was genuinely inquiring about how their kids were doing in school and I listened to their answers. As a result, I was able to tailor my demo to each family’s needs.
And all I had to do was get out of the mindset that I was at each home to give a memorized sales talk – and focus my attention on having a conversation and finding a need.
You aren’t covering objections up front
Ugh. Objections. Not my friend. I need to think about it. I need to talk to my spouse/boss. I can’t afford this. Objections are a part of life if you are in sales. But hang on….there is one trick to getting far fewer of them. And that is to cover the objection before you get them.
Whoever brings up the objection first, wins.
After you have completed your sales conversation above (and before you go into your product demonstration) simply say “I have a few questions to ask before I go through everything”
- I usually just talk to the moms because moms are always the ones in charge of homework and school stuff. If I show you something that you know would truly help this kids this coming school year, is it okay if I just do business with you?
- (Or) I usually just talk to the HR Manager because they are the one who handles all of the insurance needs for most companies. Whenever I talk to the CEO they always say “Talk to my HR Manager. She handles all of this stuff (smile)”. Is that the way it is here? So, if I show you something that you feel will greatly benefit your employees, is it okay if I just do business with you?
- And one more thing…When I get done, you will either like this or you won’t. It’s no big deal wither way to me what you decide. Can you do me a big favor….if you like this give me a big thumbs up and we will do business together. If you don’t like this just give me a simple ‘no thanks’. But can you let me know either way in a few minutes? Great!
If the response to one of the above questions is “Yeah, the CEO really is the one who needs to make a decision on this” or “I can’t give you a ‘yes’ today because everything has to be run through our committee”, that is your cue to set up a time with the CEO or the committee and get in front of the decision-makers.
Don’t waste another minute of your time with someone who cannot give you a decision.
Your price build-up is weak
If your product costs $200, make sure you are building up the value to be much more than that before you drop the price on your prospect.
Bob, the reason everyone is getting this is because most CEOs figure something they would use monthly and does XYZ would be at least $700-1000. In addition, the additional features XYZ are worth $X alone. But you’ll be happy to know that this isn’t $700 or $1500. It’s only $200. Isn’t that great?
You want people thinking that they are going to have to pay much more than they actually are. Everyone loves a great deal
You aren’t solidifying the sale
What does solidifying the sale mean?
During the selling process (from the time you walk in the door, to the time a customer signs on the dotted line) there is a buying line. Let’s say, on a scale from 1-10, that anything below a 7 the person is not sold. But at some point during your presentation, they just up to an 8 and they decide to buy. Hooray!
But dang, while you are writing up the sale, Negative Nancy starts whispering in their ear Am I making the right decision here? Can we really afford this? Should I have talked to the boss before making this decision?
So before you walk out the door, it’s critical to re-sell the sizzle. This can be accomplished in many ways:
- Show a key feature about your product or service you didn’t show before
- Give a quick tour or demo on how to use the product
- Share any guarantees your company may have
- Share testimonials from other buyers
- Give them your personal contact information and tell them they can always rely on you for help or questions
Bring them back above the buying line in case they have fallen under it
Follow up and say thank-you
Oh Lordy, why are salespeople so bad about saying ‘thank you’? It’s really embarrassing. And they are equally as bad about staying in touch and following up with their customers…in person.
Send a hand-written thank you card to every single person who buys from you. Even if the transaction was $2. Just do it. It takes 5 minutes to write a card, but the payoff is huge.
I can’t tell you how many clients have told me “You card made my day! Nobody ever sends those anymore. Thank you so much!”
And stop by and see your clients at least every quarter. Hi Bob, I just wanted to drop by and see how you guys are doing. Any questions I can help answer?
This not only help you look professional, genuine, caring and likable – but it is also an opportunity to upsell or share new products they might qualify for.
Also, people talk. If you have a solid amount of referral-based business, you want the referee to say to your referral “Laura is awesome. She talks good care of us. She is great a following up and her service is excellent”.
The opposite of this is “I feel like Laura just took my money and ran. I haven’t seen the whites of her eyes since the day she sold me her services.”
Have the personal touch in sales. Get away from emails. Your customers want to see your smiling face
Is your head spinning now? My suggestion is to take 1 or 2 of the above tips and get really good at them this quarter. If you aren’t sending thank you cards, start doing it today. If you aren’t covering objections up front, start doing it today.
Once you get good at 1 or 2 of these, then tackle 1 or 2 more.
I’d love to hear which one of these makes the biggest impact on your closing percentage. So share in the comment box below!!
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