Objection #1: I plan to wait until fall
- I understand that you need more time to think. What are your reasons for and your reasons against buying now?
- We very rarely hear that. Why would you delay making this important decision?
- Perhaps, I can help. I am aware that this is an important decision for you. What do you think you will gain if you buy in the fall, and what are you going to lose by waiting?
- Are you saying that you wouldn’t be able to use the product right now? No. They why wait until fall? Why not start benefiting today?
- What will change then? Probably nothing. Your need might even be greater. If we can solve your problems today, why delay?
- What will change then? Probably nothing, except our prices might be higher. Why not buy today, and take advantage of the low price?
- You impress me as a very proactive businessperson. You make bigger decisions than this every day. Why are you hesitating now?
- You remind me of Mr. ____ in ____. He planned to wait several more months before buying our equipment. Unfortunately, his company didn’t have the luxury of waiting. During those months, they lost their competitive edge. The competition had new machinery and they didn’t. They lost a lot of business. I would hate to see anything like that happen to you. Why not buy today and get ahead of the competition?
- If your kid needed medical care, would you put it off? Of course, not! Well, why delay on this purchase decision? Aren’t we in a similar position? Your company needs this machinery very badly. Let’s get it in place now, so that you correct this productivity problem now.
- Are you in the habit of putting off important decisions? Isn’t it time you broke that habit?
- Do you promise me you will definitely buy in the fall? Good! I will call you in the middle of the summer so that we can set it up!
- You will buy in the fall? So, what you are telling me is that you definitely want it, right? Well, let’s fill out the paperwork today. We can arrange to have it shipped to you this fall, okay?
- You want to wait until this fall? Is it just a matter of money? If that is all it is, we can arrange to have it shipped today, and we won’t start billing you until this fall. Okay?
Objection #2 We tried something like it, but it didn’t work
- What happened? (Get specific information on the customer’s complaints about the other product. The show specifically how your product is different.)
- Our product has been on the market for five years. That other product was new and untested. You won’t have to worry about our product’s reliability. We guarantee it unconditionally!
- (Prospect’s name), have you ever eaten fast food that didn’t agree with you? One that gave you indigestion? We all have. Yet, you didn’t give up eating just because that one meal upset you. You said you’ve tried something that didn’t work. I respect your experience, but please, do not compare your five-star meal with fast food!
- I’m sorry you had a bad experience. I know how you feel. I have disappointed myself with many purchases. I can assure you that what we’re offering is as different as night and day from that other product. We guarantee it. Let me explain exactly how we are different.
- Let me show you these letters from satisfied customers. See for yourself how we go about producing and backing up what we make. Did you ever see letters of praise like this for that other product?
- Was it really the product that didn’t work or was it the service you didn’t get? We are known for having the best service in the industry. Isn’t that important to you?
- That’s unfortunate and I can understand how you feel. Do you really think that this single experience will prevent you from looking at new and better opportunities?
- We have all been hurt at some time, haven’t we? I am sure you have been hurt in love, right? Has that turned you off to all relationships? I hope not. I respect the fact that you have been hurt. I promise you that will not happen here. We take outstanding care of our customers.
- Are we comparing apples with apples or apples with oranges? Please do not compare us with that other company! We are totally different. May I show you how we differ, and the many benefits we offer you?
- Our product may look similar on the surface to ____’s product, but is only a superficial resemblance. I am sure you have heard that saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” right? Well, it is really true in this case! Can I open the book and show you the ways in which we are different and far superior?
- We are really the Rolls Royce of the industry. Is it really fair to compare us to a Hyundai? Can I tell you more about what makes us the Rolls Royce?
- How would you feel if your company’s products were compared to the worst products in your industry? Well, that is exactly the position you have just put me in. What would you do if you were in my position? May I please give you some information as to why we are far, far superior to that other company?
- When did you try it? You know, great strides have been made in our industry since then! The products we offer today are light years ahead of what you experienced back then! Why not take a new look at what is available today?
- You know, comparing our products today with what that other company offered back then is like comparing a Model T with a Ferrari! Is that really a fair comparison? Don’t you owe it to yourself to take a closer look at what is available and how it can benefit your company?
- You know, comparing our products today with what that other company offered back then is like comparing a 1990 computer with a 2017 computer. Today’s computers are much more powerful, aren’t they? And, they cost less! We are in exactly the same position! Our products are far superior to what you experienced in the past, and they cost less money! Don’t you owe it to your company to take a closer look at what today’s technology offers?
Objection #3 Your competitor’s product is better
- You’re kidding? (Act surprised.)
- Better in what way? (Have customer list features he/she likes in the other product; then show how yours has the same or better features.)
- I’d be interested in hearing your unbiased opinion on the two products.
- Obviously, you’ve had a chance to look at their product. What did you see that impressed you?
- Are you referring to quality, service, features, or the value of the product after five years of use?
- Everyone has a unique way of presenting their product. We let the product speak for itself. I’m positive that you will quickly see that there is a difference between promotional promises and actual facts. Can I tell you what some of those differences are?
- I would agree that there are some differences in design; however, what counts in the future is the quality of the service. What advantage is there in having a slightly better figure on the spec sheet when you need same-day service – and they won’t give it to you? We will guarantee you same-day service. How much is that worth to you?
- Will all the features you see in our competitor’s product, there is one they can never have: our commitment to service. We have more units in operations, more highly trained service engineers, and a better response record than anybody in the industry.
- I’m amazed that you would say that. We have a reputation as the best in the industry. What, specifically, do you think is better in my competitor’s product?
- Our competitor’s product appears to be better? Appearances can be deceiving. Let’s take a look beneath the surface to see what you are really getting. Okay?
- Who told you that? Have you talked to people who own the two products, or have you only been listening to advertising? I am sure that if you talk to owners, you will find that our product is far better respected than our competitor’s
- Some of our happiest customers are people who used to own that other company’s product! Here, let me give you some phone numbers. Call them up. Let me tell you why are product is so far superior to the competitor’s product!
- Better compared to what? All of their major design features are “borrowed” from us. That’s merely a copycat product. (State with disdain.) Our technology is two years ahead of theirs. Shouldn’t you take a closer look at what we are offering?
- It is true they may have some features we don’t have. But please look at the price difference. Their product costs much more up front and their service calls are twice as expensive as ours. Over the course of five years, you could pay twice as much for their product as compared to ours. And they both do the same job! Why not do your company a favor and same it some hard-earned money! You don’t need a gold-plated solution to this problem. Buy our product!
To learn more about earning the right to call yourself a professional, visit our website.
(Adapted from the book “Sales Scripts That Close Every Deal” by Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder and Publisher of Selling Power)
Hire for potential, retain through training, and charge with autonomy
HR executives recruit candidates based on the accomplishments they see on their resumes. And they fail so miserably because it relies on the flawed assumption that people who have done well in the past would do equally well or better in the future. Accomplishments are previous results. On the other hand, candidates who have been hired without any accomplishments but purely because the CEO or the top management believed in him or her, have proven to succeed so spectacularly. Why? The answer is potential.
Potential is the ability to adapt to increasingly complex roles and environments. After hiring the high potentials, continuously keep them in a stimulating environment under which they thrive through leadership programs. Also, give them decision-making autonomy in their respective areas of leadership. So, the human resources professionals need a complete retraining that will offer an extraordinary opportunity for the company to exploit the human assets. The new skills they require are the following:
- Hiring: How to spot potential
- Retaining: Develop effective leadership-developing programs
- Charging: Help the best get better by giving them autonomy
Let us examine them one by one.
Candidates must have not only the right skills but also the potential to learn new ones. Competency-based appointments are increasingly becoming insufficient. That is because what makes someone successful today in a particular role under certain circumstances might not tomorrow because of the ever-changing competitive environment, the dynamic company strategy and the need to manage and work with a different group of colleagues. What is required is the potential of the candidate to fit into future roles. Unfortunately, a candidate’s potential is much harder to discern than competence. Consider Egon Zehnder who developed and refined an empirically validated model over two decades with a predictive accuracy of 85%. In conclusion, this model predicts potential based on five indicators:
- Motivation: pursuit of challenging goals
- Curiosity: explore new ideas and avenues
- Insight: see connections where others do not
- Engagement: with their work and colleagues
- Determination: overcome setbacks and obstacles
Perhaps the CEOs who took a leap of faith and hired a candidate who did not have any past accomplishments to show for must have subconsciously seen all the above qualities in him or her. They were competent people with potential. Sadly, most organizations have HR professionals who kill off good candidates and endorse bad ones. The best interviewers’ assessments and the right kind of hiring can vastly improve the odds.
So, of what are high potentials made?
The superior level of performance of high potentials is consistent in a variety of circumstances and settings. Moreover, they have a high propensity to grow and succeed faster and more efficiently than their co-workers. They are three distinct qualities in high-achievers. They are broadly categorized as performance, behavior, and X-factors as illustrated in the table below.
|Deliver results strongly – credibly
||Recognize that action counts
||A drive to excel
|Master new types of expertise
||Exhibit behavior that reflects the culture of their companies
||A catalytic learning capability
|Perform with distinction with a broad range of stakeholders
||Demonstrate company values in an exemplary manner
||An enterprising spirit
|Competence not at the expense of someone else
||Be a role model and teacher
After hiring the real high potentials, focus on keeping them not only because of the tendency to fall off voluntarily but also because the talent market is very tight. Make sure that the candidates live up to the high potential spotted in them by offering them future leadership assignments. Companies have targeted leadership development opportunities, job rotations, stretch assignments, and executive programs designed to nurture high-achieving individuals. They push their high-achievers up a straight ladder toward bigger budgets, bigger jobs, and a larger team. These measures have managed to continue their growth but not unleash their ultimate potential. According to a research 40% of internal job moves by “high potentials” have failed because of the following flawed assumptions of senior managers.
- Assumed that high potentials are highly engaged
- Equated current high performance with future potential
- Delegated down the management of top talent
- Shielded rising stars from early derailment
- Expected star employees to share the pain
- Failed to link the stars to corporate strategy
A disciplined approach is needed. Leadership development initiatives should reflect the needs of the rising stars and align with organizational goals. Make sure that the job rotations and relevant stretch assignments they are getting suit their temperaments and aptitudes.
Hiring for potentials and providing them with the proper training is not the end of it. Keeping them in the company without the competitors luring them away is another challenge. There are some proven strategies that management can adopt to keep the top potentials who have attended the leadership program engaged, motivated and driven. They need to reinforce and explicitly express that the “high potential” title is not only an acknowledgment of past accomplishment but also of future potential. Also, give them autonomy in the following four “T” dimensions: Task, Time, Team, Technique
We cannot predict the competencies and skills needed to succeed in the future because of the dynamic nature of geopolitics, business environment, competitive landscape and the tight talent market. It is, therefore, imperative to hire and nurture people with the highest potential and not just those who have proved their abilities in the past. That doesn’t mean forgetting factors like intelligence, experience, specific competencies, performance, and leadership skills. But the implication is that companies should hire competent people with potential. Recognize their competence and potential by enrolling them in an executive development program. And finally, cultivate a sense of ownership in them by giving them autonomy in the decision-making. Thus, hiring for potential, retaining them at every level of the organization, and charging them by giving them independence are the key success factors of the most admired companies in the world.
You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.
Any product that needs a manual to work is broken.
Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. it is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe.
A product is something made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by the customer. A product can be copied by a competitor; a brand is unique. A product can be quickly outdated; a successful brand is timeless.
Great design will not sell an inferior product, but it will enable a great product to achieve its maximum potential.
When the product is right, you don’t have to be a great Marketer.
Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.
Good products can be sold by honest advertising. If you don’t think the product is good, you have no business to be advertising it.
If you believe your product or service can fulfill a true need, it’s your moral obligation to sell it.
Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.
You cannot inspect quality into the product; it is already there.
According to this view, democracy is a product of western culture, and it cannot be applied to the Middle East which has a different cultural, religious, sociological and historical background.
Divorce is a by-product of the fact that maybe the nuclear unit is gone.
My feeling about work is it’s much more about the experience of doing is than the end product. Sometimes things that are really great and make lots of money are miserable to make, and vice versa.
A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one.
I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.
The only way to advertise is by not focusing on the product.
I hate bring thought of as a product.
If you don’t sell, it’s not the product that’s wrong, it’s you.
Product management really is the fusion between technology, what engineers do and the business side.
The sales department isn’t the whole company, but the whole company better be the sales department.
Alan Kay’s famous aphorism is that perspective is worth 80 IQ points. An innovative insight is not the product of an individual’s brilliance. It’s not as if innovators’ heads are wired in different ways. Innovation typically comes from looking at the world through a slightly different lens
Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy … Your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products.
I already am a product
Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering, and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationships.
I strongly believe that missionaries make better products. They care more. For a missionary, it’s not just about the business. There has to be a business, and the business has to make sense, but that’s not why you do it. You do it because you have something that motivates you.
We experiment endlessly, with new products, new companies and new marketing. A successful business the emphasis is on experiment and development, ideas are the lifeblood of business.
A disruptive innovation is a technologically simple innovation in the form of a product, service, or business model that takes root in a tier of the market that is unattractive to the established leaders in an industry.
Have you listened to the radio lately? Have you heard the canned, frozen and processed product being dished up to the world as American popular music today?
When you are having fun, and creating something you love, it shows in the product. So, when a woman is sifting through a rack of clothes, somehow that piece of clothing that you had so much fun designing speaks to her; she responds to it and buys it. I believe you can actually transfer that energy to material things as you’re creating them.
Mitt – what I speak to Mitt Romney about is jobs. What I speak to Mitt Romney about is China, because he’s got a great view on China and how they’re trying to destroy our country by taking our jobs and making our product and manipulating their currency, so that it makes it almost impossible for our companies to compete.
Most businesses think that product is the most important thing, but without great leadership, mission and a team that deliver results at a high level, even the best product won’t make a company successful.
I don’t go cheap on anything, but I’m not a shopper. If I want something, I look at it, decide what it is, but it will usually be the best product. I’ve got a pair of loafers that I still wear that I got in 1957.
Price is rarely the most important thing. A cheap product might sell some units. Somebody gets it home and they feel great when they pay the money, but then they get it home and use it and the joy is gone.
We have our factory, which is called a stage. We make a product, we color it, we title it and we ship it out in cans.
A sale is a process that takes one closer to the next step until you cross the line marked red. And that is when you complete a sale. Until then it is a dance between the prospect and the Sales Professional. So what are the steps involved in making the final sale? How does Sales Professional figure when to move on to the next step? Here we give you some commonly required steps that would ensure that you get a reasonably good chance of making the final sale.
Qualify your prospects
In sales, it is essential to moderate the customers because it can save you an enormous amount of time. Qualifying the prospects is best explained using the acronym ADD where A stands for Affordability, the first D stands for Desire, and the second D stands for Decision-maker. Regarding affordability, the question we need to ask is can this prospect afford our product. Secondly, does this prospect have enough desire and be motivated to buy our product. And finally, are we talking to the decision-maker or does somebody else make the decisions for the candidate on their behalf in which case we need to ensure that the concerned decision-maker attends the sales meeting.
Entice through convincing
Once you have recognized the decision-maker and had an opportunity to lay down the basics, it is time to entice them with perks. These perks would make their decision-making that much easier. They are a free offering to go along with the final sale that is complementary to the product, absolutely easy payment terms, and a test sampling of the product. It may look like hand-holding the prospects, but that is precisely the objective. The onus is on the Professionals to convince them enough to make the sale.
Commitment in Action
Having made the prospects sample the product, the next thing to do is get them to take some action. The act serves as psychological commitment and is a clear indication that they are willing to possess the product. Willingness to own the product helps accelerate the sales process to a great extent. Without writing down the desire to own the product, it is just a dream. When they have put it in black and white, in this case filling out and signing a form, it triggers off a chain of events that make the dream come to fruition.
Follow-up for payments
Payments are a crucial part of sales. People have a tendency to delay payments. Sales have a role to play in pushing the prospects to make payments as fast as possible. One way is to ask them to make a partial deposit to secure the booking. The other way is to make it easy for them to make the payments. Payment follow-up is like conveying a message. And for a message sent to be effective, it has to be transmitted at least three times in different formats – Conversation, Email, and Reminder.
Eliminate buyers remorse
The sale is not complete until the refund period expires. After the sale, there is a certain grace period within which time the customer is entitled to claim for a refund. It is because once the product is in the hands of the client, buyers’ remorse kicks in and they start doubting as to whether the purchase was necessary or not. Sales people should try and understand the reason behind the guilt and try to alleviate it. Invite them for cocktails, having a conversation or simply asking for referrals can do the trick.
The Sales & Marketing Executives International Club in Hong Kong has successfully created the 49th annual Distinguished Sales Award program which will culminate in a gala awards banquet at the Hong Kong Convention Center on Friday, June 16, 2017.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Sales & Marketing Executives International and all of our members around the world, we extend sincere congratulations to the Sales and Marketing Executives International Club of Hong Kong on a successful 49th Distinguished Salesperson Award Presentation Ceremony.
A special congratulation goes to each of the recipients of the Distinguished Salesperson Award and Outstanding Young Salesperson Award. Through their professionalism, determination and commitment to excellence, each of the awardees has demonstrated the qualities of a winner. Winning in today’s competitive marketplace requires global sophistication. This ceremony honours the achievement of outstanding sales professionals who recognize that their value to the marketplace is enhanced by striving to consistently perform at the high standards that are recognized and applauded around the world.
Each of the awardees of this programme has learned “To be Different – To be Outstanding” by being guided by their professional training and inner conscience in sales and marketing in order to thrive as a professional. Each awardee has proven their mettle in sales and marketing basic fundamentals include relationship building, customer centric service, high ethical standards and by having a passion for professionalism.
Sales and Marketing Executives International is a professional association of thousands of members worldwide who make a positive impact on our global economy by adhering to ethical marketing standards, sharing knowledge and through their commitment to continuing education.
We encourage each of the award recipients to continue their focus on fundamentals, balancing their business decision making with sound economic and ethical business practices and with a pledge to make lifelong learning a key to sustained personal growth and professionalism.
Thank you to the Hong Kong Management Association and the Sales & Marketing Executives International Club of Hong Kong for contributing to SMEI’s goal for a better standard of living for all through better selling.
Salesforce.com employed guerrilla marketing tactics early on. Budding entrepreneurs all over the world have elegant and innovative ideas. However, they struggle with the obstacles they face in their journey to turn their business into a commercial success. Worse still, each one thinks that they are alone in their fights. However, every entrepreneur goes through the same pain points. The story of Salesforce.com provides some valuable lessons that start-ups can learn. Although they are practical, it requires a mindset that embraces a radical approach to doing business. It that departs sharply from the more traditional one. Study them carefully and customize it for your businesses.
Stand out with a purpose
In 2000, at the salesforce.com launch party in San Francisco at the Regency Theatre, what stood out was the theme about waging war against the traditional way of delivering software services. They turned the lowest level of the theater into an inferno with actors locked up inside cages playing captured and frustrated enterprise salespeople. They were screaming, “Help, get me out,” “Sign this million-dollar license agreement. I need to make my quota!” etc. After the more than fifteen hundred attendees had worked their way through this hell, they went to the top floor. The place represented heaven where there was music, light and finally salesforce.com. There they obtain Nirvana.
The End of Software Campaign was the name of the party. On the morning of that day at the Siebel User Group Conference at the Moscone Center Salesforce.com sent hired actors. Their job was to pretend to be TV crew from a local station. They also sent protestors to picket the conference. Every person who went into the meeting were given an invitation to the salesforce.com launch party that night. Although the police arrived immediately, their presence only fanned the flames as the protestors were there legally.
PR Week recognized this End of Software Campaign as the “Hi-Tech Campaign of the Year”. Within two weeks around one thousand organizations signed up for the service. By daring to be different than the conventional way salesforce.com was able to get the much-needed press coverage at nil cost and reach out to the target market which was the end-users rather than the business enterprises and large corporations.
Aim for potential end users
Salesforce’s City Tour Program built Street Teams that got customers selling for the company on a local level. Each City Tour stop had a keynote address. Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce.com, spoke at each event followed by a live demo. There was also some time dedicated for questions.
In every City, the customers were eager to share their stories about their experiences using the software. This City Tour frenzy morphed into a movement. Salesforce.com contacted end-users in advance of the events, and most were eager to participate. Salesforce.com started to post blown up pictures of their customers at events and other marketing materials. Their companies acknowledged these employees’ success since it contributed immensely to the bottom line and they climbed the corporate ladder faster than otherwise would have been possible. Ads started appearing on job sites and soon “implementing salesforce.com” became a differentiating skill that set the candidates apart. It became a skill that employers sought out highly in sales professionals.
Salesforce.com evolves through a process called “intelligent reaction” – a process that involves making minor upgrades every week and constant releases incorporating real-time feedback from the end-users. The phenomenon, as they put it, means going where the business takes them rather than predicting the future trends without any inputs from the customers. It is, in essence, engaging the end-user as an active participant in the evolution of the company. In their early growth, salesforce.com built an online community through forums, blogs and chat sessions that have been emulated by many other companies since then.
Vulture and not venture capital
Raising money at the initial stage of the business evolution was no easy task for salesforce.com. It was an uphill battle. During the frothy dot-com era, Salesforce turned to the venture capitalists (VC) with their cold pitch for investment. When VC after VC turned them down, they turned to the age-old adage of 3F – friends, family, and fools – in other words, vulture-capitalists to raise capital for their start-up. This alternative financing model turned out to be a winning funding strategy that brought the investors exceptional returns in a short time. Subsequently, it attracted a steady stream of potential investors within a very short period. And the VCs regretted their decision not to believe in the company.
The journey of Salesforce thus began with a purpose to do enterprise software differently. By taking advantage of the enormous opportunities of the Internet in an industry known as Cloud Computing that was growing leaps and bounds at that time, Salesforce.com was able to deliver enterprise applications cheaply through a website. It started off in 1999 in a small rented apartment with three developers and a few computers. Ten years later the company morphed into a $1 billion company with a few thousand employees. Salesforce not only managed to survive the dot-com crash of 2001 but also grew to become the world’s largest growing software company in less than a decade.
Lessons for startups
The End of Software type of launch party may not be a possible thing for every start-up company due to many restrictions. Friends and family may not believe in and invest in a concept that resides just in the head of an aspiring business person. But the implication is that by leveraging a guerilla tactic and bringing on board well-wishers an entrepreneur with a can-do-attitude can take the company to soaring heights. The idea is not to copy and paste the ideas illustrated here but to borrow ideas and adapt them with some modifications depending on the nature of the business, the local culture and the needs of the end-users. Uniqueness within the norm is of the essence here.
Photo Credit: Daria Nepriakhina