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The Sales Japan Series - 195: The Cold Calling On Zoom Salesperson - Part Five

195: The Cold Calling On Zoom Salesperson - Part Five

The Sales Japan Series

We have moved along the continuum of the sales process, from making the cold call, getting the appointment, building trust, asking insightful questions to presenting our solution. This is when the wheels can fall off and the sale gets lost. Up until this point of the presentation we have been in control. We have imagined we understand what the client wants, have amassed the materials to explain what we can do and how it will work, but we may have been delusional.

One of the disappointing parts of being in sales is dealing with clients. If we didn’t have to deal with people everything would go so much smoother. We wouldn’t make any sales either so that isn't going to work. Some clients are a bit crafty. They sit there answering our questions – remember we asked their permission for us to ask questions – and yet they have been fooling us. They have been telling us about the tip of the iceberg of their problems, but hiding the real issues under the waterline. Why would they do that?

Trust is the answer. There isn’t sufficient trust yet for them to share with us all their dirty laundry, all the fail points inside their company, all the horrendous problems they are facing. Remember, we just walked in off the street or came down the line to their Zoom screen and they don’t know us from Adam. Why would they be inclined to share the gruesome details of their disaster, their living nightmare, with a complete stranger? Now we don't know that. We have imagined we have built up enough trust for them to tell us what they need.

When we get to the solution explanation point, they start to reveal their true colours. They start to point out all the shortcomings of this solution. The failing salespeople start to argue, begin to defend, to justify and to explain why the client is wrong. I hope this isn't you! If it is, salvation is at hand, so listen up. When we get this type of pushback, we must realise we haven't identified their true problem and our solution is perfectly designed to fix a non problem or a minor problem. There is no point trying to ram that inadequate solution down the client’s throat, through force of will.

We need to stop defending the solution provided and sweetly ask, “Thank you for your feedback. I feel that I have misunderstood what would help you the most. What would be something that would be the highest priority for you and your company?” And then we sit there and say absolutely nothing, until they speak. If time has to freeze over, then so be it. Do not elaborate or qualify or add – just sit there patiently. While this is going on, the client is having an internal struggle with themselves, to decide whether they want to share the real problems with you. Let them struggle and just wait.

If they won’t tell you, then thank them for their time and move on. There is no point wasting time on time wasters. Call someone else you can help and who is prepared to share their issues with you. If they do tell you the real issue, then you repeat the questioning formula again and really try to understand if you can help them or not. Thank them, make an appointment for the next meeting to present the solution and your proposal and away you go again.

If they play straight with you and just say something simple like “your price is too high”, then we use the objection handling process. Your brain at this point has to have the word “CUSHION” blinking on and off like a warning beacon. You need to train your brain to do this, so that you don’t jump in and start to argue, begin to defend, to justify and to explain why the client is wrong. Instead you say something to give you thinking time, like, “Well it is very important to consider the financial position of the company”. This is a neutral statement that will buy you four seconds of thinking time and you immediately recall, “that’s right, don’t argue, begin to defend, to justify and to explain why the client is wrong”. Instead you angelically ask, “May I ask you why you say that?”. Again you shut up and do not speak until they answer you.

Now you just listen to their reasoning. “Your price is too high” is like a five word headline in a newspaper. A few centimetres down there will be the accompanying article, which will go to great lengths to explain what that headline was referring to. So we need the article too, the reason why they say that, before we know how to answer it. They have to justify their position and in the process they will give us a better insight into the issue. Have they misunderstood us, is there some value perception we have not sufficiently met, is there a budget timing problem, etc?

So we either satisfy their price point or we walk away or we come up with another arrangement, that provides a volume purchase balance against a price discount, a quid pro quo, that works for both of us. Walking away is often the best option because you have spent a lot of effort positioning yourself in t...

07/21/20 • 13 min

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