Ah…mastering the art of the sales conversation is something that I get to work on with my clients each and every week
It’s my favorite part of supporting amazing business owners to go from one or two clients to a completely full roster. Sometimes even a waiting list.
Any objection – no matter what it is – is actually a gift. I want you to think of it that way because what it is telling you is that this person is considering working with you. If it wasn’t even an option, then they wouldn’t bother to come up with a question or objection. So, hooray for you! And, another hooray for you because you if you are encountering objections that means that you are having one-on-one sales conversations.
So, when you get the “I can’t afford it” (or any other objection), I want you to do a few things.
First, take a second to breathe and acknowledge the person on the other end of the conversation.
This gives you a minute to process what is being said, to remind yourself that the objection that they are bringing up has nothing to do with you and has everything to do with them, and it lets the other person know that she has been heard. Money is a taboo topic for the majority of people so acknowledging that this person opened up about a difficult to discuss topic is important.
Examples: “Thank you for asking that question”, “thank you for bringing that up”, or “I appreciate you sharing that with me and I understand how it can feel that way”. Nothing fancy here – just simply acknowledge where they are right now and how you understand that it might feel a certain way.
Second, an essential element of any sales conversation includes assisting the client to realize the “pain” of staying where she is and then quantifying her commitment to get unstuck. This should happen early on during the sales conversation (prior to objections or discussions about the investment to work with you.)
Examples include: “What is the cost to you if you stay where you are (financially, emotionally, physically, in terms of quality of life, etc.)?” or “If we were to get on the phone 12 months from now and you were to say that you are in the exact same place as you are right now, what would that feel like? How would you describe that to me?”
After you are given a clear picture of what staying stuck looks like for the client, a powerful question to follow up is something like this: “On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, what is your commitment level to making this change?” When the client responds with an 8, 9, or 10, you are talking to someone that is ready to make a change. She is motivated. If, on the other hand, the persons commitment level is only a 4, 5, or 6, then it is likely that you either (1) didn’t uncover the true “pain” or (2) this person isn’t an ideal client because she isn’t uncomfortable enough to make a change.
Ok, so you take a deep breath and acknowledge the other persons objection.
Next, I recommend following up with another question like, “Is it OK if I explore this topic a little further with you?”
Once the person agrees (and she will), you have an opportunity to help her start to stand tall and to claim their biggest, fullest version of her life. It’s up to you to show her that you see bigger things for her and that you aren’t going to let her play small.
Since you have her permission, you can dig a little deeper. Some possible questions for this point of the conversation include:
“If you did have enough money, what else would you say is keeping you from moving forward?”
“Is it that you don’t have money for this or that you don’t have money for anything right now? You see, when I work with individuals, I often see that they are afraid to play bigger and to step up to their fullest potential. I also realize that when people really see a need for something, they find a way to pay for it. If your plumbing was to spring a leak in your house tomorrow, I imagine that you’d have the money to pay for it, right?
If that’s the case, then I want you to take some time to really think about where your priorities are and if you really want what we’ve discussed today during our time together. You see, working with a coach is a big step. And it takes a lot of commitment from you. If you aren’t really ready for that, I understand…but I think that you are.
If not now, then when will it be possible for you to invest in yourself at this level?”
“As a coach, I must point out the discrepancy that I see here.
I want you to succeed and I believe that you can absolutely accomplish everything that we’ve discussed today.
Earlier in our conversation, you told me that your commitment level to making this change in your life is a 10. Now you are saying that you can’t afford to do it.
Do you see the contradiction here? What do you think is going on?”
When I hear this objection (which is rare since I focus so much on uncovering the “pain” that the client is in right now and focus on their commitment level to making the change), I realize that I have an opportunity in front of me to help this person claim the life that he or she really wants.
A sales conversation is a success even when I don’t get a new client. A sales conversation is a success when the other person walks away with a new way of thinking.
Remember, a sales conversation is just that – – a conversation. It’s not about “winning” or “losing”. It’s about raising that person up to see what she really wants – and to help her understand that her dreams can absolutely come true. AND she has to be willing to get out of her comfort zone.
Please share: How do you see this working for you? And, what other methods help you during a one on one sales conversation to stay calm, focused, and to serve the person on the other end of the line?