B. Excuses (disguised as objections)
What is the difference?
Objections have to do with real questions, problems, misunderstandings, point of views and perceptions of the product or service we are selling, from the prospect. Once you have those objections from the customer, then YOU KNOW that there is a real chance to have a potential client or that there is NOT an opportunity, if the objection that the customer has reflects a reality that your products or solution cannot satisfy.
Let me tell you a real-life example from my own experience.
When I was selling Telephone Cards on the Greek Islands, I heard all kind of different objections. By doing this job every day for years, I got the experience to be able to distinguish the real objections from the false ones.
Once I was on a Minimarket on the island of iOS, a well-located spot where tons of tourists passed by every day. The owner of this business, a smart young entrepreneur, although he understood the benefits of my product, said this: “I understand the USP (Unique Selling Point) of your product, however, I am not going to buy it because, the Mini Market opposite is owned by my brother-in-law, and he sells similar products, and I don’t want to compete him.” This statement of his was as honest as it could be and I think there is no point trying to convince him anymore because his argument is a real argument.
Furthermore, another thing that often happened to me was that the guy I was talking to, didn’t admit his lack of authority on the business. So often when I saw a 21-year-old, behind the cash machine claiming he was the business owner and saying no to the product, I suspected he was lying, so I paid a visit during rush time to meet and talk to the real manager.
On the other hand, False Objections (Excuses) are said for several reasons and have nothing to do with your product or service but hide other reasons behind. Those reasons might be, politeness, lack of trust, financial reasons, authority reasons, and even timing reasons.
Maybe the prospect likes your product or service but does not have the money to buy it and is ashamed to tell you so.
Maybe the prospect is not the decision maker.
Maybe the prospect did a research and found the same or a similar product that is cheaper and does not tell you that for reasons of politeness.
Maybe the prospect is prejudiced of your ethnic background or because he had a bad experience from people of the same background as you in the past.
Maybe although he likes your product or solution, his social environment doesn’t.
Maybe it’s not the right timing for the prospect.
What can you do?
Let’s take the above examples and try to find a solution that is going to clear the situation, address the matter and try to close the sale.
If you think that the prospect does not have the money to buy the product that you are selling, ask him if now is the right time to purchase it or if maybe in the future when it’s going to be more mature. In that way, you keep the door open and do not push for an answer the prospect does not want to give you anyway.
Always find out if the prospect is the decision maker. If you are selling B2B, ask directly, “Are you the decision maker?” Now if you are selling B2C, often the decision maker might not be the person that you are talking to. When I was selling time-sharing, we always invited couples and made them the presentation of our service. The salespeople that achieved having a good rapport with the couple and not individually with the husband or the wife were the ones that made the sale. The mistake that many colleagues made was that they gave all their effort to the husband by thinking he was the decision-maker and ignored the wife. So when the decision time came, and he said yes, guess what the wife said…
Do you think that is the case? Then address it directly because maybe the prospect is assuming by comparing oranges to apples. Or even better prevent the prospect from coming to this assumption by explaining in advance that your product or service is different from that of your competitors based on specific reasons that you know.
Prejudiced is a human reality, and although it’s obviously wrong, it has a logic. Coming from the most corrupt country of the European Union, I know exactly how it feels for your integrity to be questioned because of the faults of others. You can do 2 things. First be yourself as you are and be as honest as you can be, not only with your prospects but with yourself as well. Do not tolerate for whatever reason (politeness, fear… ) your integrity being questioned. If you do so, then you give ground to their accusations. Secondly, address the matter directly for example: “Sir, I understand that you had a bad experience with XXXXX in the past, but I am insisting because I know I can offer value to you. It’s your call to use this opportunity and take this decision now. “
If his Social Environment does not like the product while he does, find reasons to explain to him why he should buy it anyways. Address the matter directly, explain to him why it is not going to have the effect on him that he thinks it’s going to have, explain to him why it is going to increase his prestige or how he can hide the product if it is not the case, you know… that’s why you are a salesperson.
This is a very common reason why people say no. See if the situation is the right situation, that it’s easy, however for many people is not as self to understand as we think.
For example, if you are cold calling and he is at the airport to catch the plane, do not start your pitch, ask him when you can call him back. If you are visiting him at his business place and you see he is having a complex conversation with someone else, return later… Simple things like these need to be taken into consideration. (I was trying to find the source but unfortunately, I couldn’t. There was a research that was conducted by an Israeli Institute some years ago that showed the probability of sales to happen before lunch and after lunch and the difference was amazing. Potential customers with an empty stomach were far more possible to decline to buy the product or service than customers that already had lunch. So… if you are on a lunch invite or double martini invite kind of business, be social before lunch and pitch your prospect afterward.)