Many small business owners do not have a dedicated sales team and therefore take on the role of sales themselves. Many times these business owners do not have any formal training on sales. One major roadblock in sales is often the objections customers throw your way that stop them from buying your products or services.
The ability to move your services or products can actually make or break your small business. Many startups have closed shop because of the inability to sell. You must have heard that 50% of businesses fail during the first five years.
If you are a sales manager or business owner, you need to check the following tips.
Kenyans are known to hold a PHD degree in bargaining for anything and everything. This can be a nightmare for a salesperson who just wants to guide the client through a product or service’s features and benefits, and hopefully make a sale. You can imagine what goes through a sales person's mind who is pushing a premium product and all he gets is, "that's too expensive."
First avoid discussing the price right away and focus on the unique value of your products/services that the client won't be able to get from any other provider. Talk about the durability, originality, expertise and other features that make your product stand out, hence the price stated.
Stand up for your price and product’s value, and by doing so you’re sending a message to the buyer that the original price quoted is fair. Make sure the buyer fully understands the value and long-term impact of an investment with you.
2. Not interested
Have you ever sent an email or left a message with someone and only heard silence?
How about that proposal you wrote at the request of a prospective client? You sent it on time and followed up with emails and telephone calls, only to receive no response.
First empathize with the person and acknowledge this resistance if you encounter it face to face. Do not get offended and know that ignoring people in business today has become normal. Be persistent but do not stalk. Make sure that you have scheduled calls and follow up, instead of just calling out of the blue.
Do not be single threaded. Try and see if your point of contact can refer you to another person who may be in a better position to make decisions. Perhaps your initial point of contact was wrong hence the silence.
If a prospect hasn’t responded to an email you sent within several business days, call to ask them if they received it. Likewise, if they haven’t responded to a phone call, send them an email. You can use your marketing team to send out an email on something informative that might interest the client.
3. Fear of change
Some prospects are hell-bent on changing their status quo. "I have used this product for 20 years with no complaints," are just some of the responses that sales people encounter. "I'm OK with the way things work right now."
Many customers will not make a change or decision unless it is absolutely necessary.
Show your prospect how the industry has evolved over time. For example, if one is selling digital marketing services to a prospect who has been using traditional advertising for long, it would be wise to advise this prospect that traditional marketing doesn't allow direct interaction with customers, whereas digital marketing offers a higher level of engagement and interaction. Further, let them know that this is what most companies are using nowadays.
You can show some research on how a competitor has embraced your product or service and has grown expediently. You can also offer a free trial period or discounts. It’s time to go research and build your company's credibility report.
4. Engaged elsewhere
Many sales people will encounter a prospect who is already enjoying the services of a competitor. Every salesperson is far too familiar with this objection. While overcoming this objection is tricky and quite difficult, it’s not entirely impossible.
Companies have already built personal relationships with their suppliers and are not willing to break that marriage. And by calling a spade a spade and not a big spoon, in Kenya, quite a number of companies enjoy kickbacks from suppliers and are not willing to let that go.
Look for any cracks in the existing partnership. Your prospects might detest change but planting doubt in their mind might compel them into considering you. Use fear to sell, just the way insurance agents do. Fear is often used as a sales tool, albeit in a subtle way.
Ask questions about whether or not they are satisfied with the competitor, and what they like and don’t like. This is your chance to jump in and empathize with their frustrations, and talk through how your product or service is different.
"Let me discuss this with my team," is one of the many objections that sales people encounter. Most of the time the prospects who say this are simply procrastinating or they may not be the actual decision makers in the first place, and are the wrong people to talk to. Nothing is more frustrating – or time-wasting – than to find out that you have been selling to the wrong person.
To sell effectively, call or talk to the highest level of decision maker in your target prospect’s office that is relevant to your product or service offering. However, do not overdo it by calling the CEO to sell a Ksh. 100 product. Your high level contact may refer you to someone else, lower down in the organization. Just engage with this person and start a sales conversation. If possible, you can ask the CEO if it's OK to keep him in the loop as the conversation progresses.
You can head off this problem by initially asking if anyone else is involved in the decision-making process. An alternative approach is to make your initial contacts high in the company's organization to increase the chances of reaching someone in authority.
Remember, sales objections are just that — objections, and if you flip the coin you will realize that they actually present a unique opportunity to seal that deal.
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