First, I board the aircraft by removing my boarding pass from the slip that is covered with an advertisement for an online hotel discounter. Once I take my seat, I hear an enthusiastic offer encouraging me to rent the five dollar headset to watch the movie. (No thanks. Brought my own). Then, the announcement tells me how much liquor costs if I choose to drink a Scotch or a beer before I eat the breakfast I brought onboard my early morning flight. During the movie previews, they are giving me a testimonial message about their airline from the CEO of a Phoenix-based company encouraging me to give them all my business. Another redundant and canned loyalty message follows from a large online university. Following this is an advertisement for the glossy catalog resting five inches from my knees which wants to sell me impulse items and more things I donít need. The next announcement tells me that if I get hungry, I can shell out seven bucks for a small high-carb para-meal which used to be free until airlines exploited Americaís paradigm shift after 9/11 on whatís not allowed on an airline (no, wait, now itís allowed but now weíre going to charge you). When I get my still-free cup of coffee, the napkin which accompanies it promotes their miles program. Throughout the melee of mindless sitcoms promoting a major television network are even more commercials encouraging me to give even more loyalty to this airline. And to top it all off, when I bring my tray table down, I witness the most in-your-face marketing message Iíve ever seen: a full-color full-tray advertisement trying to sell me a new car. I have four more hours left of captivity on this marketing machine disguised as an airplane. If only my window would open. Iíve got to get out of here.
Yes, it is ridiculous. And itís no wonder your prospects donít invite you over to sell them something. Just like the rest of us, they feel emotionally stalked by people who want to sell them something. And they get sick of it so they start pushing you away, no matter how good your message is. The high pressure tactics of five years ago donít work anymore in a sophisticated buying market. The pedestrian and trite sales tricks seem to resonate like an annoying mosquito in the ear of our prospects. Weíve got to find a better way to reach them otherwise weíll go the way of Braniff and PanAm. Perhaps Iím just cranky because the banana I brought with me is black and bruised and Iím starting to get hungry on my third mini-bag of pretzels. But Iím getting the feeling that the world of sales has changed as well. Weíve got to start noticing how people put up buying resistance and find new ways to get around it or to remove it all together.
I think more than anything it all boils down to trust. The relationships that you and I have with our prospects and clients arenít much different than the ones we have with those in our immediate family. Weíve got to accommodate, build trust, and let them know that by working and communicating together, we can create a mutual satisfaction of needs.
In selling to a senior level prospect, there are three key elements of understanding to developing the type of trust that gets them to move forward:
In your rebuttals, in how you overcome your prospectsí objections, try to incorporate understanding and empathy in your words. Repeat back their issue and summarize the emotions they might be feeling. Once you build that empathy, and once you connect with them so they understand that you understand the concerns that they have, then at that point you might just have a shot at overcoming their objections.
In overcoming an objection, you are making a withdrawal from the relationship bank account. If you donít have enough deposits in that account, then any withdrawal will shut down the account forever. By giving them empathy and understanding, you are putting deposits in the account so that when you overcome their objection, you are increasing the likelihood of them understanding how your product or service can help them solve their problems. And when you build empathy and understanding, then your prospects will never reject message after message from you, just like a frustrated passenger sitting in seat 19F.
Copyright (c) 2008 Scott T. Love
Scott Love improves the performance of recruiters and the margins of search firms and staffing agencies. His training website, www.recruitingmastery.com, has become one of the largest free internet training sites for the industry. To have him show your staff how to produce more than they thought possible, call him at 828-225-7700.