"I'm sorry, " my prospect whispered hoarsely, “but I guess I'm in a cynical mood. "
He didn't need to tell me.
As he strode down the surrealistically dark corridor to greet me, I could detect something was askew.
His gait, the slightly off-center ambling of a once proud but now humbled individual, spoke volumes about how beaten up he had become over the years. Backing up a few days to when I had requested our meeting over the phone, he sounded as if he was teetering on the edge of an abyss.
Why did I bother to visit someone this close to the curb instead of zipping along in the fast lane?
He had attended one of my seminars, and he has always been upbeat and accessible to me when I pitched him my training products.
He told me he is reeling from the encroachment of the Internet, as so many printing and mailing companies are these days.
"My industry has been shrinking about six percent a year, " he informed me. “And my company will probably lose two percent this year, " he added with a hint of gratitude that he isn't sinking as fast as some of his peers.
We spoke about some of his successes, too, and when we hit a positive note I asked him if he'd be interested if I could help his salespeople to set more appointments and better ones.
"Good close!" he remarked with a smile. “Yes, of course, I would; I mean how can you say no to that question?"
I took his remark as an endorsement of my selling techniques, so when he asked me how much my program would cost, I probed about the number of folks to be trained and I gave him the rule of thumb regarding the cost per participant.
"Oh I can't do that!" he exclaimed, suddenly.
When someone says your price point is too high, you can respond in several positive ways:
(1) Ask what they're looking to invest, what would be comfortable for them;
(2) Make the amount you recited more affordable, by offering creative financing or extended payments;
(3) Resell the VALUE of the proposition, emphasizing your goods and services are worth the price; and
(4) You can guarantee satisfaction, saying clients won't lose a dime if they aren't completely happy.
Within the course of a few minutes, I did ALL of these things, and pretty darned well.
At least I thought I did.
A storm of disapproval darkened his face. Mysteriously, I had transgressed.
Contritely, I asked how I offended him. He told me if he closed his prospects the way I closed him he'd get deals but end up with customers who wouldn't be satisfied with his printing products and they'd give him no end of grief.
Bizarre reaction, if you ask me.
Remember he said he was cynical, guess what about? He doubts that any kind of training could get his reps to do the blocking and tackling of selling. They wouldn't make enough phone calls, and do the essentials.
It's easy to see why, based on how he responded to me. Without management in place that respects, monitors, measures, and rewards the appropriate selling practices, they simply won't get done.
Selling is more of a discipline than a skill. You must force yourself to close, because what comes naturally is doing the opposite: talking about everything BUT making a commitment. Most businesspeople are so preoccupied with being nice and gentle that they place avoidance of disapproval above generating approval of deals.
With or without the encroachment of the Internet, or the Recession, or whatever today's bogeyman is, if this is your posture you're going to be hobbled, too, shrinking away from opportunities that are waiting to be MADE.
I don't apologize for being aggressive. Actually, that's very positive feedback.
Aggressiveness is EXACTLY what his salespeople are lacking, and so is their boss.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is a top trainer, conference and convention speaker, sales, customer service, and negotiation consultant A frequent expert commentator on radio and TV, he is also the best-selling author of 12 books, more than 1,000 articles and several popular audio and video programs. To hear a brief sample from his popular audio program, go here: http://www.nightingale.com/auth_about.aspx?author=gary_goodman&promo=intgooga175&gclid=ckhn08wlq5icfrqyagodrrsg4g
Gary can be reached at: email@example.com .