Eliminating the Rats from your Selling Situations

Eliminating the Rats from your Selling Situations

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

“I like your stuff, but I want to shop around first.” Rats.

They look around, get all your info, ask a few questions. You’re SURE they’re interested, but they won’t buy. In short, they’re going to visit the person you hate the most – your biggest competitor. Big rats.

And they give you, “The Three Word Big Lie,” I’ll be back. HA HA! I’d like to have a penny for every time that phrase was uttered by a prospect. When you let them leave without making a sale, do they come back?

When the prospect says, I’ll be back or I’ll call you, what do you say? What do you do about it? Wave goodbye? Hope they’ll come back? Figure out when they’ll go, and mark your calendar to follow up a few days later?

Here’s the top five ways most salespeople respond:

1. “Fine, it was nice talking to you. I’ll call you in a few days.”

2. Ask when you can call back.

3. Tell them you think “that’s a good idea,” to their face (and scream “oh rats” under your breath).

4. Ask them why they’re going to do that (and get a pack of lies as answers).

5. Let them leave, and pray they’ll return.

Better be saying your prayers that it starts snowing in hell because the odds are about the same that they will return and purchase unless… you try “the five question” method:

First create a list of five questions that you wish you could ask your competition. Questions designed to draw out the heart of their weakness or the inappropriateness of their product compared to yours. You know questions that would make the competition squirm.

(Examples of the type of question would be about performance, long term cost, maintenance requirements, references of satisfied users, and if you want to play by New Jersey rules, ask them about a specific disaster you know they’d rather not discuss. Examples of a question lead-in would be, What do you do when… What happens if… What’s the long term implication of… How do you explain the fact that… Tell me about the situation with…)

Then say to the prospect, “Mr. Johnson, the reason you’re shopping around is because you want to buy the best, and get the best value correct?”

(Get a response of yes before continuing) “If after you shop, you determine we’re the best, you’ll be back, correct?” “Oh yes!” they’ll exclaim.

“Great,” you say. “Mr Johnson, we’ve found that when our prospects go shopping, they’re not always equipped with the best questions to ask in order to make the most informed decision. So, we’ve prepared a list of five questions that I’d like you to ask at the places you visit.”

“As I give you this list,” you say, “I want you to promise me two things:

1. That you will ask these questions and write down the answers.

2. That you will return and discuss these answers with me and let me help you find the best solution even if you decide it’s not us. Is that fair enough?” (BONUS: If you go over the five questions with your prospect in detail, it may make him see the futility of the shopping expedition, and buy from you.)

Make a firm appointment for the prospect to return and discuss the answers and give him his anti-competition sales questionnaire as he leaves.

(Tell the prospect to beware of “dancing.” It occurs when the competition’s salespeople do not answer the question directly. When the salesperson dances around an answer, it usually means he’s hiding a weakness. Coach your prospect that they may have to ask the same question twice in order to get a “real” answer. Rumor is that salespeople are so good at dancing that Fred Astaire used to take lessons from them.)

NOTE OF REALITY: The prospect may be lying when they say they’ll be back, and be leaving for another reason.
Here are the BIG SIX real reasons:

1. They don’t like you.

2. They don’t trust you.

3. There’s something wrong with your product or company.

4. They don’t like how they were treated.

5. They are not comfortable about something.

6. They think they can get a better deal someplace else.

When the prospect says he’s going to keep looking around, the bottom line is you haven’t convinced him yet and it’s most likely someone else will. The good news is: the prospect has decided to buy. The bad news is: he may not have decided to buy from you. Biggest rats.

If you put the “five question” piece in their hands to use as they shop, it’s ten times more likely that they’ll return AND you’ve given them a tool to make your competition squirm. Kind of a nice feeling when you think about it.

If you give your prospect the “five question” piece, and they don’t return as promised, you are in one of the “BIG SIX.” Ultimate rats.


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