Humbug. Salespeople hate holidays. It’s an excuse for decision makers to put buying decisions on hold. But the worst of them are the Christmas to New Year, “Call me back after the holidays,” and “Call me after the first of the year.” Two of the most hated phrases in sales. (They still rank behind “We’ve decided to buy from someone else.”)
Call me after the holidays is not an objection. It’s worse. It’s a stall. Stalls are twice as bad as objections. When you get a stall, you have to somehow dance around it, and then you still must find the real objection before you can proceed.
Here are 11.5 clever lines and winning tactics to use that will help overcome the stall:
1. Close on the stall line. “What day after the first of the year would you want to take (would be most convenient to take) delivery?”
2. Firm it up, whenever it is. Ask, “When after the first of the year? Can I buy you the first breakfast of the new year?” Make a firm appointment.
3. If it’s just a callback, make the prospect put it in his daytimer. Call backs must be appointed, or the other guy is never there when you call. Writing it in a daytimer makes it a firm commitment.
4. Tell them about your resolutions. “I’ve made a New Year’s resolution that I’m not going to let prospects like you — who need our service, delay until after the first of the year. You know you need it.”
5. Offer incentives and alternatives. Invent reasons not to delay. Bill after the holiday. Order now, deliver after the holiday.
6. Question them into a corner — and close them when they get there. “What will be different after the holidays? Will anything change over the holidays that will cause you not to buy?” (Prospect’s answer — “Oh no, no, no.”) “Great!” you say, “Let’s get you order in production (service scheduled) now, and we’ll deliver it after the holiday. When were you thinking of taking delivery (beginning).”
7. Agree. Then disagree. I know what you mean…lots of people feel that way. Most don’t realize that the money wasted between now and the first of the year, will equate to a 20% savings if they buy now. Are you sure you want to waste the money?
8. Get a testimonial letter. Ask someone who bought before the holidays and was glad they did to write you a two paragraph letter. Get one paragraph about the value they received and how they originally wanted to wait. The second paragraph should be about how happy they are about your service after the sale. Similar situations are more powerful than your sales pitch.
9. Drop-in with holiday cheer. Use a small holiday plant or gift to get in the door. (No one says no to Santa — unless you live in Philadelphia. There they boo Santa.)
10. Create urgency. The price will rise after the first. or — There’s a product or delivery back-up after the first — schedule now.
11. Be funny. Say, “So many people have said call me after the first that I’m booked until April. I do however, have a few openings before the first. How about it?” Making the other person laugh (smile) will go a long way towards getting past the stall. An alternative joke is “What holiday?”
11.5 Beg. Pleeeeaaase, I’ll be your best friend.
Reality check. The success with which this stall is able to handled is directly related to the quality of the relationship that’s been built with your prospect or customer. A good relationship allows more liberty to press for immediate action. A weak relationship will mean you wait until after the holiday. Or longer.
Prevention — the best cure. If you know this objection is coming, do something BEFORE it happens. Prevention of objections and stalls is the most obvious, most powerful, and least used sales technique.
Here are a few prevention methods.
- Start in early November to create urgency.
- Set price raises in September to take effect January 1. Announce them right away and communicate them weekly into the holiday season.
- Create a holiday special. Have a five day sale in December.
- Offer December price incentives or special added value incentives.
- Throw a holiday party. Invite prospects and customers, and offer them a “Tonight only deal.”
- Hold a series of seminars that are about important issues to your prospects and customers. Have the best one just before the holidays. Serve great food.
- Create an internal sales contest with a great first second and third prizes.
- Build relationships all year long.
The bottom line is — as sure as you’ll spend lots of money this holiday season, someone will ask you to call them after it’s over. When they do, don’t get mad, get creative. Don’t get frustrated, get a relationship.
Happy holidays. If you need more information on this subject, call me — after the first of the year. Ho, ho, ho.
Free GitBit…Want to know the Seven Steps to Overcoming an Objection? I’ll be happy to share the answers with you. Go to www.gitomer.com and click free stuff, then click GitBit. Register (if you’re a first time user) and enter the secret word “OBJECTION” in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based BuyGitomer, Inc., he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org