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The Sales Shrink – Timing is Everything

by Tina Cherpes, Featured Contributor

Behavior Therapy – #19

REGARDLESS OF HOW they’re labeled, the universal sales process is made up of a four-phase cycle:

1. Prospecting: Identifying and engaging our target market (our ideal client/buyer).
2. Needs Assessment: Asking our client/buyer great questions to understand their needs, wants, desires, and/or fears.
3. Position: Properly aligning our product/service with the client/buyer’s needs.
4. Transition: Moving the client/buyer to action (the close).

And, in any/all of the phases of the sales cycle, we’re likely to encounter client/buyer objections that will require us to determine both the timing and the content of our response. This week, we’ll examine issues surrounding timing.

sales shrinkAs it relates to timing, we have four choices- respond to the objection before it’s raised; respond when it’s raised; respond at some point in the future; or never respond. More often than not, our timing choice will be guided by our skill level.

Before it’s raised.
When we’re aware of an issue in our industry or company, it may be appropriate to respond before the objection is raised by our prospect. As we gain more competence, the line becomes more clear as to what is and is not appropriate to handle this way. When we’re new or training new reps, it may be useful to limit this strategy only to information that has been made public and that nearly every client/buyer would already be aware of.

When it’s raised.
When we’re capable of responding to objections when they’re raised without losing our focus/concentration, we’re able to demonstrate to our client/buyer that we’re prepared. For less seasoned professionals however, responding to objections as they’re raised can create distractions quite capable of derailing us.

A point in the Future.
When we’re new or training new reps, this approach allows us to narrow our focus and stay on-task. If we deploy this strategy, we must first ask our client/buyer for permission to address the objection later. While we can indicate the high probability we’ll cover the objection during the course of our presentation, we must be deliberate about capturing (write it down if need be) the objection to ensure we’re able to honor the commitment we made to our client/buyer to address the objection later.

Never respond.
While its use is rare, this strategy is reserved for those occasions when (regardless of our skill level) we encounter a difficult client/buyer who shares a comment seemingly intended to provoke us or to deliberately draw us in to a confrontation. We must avoid taking the bait, two hours later we’ll be celebrating our self-control.


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