In almost every sales call, objections are likely to come up. And what that objection is, is a negative story that’s playing out in your buyer’s head. And you can’t beat a negative story with a fact. You can only beat it with a better story. Typically that’s a story about another prospect you had who raised the same objections. But then when they bought from you, either the problem they were worried about never came up at all, or, when it did, you resolved it immediately.
Here’s an example of what that looks like from Ben Koberna, the CEO of Electronic Auction Services. That’s a company that finds a bunch of suppliers to compete in a reverse auction to win the business of some customer. And that, of course, usually results in a much lower price for the customer.
Well, Ben explains that his prospects always have the same objection, which they usually phrase as a question, ’Will my supplier get mad if I hire you?’” It makes sense. Nobody relishes the thought of hiring him because of the adverse reaction they know it will bring out of their suppliers.
So, to resolve that objection, Ben tells his prospects a story about one of his previous clients. He tells them, “One of my earliest clients was a midsize city government in Florida. They’d been paying $250,000 a year for a contractor to remove sludge from a wastewater treatment plant. So, they hired us to do a reverse auction to see if they could save some money. Well, we found several sludge removal companies to compete for the contract and invited them all to a meeting so we could explain the process. The incumbent, accompanied by his lawyer, showed up in a tirade. He started yelling and screaming and at one point kicked over a chair. He said the whole process was illegal and said my team was going to be arrested.
Well, we eventually got him settled down and started the bidding. His first bid, of course, was $250,000. But, when more aggressive bids started coming in, he lowered his to $240,000, then $200,000, then $150,000. The next bid we saw from him was for $0. Obviously, that was a mistake. Somebody must have clicked the wrong button. So we paused the auction and called him on the phone. We explained his mistake and offered to delete that bid and then resume the auction.
He said, “I didn’t make a mistake. I’ve been selling that sludge to local farmers for the last twenty years to use as fertilizer. I’ll just come to pick it up for free.” And that’s exactly what he’s been doing ever since.
Then, after he finishes the story, Ben explains to his prospect, “You and I both know that vendors are going to get mad. But they’ll yell and scream at me, not you. Part of my job is to shield you from all that. You just have to save money.”
And that story always resolves the objection. In fact, it works so well, sometimes he even tells that story before the objection is even raised, just to make it never even come up.
So, if there are objections you find yourself getting frequently, find stories to resolve them. Find examples of customers who had the same objection, but it turned out to not be a problem after all. Or, if it did, you fixed it immediately. That’s a better story that will replace the bad story.
So, one of the most common objections that comes up in any sales call is over price. So, in the next lesson, I’ll cover a story to help negotiate the price.