Unless you are in a business that is totally insulated from the economic meltdown, you’ve probably begun to hear objections that you aren’t accustomed to hearing; things like spending freezes, hiring freezes, projects put on hold, requests for price reductions, etc.
There are two forces at play as well as some conditions that you can’t do anything about.
If you are selling to companies that have been directly impacted by recent events, they are experiencing conditions which are very real to them. If your products and services help them to generate revenue, improve profit or eliminate costs, those conditions shouldn’t get in the way. However, you’ll still hear objections and unless you have the right mindset, you’ll view those objections as obstacles rather than challenges. As long as you can help them, the objections don’t apply. Confront early and often if you believe you can help!
If you are selling to companies that have not been directly impacted by recent events, they are exploiting conditions to gain advantages with suppliers, vendors and perhaps even you! They may be saying the same things as the companies that were directly affected, except they may not be real. By telling you there is a spending freeze, by putting projects on hold, or requesting price reductions, they are simply attempting to take advantage of current market conditions. The same advice applies here too. Confront early and often.
So what exactly does confront early and often mean? It means that as nicely as you possibly can, you should say, “I’m confused. You said his problem is costing $48,000 a year. Why would you not free up $12,000 if it returns $36,000 right to your bottom line – cash that you said you don’t have?” Confronting could also mean saying, “From experience, a spending freeze usually means that middle managers can’t purchase anything new – but you can. You told me this is a problem and it needs to be fixed because it’s costing you a lot of money. Wouldn’t it help to recover the money that this problem is costing you?” Or, “Spending freezes apply to new purchases and we are only talking about providing you with something you already buy – but without the issues you’re currently experiencing. I don’t understand how this applies to me…”
The key to surviving and even prospering in this economy is to not understand, buy into or take the objections. Don’t panic, don’t become defensive and don’t resort to price incentives. Simply remain calm, understand what they’re doing to you and confront. If you do that consistently, you’ll be the only one really selling and helping while your competitors wait to follow up late in 2009.
If you don’t understand how your product or service solves a problem, you can’t wait any longer to figure it out. Reread or order Baseline Selling and make sure you completely understand that chapters on Getting to 1st Base and Getting to 2nd Base.