Reverse Selling was conceptualized by Elmer Wheeler in the 1930’s and 1940’s. If you have read Baseline Selling then you may remember that Elmer is the guy who coined the phrase, “sell the sizzle, not the steak”.
There are several versions of Reverse Selling but today’s focus will be on what I call the Throw Away.
What is the purpose and how is it Used? The Throw Away is used to eliminate objections early in the sales process so that they can’t come back to bite you at closing time. In its simplest form, one would use the throw away to offer alternative solutions to yours, but only those that you are fairly certain can’t be utilized.
You sell play sets and the prospect, who has a swimming pool, wants a focal point for backyard recreation. You would simply ask, why can’t the pool be the focal point? In a perfect world, the prospect says, “well that can only be a focal point in the summer and we need something to keep the kids busy in the spring and fall too.” The prospect makes the argument for you andcan’t use the pool as an objection later.
You sell internet advertising and the prospect has advertised in newspapers and magazines. You would simply ask, why can’t you just continue to utilize print advertising? In a perfect world, the prospect says, “well that’s not working the way it used to and we need a more effective way to generate leads.” The prospect makes the argument for you and can’t use the print advertising as an objection later.
You sell automation software and the prospect has been doing this process manually. You would simply ask, “why can’t you just keep doing it manually?” In a perfect world, the prospect says, “it takes too long, we make too many mistakes and it costs too much.” The prospect makes the argument for you and can’t use the “do it the way we’ve been doing it” objection later.
What will prevent you from using this tip? Fear. Fear that you won’t get the answer you’re hoping for. So consider this example:
Use it against incumbent vendors by asking, “Why don’t you just continue to use ABC Company?” You’ll either hear why they can’t, eliminating the old “stay with ABC” objection, or you’ll hear that they just might stay with them. That’s OK. Better to hear that early in the selling process rather than later to avoid wasting time. But even if you hear that undesirable response you can ask something along the lines of, “then why did you want to speak with me?”
Under what circumstances do you use it? You would use the throw away whenever you have recurring objections. To prevent those objections you should offer these alternative solutions early in the selling process.
When do you use it? Before you can offer alternative solutions or Throw Aways, you must have already identified at least one compelling reason for doing business with you. So in the Baseline Selling process, it would take place somewhere between 1st and 2nd base, but closer to 2nd than 1st.
Warning Do not use throw aways just because you can. You must be able to meet the criteria specified above and use it in the right base path!