Having a ready response to a customer’s objection can make all the difference. By replying confidently you immediately reassure the prospect that you are not fazed by the objection. Sometimes you just need to say something that does not necessarily address the objection directly (although of course you must do that very soon in the conversation). No, what you are initially doing is simply providing a pacifier, and a link to whatever answer to the objection you may use. So often you just need to say something that serves as an introduction to your answer.
For example, when I was selling books to retailers, I was seeking to establish little book outposts in non-book outlets, in convenience stores, post offices, chemist shops, even butchers shops. I’d no idea where not to approach and sometimes that’s a good thing. We were pioneering a project so it was all an adventure, like when one retailer looked at me disbelievingly after I’d started my presentation.
“I’m a butcher, son! I don’t do books!”
The trainee I had with me was already starting to back out the shop, being a little intimidated by the butcher’s contorted face as he spat out the word “books”.
He was fierce indeed, impatient and just wanting rid of me. But I had my reassuring response well ready, having stumbled across it in a previous encounter in the same job. And, I was stubborn. I was going to leave when I thought the time was right, not when I was told to. So I uttered the magic words.
“That’s exactly why I’m here.” I’d no idea exactly what I was going to say next. But I knew I had to ensure he knew the conversation was not ending but, rather, beginning. I noted that I’d gotten his attention. He appeared deeply fascinated by my response, and I had bought myself some time. We did have some cookery books, so there was a reason of sorts for my presence in his shop. I pulled out of my bag a cookery book we’d just published. I was fumbling nervously and the book I found first was not ideal.
“The Vegetarian Cookbook! Are you trying to be funny?!” I could sense the trainee sweating and mentally sucking his thumb.
Hastily I pulled out the antidote to vegetarianism.
“Ah, Beefs and Stews. That’s better.”
The butcher knew his subject, obviously, and started to look at the book. I mentioned features and benefits, like adding to his product range in a competitive environment etc. He grunted, like I anything I said was annoying him. It was time for silence. The trainee’s heart could almost be heard pumping through his smart new suit jacket.
I got the sale. He actually sold a lot of cookbooks over the year or so. Luckily he paid with actual money rather than smiles and laughs, otherwise we’d have starved. And knowing his problem with vegetarians I never got round to telling him I was vegan. He’d probably thought that was some kind of outer planetary species, like Vulcan.
By Bob Smith who has worked in sales for more than 30 years, works as an experienced recruiter, trainer & motivator and is also a published author of both children’s and adult titles.