Have you ever been confronted with an objection or a concern that you could not resolve effectively no matter what you tried? I am not suggesting that your ideas shouldn’t have been able to resolve the concerns effectively. I am thinking of those times when, no matter what you tried, your contact just couldn’t be moved.
One of the reasons that you can struggle to overcome your contact’s objection or resolve their concerns is that it isn’t really theirs.
The Power to Say Only No
Some contacts that you encounter in working through your dream client’s organization don’t have the authority to bind the company to a deal. This is why so many sales-thinkers insist that you start at the top of the organization and have someone with real authority push you to down to an appropriate level (an idea with which I don’t always agree).
There are some contacts that have the absolute authority to reject your deal while possessing no authority whatsoever to accept it. Rejecting your proposal and your solutions requires no permission from someone with more authority, but accepting your proposal would require that permission.
These contacts can appear to have the authority. They can also be very receptive to you and your ideas, and they can have real, tangible dissatisfaction. They can even really want to work with you and would benefit from doing so. Yet, they reject your proposal and give you some reason or rationale as to why.
They say, “Now is not the right time,” or “The pricing isn’t good enough for us to change.” No matter how you respond, they are immovable. That’s because it isn’t their objection.
Where the Real Objection Resides
The real objection likely belongs to someone else. It belongs to someone who holds the real power and that you failed to bring into the sales process.
It’s important to remember that the most important part of the sales process often takes place when you aren’t selling. It’s the buying process that goes on when you have left your dream client’s location and when your contacts there start to discuss and debate your offering and your competitor’s offerings.
Your contact, as receptive and dissatisfied as they might be, can run into objections from the people with the real authority to make a deal. Your contact may not be the best person to sell them your solution.
The real objection comes from someone with authority and power—someone that you failed to bring into the process. The reason that you can’t overcome your contact’s objection is that it isn’t theirs in the first place.
The best way to avoid falling into traps like these is to ensure that you understand how buying decisions are going to be made. This means that you have to know who you need—and who your contact needs—in order to reach an agreement. You need to bring these people into the sales conversations early. Very early.
One of the real deal killers is trying to acquire these people late in the process. First, after they have already rejected the sales pitch that your contacts have given them a number of times, they can feel duty bound to consistently stick to their position. Second, when you do get to them, you are often greeted with so much skepticism that you are forced to start on your back foot. You are too far behind to easily catch up.
Whether you are able to start at the top or not, you need to discover who is necessary to a buying decision, to discover what their needs are, and to involve them in the process. Otherwise, you will not be able to overcome the objection with the person from whom you heard it, as it isn’t really theirs in the first place.
What are the signs that the person you are working with doesn’t have the authority to say yes?
How do you ensure that you know who is on the buying committee and has the real authority to make a deal?
How do you ensure access to the people that have the real power and authority?
What are the risks of selling without having found or gained access to the person with authority?
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Filed under: Sales 3.0