One of the strangest conundrums in the business world (particularly here in Britain) is that we’re always so focused on being polite to people that we lie to them, in fear that the truth will be offensive. This, in part, explains the blunt nature of most successful salespeople, who seemingly love to cut to the chase. Unfortunately, not everyone is as blunt as your average salesperson, and so for the foreseeable future, we’re going to have a business world filled with really nice liars- an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.
The good intentions of business people these days are all well and good, but how do we sell around the lies? How can we get sales out of a sentence designed specifically to stop us in our tracks? Good news: there are ways to woo the ‘Pinocchio prospect’ and make them genuinely interested in what you’ve got to say. Here are 3 of the most common lies prospects tell and some of the best ways to get the sale when they’re told.
Lie #1: “I can get this cheaper from your competitor.”
When Michael Corleone in the Godfather: Part 2 famously said “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”, he wasn’t talking about sales. What he was talking about, though, was relationships, and that’s exactly what the sales profession is built upon.
The best way to nip this lie in the bud is to know your competitors as well as you know your own company.
Knowing whether the prospect can get something cheaper or not, however, is only half the battle, and although this lie itself is told by the prospect to try and shave a little more off your price, the solution isn’t a monetary one at all. If you tell the prospect that you know they’re lying or that they’re wrong, then they probably won’t like you anyway, and you’ll lose the opportunity for good.
If you know your competitors well enough though, you’ll know not only their prices, but also their products. You can therefore tell the prospect why your product is far more valuable than what the competitors are offering, which should seal you the deal. After all, the bitter taste of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price has gone.
Lie #2: “He/she can’t come to the phone at the moment.”
If you tell a gatekeeper that you know they’re lying, 10 times out of 10, they’ll take a disliking to you and you’ll get nowhere. Phrase #2 is used as a lie far more often that it is to tell the truth. Just like lie #1, the best way to win is with solid preparation, and not by calling the respondents’ bluff.
If you’re not sure how to use social media like a pro, I’ve written a few articles on social media for salespeople. You’ll find links to them at the bottom of this post. In those articles, I’ve mentioned a few times that you’ll probably never sell much directly through a social media site. What social platforms are incredibly useful for, however, is building great relationships way before you try to sell to someone. All you have to do then is ask your contact for the best number to contact them on and you’ll be able to give the gatekeeper these magic words: “they’re expecting my call.”
This is the exact reason that I don’t believe in cold calling, and don’t think that anyone should cold call anymore. Social media has flipped the sales game on its head in the sense that we used to have to work our way into somebody’s work life, and then get to know the issues and challenges they face. It’s now possible to discover someone’s pain points before trying to sell to them, which in turn makes selling a lot easier. With that in mind, you’d be absolutely crazy not to use social networks – LinkedIn in particular – to contact and get to know your prospects before trying to get into their wallets.
Lie #3: “I can’t afford it.”
This phrase usually means 1 of 3 things:
1. I don’t think it’s worth the money
2. I have the money, but it’s already allocated to another part of my budget
3. I’m trying to haggle – what can you do on price?
In all of these instances, there’s one solution: sell the benefits. Translating each feature of a product or service into potential benefits will enable you to increase the chances of selling it. A tablet doesn’t have 64GB of storage- it has the ability to store thousands of songs, photos and videos. A car doesn’t have good green credentials- it can save you X amount per month in road taxes and insurance, which will pay for X% of your fuel costs per year.
Again, I go back to my love of LinkedIn to suggest how to do this effectively. If you can learn a prospect’s issues, you know exactly whether or not you can solve their problems. If you can’t, you’re wasting your time with them anyway. But if you can, you can package your products in such a way that they’ll seem priceless to your soon-to-be client.
It’s simple: the more you talk about benefits, the more you will benefit.
On the other hand, it may well be true that the client doesn’t have the cold, hard cash to buy what you’re offering. If you sell the benefits well enough though, they should feel the need to find the money, and as the old saying goes: where there’s a will, there’s a way. Affordable finance solutions are a dime a dozen these days, and could ensure that the problem of a dry stream of cash never comes about for either you or the prospect.
The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed the ‘Part 1’ in the title of this article. I’ll be writing a part 2 in a few weeks time.