I can totally relate to the reality of the markets today…
Since 2008, its been an uphill task for us all in sales and more so for our wonderful marketers, and its sad to see so many good folks lose their dignity, their livelihoods and their reputations in the face of some real tough objections ( brickwalls) coming from their clients, some of whom probably swore to be by your side through thick n thin….but have gone away just and market sentiments tanked!!
So lets look at some very difficult objections that sales reps have been facing recently and what could probably be the best answer to address these client objections
- Common Objection 1: “I can get it cheaper elsewhere.”Response: “In today’s world we can almost always get something cheaper. I’ve found that when smart people invest their money they look for three things: the finest quality, the best service and lowest price. However, I’ve also noticed that no company can consistently offer all three-the finest quality and the best service at the lowest price. Which two of the three is most important to you in the long term?”
- Common Objection 2: “I have a friend in the business.”Response:“There’s an old saying – I don’t know how true it is – that sometimes friendship and business don’t mix. If you bought from a friend you might not say anything if you weren’t happy with the purchase, but with me you can just get on my case until you get what you want.”
- Common Objection 3: “I did business with your company in the past and they were unprofessional.”Response: “I can really appreciate that. I really hate it when that kind of thing happens to me. You know, though, suppose the shoe were on the other foot and it was your company that had acted unprofessionally. You’d probably fire the person responsible. That’s probably what we had to do, and now it’s my job to make certain that you’re treated right.”
If you know of other common objections please do let me know and give me the opportunity to share some insights with you all.
This question hounded me for weeks when I was leading the solution sales team in India.
One of my rising stars had been on to his clients for well over 12 weeks, without a whiff of any indication about their intention-I guess that got to him and he posed this question to me during out team meeting.
I asked for time and came back to him with my assessment. Let me share that with you.
Research conducted by Harvard and other independent institutions have established that clients clearly differentiate between valuable vendors while treating others like plug n play commodities.
B2B relationships basically fall into 5 levels. In this assessment I am taking the explanation from the lowest ( level 1) to the highest ( level 5) and tried to explain the “what” and “why” of the engagement, with appropriate examples
- Approved Vendor: “We are seen by the majority of our customers as a legitimate provider of the products or services we offer, but are not recognized for having any significant competitive edge over other alternative offerings. We therefore often compete on price, via discounting, as a key consideration to helping close a deal.” Example: Gateway is most often viewed as one of a number of vendors from which a company can buy reliable PCs, but rarely seen as unique.
- Preferred Supplier: “Based on our marketplace reputation/past dealings with our customers, we are normally seen as the preferred vendor for them to do business with. While competitors may offer alternative offerings, all things being considered equal we win the deal in the lion’s share of the deals over the competition.” Example: Salesforce.com has such a good reputation that when firms are looking for on-demand applications, the competition must create a significant advantage in the eyes of the customer to get the deal.
- Solutions Consultant: “Based on a specific set of product-related, value-add knowledge or services we bring to the table, our customers view us as not only a vendor, but a consulting resource on how to best use our products or services, as well. Because of this, during brief periods when our offerings may not be as robust or are more expensive than those of the competition, our customers will continue to buy from us because they consider the premium we bring to the table when making their final choice.” Example: MidMark sells a wide variety of products medical facilities use in their practice, AND offers specific advice on new ways that doctors can leverage those products to maximize revenues.
- Strategic Contributor: “Above and beyond the products and services we offer, our customers view us as a source of strategic planning assistance for dealing with broader-based business challenges they are currently dealing with. Based on this, we are regularly brought into business discussions that are above and beyond our products, to help the clients develop or implement key business strategies. This strategic focus often allows us to sole-bid deals, even though competitors may offer similar products.” Example: Hewlett Packard’s “Creatology” group which constantly identifies what other assets, besides the products that HP possesses, that the clients could leverage in their businesses – i.e. processes, relationships, intellectual property, etc.
- Trusted Partner: “At this highest level we are seen as a long-term partner whose contributions; products, insights, processes, etc., are seen as critical to the long-term success of their clients. Based on this, the occurrences of our clients seriously considering a competitive offering are next to nil.” Example: GE aircraft and Boeing, who co-bet their businesses on the mutual success of their long-term, multi-year relationship.