One of the reasons
for the public's negative view of salespeople is that they do all the
talking. You can't miss the "Tell ya' what I'm gonna' do!" stereotype.
This all-too-typical loud-mouth is a blight on the profession. The guerrilla
lets prospects do the talking, and uses the About-Face to keep the interview
moving toward the order.
This guerrilla strategy
involves asking increasingly specific questions in response to a prospect's
queries and concerns. For example: The prospect says, I need high quality.
Can you supply a top quality product? "
Your guerrilla response
is, "When you say 'high quality,' exactly what specifications do you
The About-Face is
180 degrees from the typical sales response. What does an About-Face
do for modern guerrillas?
Your questions shift
the focus away from you and recognizes your prospect. Your About-Face
questions help your prospect to clearly define and, perhaps, answer
their own objections. Your questions help you gather additional information
to support your presentation, and helps you to probe for your prospect's
cognitive needs and priorities.
Ask Three Times
We all know that new prospects rarely give a straight answer up-front.
Guerrillas know it will probably take three questions along the same
line of inquiry to get to the prospect's real intent. Their first two
answers generally are intellectual, factual, logical answers. The third
is often a more emotional response which reflects the prospect's true
The reason is simple.
The prospect reasons that since you took the time, had the patience,
and showed enough interest to ask repeatedly, you sincerely want to
know. Maybe the prospect can trust the honesty of your questioning.
By asking this
kind of "Bob, would you be perfectly frank with me on this? . . ."
question you'll find out a lot more than if you launch into an explanation
about your quality control. When you think that you know what your prospect
needs, watch out. Ask a few more questions and be sure.
"The Price Is
Notice that this common objection is a statement, not a question.
This is true with most objections. The prospect is trying to tell you
something rather than ask you something. That's why guerrillas never
answer objections. They don't require answers. However, the prospect
does expect a response.
The guerrilla responds
by asking, "When you say 'too high,' what do you propose?" or, "When
you say 'too high,' relative to what?" or, "Then you must have some
idea what you were planning to spend; exactly what price range did you
have in mind?"
There is no way
for you to know what the prospect means by saying "The price is too
high." Also notice that this is not necessarily an invitation to compromise.
There's a big difference between a statement and an objection. The statement
"the price is too high" could mean any number of things, and may be
the prospect's way dealing with an issue unrelated to you or your product.
Using an About-Face gives validity to the prospect's statement and lets
you hear what was meant. Take the key words, the subject's noun or verb,
and reflect them back in a question.
"Your price is too
"Too high. .
.? " (pause, expectant look)
"We're going to
have to talk about lowering your prices if you want my business."
"Okay, and when
you say 'your business,' what exactly do you have in mind?"
"I want to throw
all of our catalog business to you."
"By catalog business,'
how much are we talking about?"
"About $10,000 a
a month', So we are talking about a whole different price list then?"
"Yes, and another
thing. . ."
Now the guerrilla
has gotten to the real issue: volume pricing. A less courageous salesperson
would have tried to answer the objection by pitching quality or service
or competitiveness. It requires boldness to ricochet the objection back
to the prospect for clarification.
Here are some more
examples of About-Faces with prospects:
are too slow." "What does 'to slow,' mean for your firm's needs?"
"I'm really unhappy
about this situation."
"When you say
'unhappy,' what does that imply?"
"Does this come
"Why is blue
of interest to you?"
"How wide is it?"
"Why do you ask
about the width?"
"I'm concerned about
it fitting in our storage area."
measure the space very carefully."
"We really like
your firm, and we are giving you top consideration for this new contract.
When can we see your proposal? " What is this prospect trying to say
by top consideration?" Who knows? The guerrilla does an About-Face:
"First of all,
thank you. Let me ask a question. When you say 'top consideration,'
what do you intend?"
to The About-Face
If a prospect asks the identical question twice, answer it quickly with
facts, figures, and logic! You're dealing with a pure Authority Phase