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THE ABOUT-FACE; HANDLING OBJECTIONS GUERRILLA STYLE
By Orvel Ray Wilson   Printer Friendly Version

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 require?"

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 intent.

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 Too High"
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 high."

"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 month."

"'Ten thousand 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:

"Your deliveries 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 in blue?"

"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."

"Great! Let's 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?"

The Exception 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 prospect.


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