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1. They can’t afford his service and are embarrassed to admit it.


2. They aren’t the decision maker with authority to purchase advertising – even though they may have a good title.


3. They don’t have the money now, but expect to have it soon and want to keep him around until they can afford to buy his service. “If customers keep stalling without telling me the real reason, I call their bluff in a caring but direct way,” says Ellison. “I say, ‘We’ve been talking for the past two weeks, but there always seems to be a reason you can’t buy. What’s getting in the way?’ “If they lack authority to make a final decision, I ask if there is someone else I should approach. If they can’t afford it, I ask when they expect to have the money – and offer to set up a payment plan.


“I tell customers who aren’t honest with me, ‘I can help you get the advertising you need if I understand what problems are standing in the way. But you need to help me by being honest.’”


Dora Landrieu is sales manager for a solid-waste disposal company serving commercial and industrial clients in a different local market. “Some customers don’t want to be bothered by salespeople,” says Landrieu. “Our reps say, ‘I may be able to save you money or labor hours. We can give you a free consultation based on what you’re doing now. We may or may not be able to save you money, but isn’t it worth a few minutes to find out?’ We give honest recommendations. If we can’t save them money, we say so.” Landrieu’s reps try to clarify


problems without embarrassing potential clients. They may ask, “Are you able to sign an agreement, or do you need to take this to a supervisor or someone else for their signature? Does the comptroller or chief financial officer need to look at this first in relation to the budget?” Here’s a good tip: Don’t accept a lie at face value. One of Landrieu’s new


SELLING POWER DECEMBER 2018 | 9 © 2018 SELLING POWER. CALL 1-800-752-7355 FOR REPRINT PERMISSION.


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People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining. – STEPHEN HAWKING


reps made a cold call at an industrial business and asked the cost of their current service. The prospect gave a very low rate. The rep replied, “That figure is totally unbelievable. Are you absolutely sure?” When the prospect said yes, the rep said, “Well, then, I can’t do anything better,” and walked away. “The rep gave up too soon,” Landrieu says. A prospect may have been with a competitor for a long time. It’s difficult to break old habits. They may not even notice if their vendor raises prices each time the contract automatically renews – or remember exactly what services they are receiving for their money. Make sure you and the client are discussing the same level of service. What seems like an unbelievably low price may be correct for a lower level of service – or fewer or inferior products compared to those you offer. Is the customer more concerned


with good service or with cost? If cost is most important, can you offer a budget option? Could your product or service reduce their labor costs? If service is primary, determine if they are getting the most efficient service. Can you improve on it? Talk to prospects in a friendly, non-


confrontational manner and try to find something to loosen tension. Say something that makes you memorable to a prospect. Another rep who was quoted an unbelievably low price asked what that price covered. He then reduced the tension by sharing a favorite joke. Before long, they were discussing better ways to handle the business’ needs, and the white lie was forgotten. The rep was able to save the prospect money and provide more efficient service than its current vendor. When you understand the reason a


prospect is lying, you can help find a solution to the problem. 


VIDEO: WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A JOB INTERVIEW?


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