marketing

Handling Sales Objections: "I Need Time to Think It Over"

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It was just 238 years ago that a few rabble-rousers decided to get out of the British Empire. With the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their fortunes and their lives to declare their fight for freedom. But you may not know that only 2 men out of the eventual 56 signers actually sealed their commitment and signed the legendary document on July 4, 1776: John Hancock and Charles Thomson.

The remaining signatures were applied a few weeks later on August 2, 1776, after copies had been distributed to all members of the Continental Congress.

They needed time to review the document. To consider their position. To decide to go all in and rebel against their parent nation.

They needed time, in other words, to "think it over.”

Remember this the next time someone gives you the age-old objection that they “need time to think it over.” Even the founders of our country were not willing to be sold in a moment’s notice. When presented with the Declaration of Independence, they were not asked to sign immediately.

They were invited to an event in a few weeks, where everyone else would be signing. If they decided to sign with everyone else, they were welcome to participate. If they didn’t sign - well, everyone else would be watching.

This was a masterful use of selling skills. John Hancock allowed the members of the Continental Congress “time to think it over.” He gave them the exact amount of time they had to consider it, with an appointment to make their decision.

In front of everyone else.

How can you apply this lesson to your own sales process?

When your presentation is over, if your prospective customer won't meet your eyes, and mumbles something about 'time to think it over,' all you need to do is establish the boundaries of the thinking time.

1. Set an appointment for the decision.

"You should consider all the facts before you make a decision. I'll come back this time next week. That should be enough time for you to think it over, right?"

2. Discover any unresolved questions.

"While you are thinking this over, what are the questions that you need to research before our appointment?"

3. Invite a current client to the meeting.

"When I come back, I'd like to bring one of my current clients with me, so that you can ask them any questions that you develop over the next week about what it's like working with me."

Saying "I need time to think it over" is often interpreted by salespeople as "no." The Founding Fathers didn't take it that way, and neither should you.

Little But NOT Nothing

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What do football helmets and hypodermic needles have in common?

Little but NOT nothing.

Steroid juicing? Painkiller addiction? Hmm... fascinating!

The image with this article of a football helmet spilling over with hypodermic needles is from a current issue of ESPN Magazine. The photo triggers both a wince and a double take, halting readers and provoking them to read the first sentence of the article.

Little but NOT nothing.

What a beautiful phrase for marketers to keep in mind.

When two images with the smallest hint of a connection are juxtaposed, readers are compelled to seek understanding. The brain begins firing questions and drilling for the relationship link. "Helmets? Needles? Should I understand this? The data seems vaguely familiar but does not compute. Need... more... info." And so the reader begins to read. Success!

Little but NOT nothing.

How can you employ this concept in your own small business or personal marketing efforts? First, isolate a single benefit message. It's a natural temptation to cram all the irresistible advantages of your product or service into your marketing pieces. If you can't decide on your top benefit, ask ten customers. Then, you'll know.

Perhaps you sell a new industrial-grade sump pump for home owners that can remove water 4 times faster than a standard residential unit. What images can you combine that aren't too closely related? Bad examples might include a water-filled room with floating furniture or a frowning home owner standing waist deep in a flooded room. To avoid cliches like these, throw out images or ideas that have been fused so often that their connection has become obvious.

Instead, think two powerful objects with a faint relationship that will evoke emotion. For the brain to be intrigued, it must be forced to make a cognitive leap.

Picture this. A door frame where a family has marked their child's growth is under water up to the line that reads, "Katie at 5 years." The brain goes wild! "Growth charts? Waist-high water? What about the marks for her first four years?" The lead in to the ad might read, "Preserving your memories in a flood depends on how fast you remove the water. Irreversible damage can begin in less than 12 hours. Can you keep up with your pump? With ours can, you can."

Little but NOT nothing may mean EVERYTHING when it comes to getting responses and results from your next marketing campaign. Try it and tell me how it turns out.

The Value of a Little Adventure

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In third grade I had a choice – walk home from school alone or ride the bus for an hour (my house was the last stop). I chose the shorter path even though I despised “The March of Boredom" more than brushing my teeth or washing the dishes. So... I did what any imaginative eight year old would do. Each day as I headed home, I pretended I had a fatal stomach wound inflicted on me by a gunman atop the school. The goal was to survive until I made it to the hospital (my house). Clinging to life, I staggered up Lynn Dell Road. I reached the Powell’s yard and could go no further. Clutching my abdomen and wailing in agony, I crumpled into the soft green grass to die.

The first time I “pulled this little stunt," Mrs. Powell burst from her house slippered, bathrobed, and screaming hysterically. From then on, I was only permitted to “die" in my own yard. It worked out pretty well, because my mom fit perfectly into the fantasy as an angel sent to resurrect me with a Little Debbie snack cake.

Though I no longer “die" in my neighbors’ yards anymore, I still combat the vanilla moments of life by adding the chocolate syrup of adventure. I find it doesn’t take much to transform monotonous exercises into more enjoyable experiences.

Guess who else prefers life topped with a little extra excitement? Your customers!

Add touches of adventure to your customers’ experiences to strengthen your relationships, create memorable moments, and build a personal brand that’s “to die for."

End result: Customer loyalty and referrals that are very, very real.

Here are 5 tips to add a little adventure to customer experiences:

1. Book a training excursion with a top customer.

It could be a half-day event in your locality or a full-blown mini-vacation to an event neither of you will forget. Jeffrey’s Boot Camp in Vegas anyone? Pay for their ticket and they’ll pay you with undying gratitude.

2. Mail a treat to a customer only they would appreciate.

Recently, a customer of mine named Bob reminded me how well this works. While cleaning out his house he found a vintage sticker featuring Superman, my favorite comic hero. He mailed it to me with a nice note. I’ve only showed it to about 5,000 people.

3. Host your own networking event somewhere unusual with just a few business friends.

Another customer of mine recently used Ace of Sales to send out a chocolate tasting invitation to a select group of customers. They met at a local premier chocolate shop to get away from the unsweetened tedium of the week and enjoyed casual conversation over dessert.

4. Add a little personality to your proposals.

Make the buying process a little less ordinary, especially when you’re the long shot. I once tacked on this phrase at the end of a proposal, “The next document you sign for me will be your testimonial." I got the sale AND the testimonial.

5. Boost the excitement of your presentations with the power of show-and-tell.

Before you launch into your next PowerPoint, start off by using a physical object as a story illustration. Have you ever seen Jeffrey’s fake barf used to represent how your brochure sounds to customers? It rallies the room every time!

7 Ideas to Heat Up Summertime Selling

Salespeople know summer has arrived when they hear their first customer's "vacation" voice mail. It sounds something like this: "Today is the first day of June. I'm currently swinging in a hammock at the beach and will return some time in August. Please leave a message, though I probably won't return your call until October because I'll be replying to over 10,000 emails. Talk to you in the fall. Beep!" With customers in and out, summer can be a frustrating time for sales, but it doesn't have to be. If your sales slump during the sunnier months, you may profit best to switch to a new selling mode. With a Yes! attitude, hard work, and some smarts, you can make it your most productive time of the year!

Summer marketing sales campaign

Here are seven ideas to heat up sales during your summer: 1. Clean up your list. Summer is a great occasion, with selling a bit slower for many sales professionals, to update your contact list thoroughly. It will make your personal  marketing and communication efforts more effective the rest of the year. It's no fun, but rewards big! Quick tip: match your customers' contact info in their most recent email signatures to their info in your contact manager.

2. Send a pre-vacation gift. Set calendar reminders a week and a half before your top customers leave on their vacations. When alerted, send each customer a greeting card with a Target gift card inside (Ace of Sales makes this easy). Wish them loads of fun and a great time with their family. When they return to a jam-packed inbox, guess who will get a response first?

3. Work LinkedIn. Add your top customers to your network. (Most will gladly connect with you!) Then write each of them a short recommendation - which is like gold to anyone on LinkedIn. Be careful not to sound like a kiss-up! Recommend them to others with specific compliments regarding their strengths. You'll be surprised how many customers will message you back with gratitude regardless of whether they're at the office or on a cruise.

4. Get your blog and ezine started. If your summers are slow, start writing at your local coffee shop. Crank out the content for your first blog article or ezine. The new surroundings, slower schedule, and caffeine could be just the thing needed to kick-start these two vital projects.

5. Send a vacation shout out. On your vacation, record a short video for your best customers. Use your exotic surroundings as a backdrop. Just say hi! Tell them where you are, that you hope everything is going well for them, and that you look forward to chatting when you return. Send it before you return and you'll blow them away!

6. Record a summer video series. Start your own YouTube channel! Then, use your Flip video to record a series of videos (3-5) featuring yourself! Shoot the videos at casual settings - your back deck, a restaurant, a cafe, a park. Topics could include featured products, customer interviews, and "did you know's." Feel free to add a few personal notes. Send a video every week or every other week using an Ace of Sales Email Greeting with a link to each video.

7. Make the most of holidays. For many countries and cultures, summer holidays are few and far between. In North America, July 4th, Canada Day, and Cinco de Mayo are about it! Whatever summer holidays your customers celebrate, don't miss the opportunity to reach out to them (and stand out from lazy competitors) with an Email Greeting or Greeting Card designed with a colorful image, your personal branding elements, and a friendly message. Your greeting will display that you're the kind of relationship-focused professional who has their act together when others are usually tuned out!