strategy & tactics
Learn why, when and how to set ground rules when selling. WORDS BY KEVIN HALLINAN
Salespeople often ask me to help them avoid the dreaded “think it over,” knowing it’s bad for business. They also tell me they don’t want to be pushy since they don’t appreciate being pushed by salespeople. However, they still need to be skilled at handling objection. So, what’s my advice?
Learn to Set Ground Rules Ground rules are set before baseball games at almost every level. Team managers and umpires agree before the game, usually based upon a particular ballpark, what’s considered fair and foul, which balls are ruled out of play and more. For instance, what happens when a ball in play hits a TV camera or a particular section of fence? Is it a home run or a ground-rule double? Can ground rules apply to selling? Absolutely! Consider this fairly typical scenario: You’re in your showroom and a prospective customer walks in. Let’s call him Joe. Joe says he just bought a new truck and wants a killer sound system. He tells you he wants to get it soon and he’s heard from friends that you’re good. He says he’s not worried about the money, but he
does want to talk prices. You show Joe around, and using your experience, you recommend the best equipment for the job. You’re professional and enthusiastic in your approach and Joe responds positively. You demo the equipment and he loves it. You believe you’ve hit it off with him, and you’re proud of the advice you’ve just provided. You talk about price and ask Joe if he wants to schedule the installation. Here it comes. He tells you everything sounds great and he’s excited. The installation date will work. The money is a little high, but doable. He just needs to talk to one more shop, and double-check his budget. Of course, you go into objection-handling mode. You might ask Joe which shop he’s going to visit, or you might see what else might be holding him back. You
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try to get him to commit, but he slowly makes his way toward the door, thanking you for your time. And naturally, he promises to come back. You got Joe’s cell and email, so after a week you call him. He doesn’t pick up. You leave a voicemail, send an email, but he doesn’t respond. Your heart hopes for the best, but your brain tells you it’s probably over. In fact, studies prove that 96 percent of the time you’re right: Joe’s not coming back! Why did this happen? You know what you’re doing; you asked the right questions and chose the right components.