Do you feel rejected when people don’t want what you are offering? Actually, when people do not want what you offer, they usually say “no” and you experience rejection.
The sales process would be a lot more enjoyable and profitable if you never had to hear the word “no.” It is possible to avoid sales rejection and hearing the word “no,” if you follow these rules:
- Never approach anyone that has not previously expressed interest, and
- Ask them enough questions so that before you make a recommendation, you understand their concerns completely and know that they want what you offer. If you address their concerns completely, you should only hear “yes.”
By the way, they may simply not WANT what you sell so move on. If you think sales is about convincing people to buy what you sell, someone has given you very bad training. Sales is about determining what people want, seeing if there is a fit with your products and services and if so, closing the sale. There is no "convincing" or "persuading" in real sales.
Let’s take a look at both issues.
Finding the Interested People
Only talk to people who have interest in what you offer and sales rejection just about disappears. You get people to first express interest by communicating an offer and talking only to those who respond such as:
- Responding to an ad,
- Responding to a seminar invitation,
- Responding to a direct mail offer, or
- Buying a list where people have responded to other offers that match your offer (find such lists at www.srds.com).
Since they have made the first move, your follow-up is a response to their interest. Notice that none of the above methods of contacting prospects involves cold calling. Cold calling is a very inefficient way to find good prospects and it involves lots of rejection. I never cold call and neither should you. If you want to use cold calling for prospecting, hire a telemarketer.
Now you’re thinking “but running an ad or mail campaign costs money and cold calling does not.” This is true. But you’re running a business. Do you know any successful businessperson that does not invest in their business? I don’t. So either leave the business and get a job (working for someone else who investments in their business) or realize that in order to be a successful business owner, you will need to invest in yourself. If you want to spend no money, waste time cold calling, spend most of your day tolerating sales rejection--I suggest you see a therapist fast.
I truly apologize if no one told you that. When you first started in this business, the company recruiting you wasn’t concerned if you had to face constant sales rejection nor did they mind that you wasted your time cold calling. They only paid you a commission when you made a sale, so your inefficiency didn’t cost them anything. If you were the stooge, sorry about that.
Let me give you an example of how investing in your success eliminates sales rejection. I wanted to sell more annuities. So I developed a compelling ad that gets annuity owners to call me for a free booklet. I send the booklet and make the follow-up call a few days later. When I call, after introducing myself I ask them, “what motivated you to call for the booklet?”
They usually launch into something about their curiosity, interest, or problem. If they said something like “I’m not interested.” I would then ask, “Why then did you call me and ask for the booklet?” No matter what direction the conversation takes, there cannot be any sales rejection. They can only say they don’t want to talk about it; they want to read the booklet or something similar. All of those things are their issue because they called from the ad and “solicited” me. I didn’t contact them unsolicited.
Is there a fit?
Let’s deal with the next issue. The prospect and I agree to a meeting. The objective of our first meeting is to determine whether or not there is a fit between their needs and my products and services. My objective is NOT to sell them something. Making a sale becomes my objective only after I determine there is a fit between their needs and my expertise and products. The first meeting is for me to determine if I should reject them. If you skip this and believe that your objective in meeting with people is to sell them something, you will get a lot of rejection.
During the conversation to qualify them, I need to ask very powerful questions designed to assist the prospect to see their desires for themselves. It goes something like this: (S=salesperson, C=potential client)
S: Do you feel you pay too much taxes?
C: Yes, they’re terrible.
S: What have you done about that?
C: Well nothing. I keep hoping my accountant will figure out something.
S: But your taxes have remained high anyway?
C: Yes, they’ve gone up.
S: How has your accountant helped you with this?
C: He hasn’t.
S: What solutions do you think there are?
C: That’s why I’m here, to learn about solutions.
S: What solutions have you heard about?
C: I know there are tax free bonds and annuities but don’t know much about them.
S: You’d like to learn more about these to see which might be best?
C: Absolutely. Can you explain them to me?
S: I’d be happy to. But let me ask you something. Why is reducing your taxes so important? What will you do with the extra money you keep?
C: I’d take another trip.
S: You enjoy travel?
C: I love it. I have waited my entire working career to retire and travel to the places I want.
S: How does that make you feel when you can go more places?
C: Like a success. Like working my entire life has been worthwhile.
S: So If I can show you a solution that will allow you to pay less tax and travel more, we will have accomplished something important for you today?
S: I see from your tax return, you paid $30,000 in taxes last year. By how much do you think it’s reasonable to reduce that?
C: I guess by $10,000—that would give me more cash for travel.
S: I see from your statements that you have $200,000 in the bank. If you needed to move that money to an investment that would give you that $10,000 tax savings to be used for travel, would their be any problem with that?
C: No, not at all. That money is just sitting there as I don’t know what else to do with it.
Notice that in this conversation I have made no statements. I have only asked questions. If you want to know what your prospect wants, then ask questions. They will tell you. Then, when you do get to the recommendation, they will say “yes” because your recommendation will be 100% consistent with what they told you they wanted.
This is so ridiculously simple yet so many people in financial sales people guess at what the prospect desires. There is no need to guess, just ask. There is no need to go into the second meeting thinking “I hope they go for this set of recommendations…” Rather, you will go into the meeting knowing that they will say yes; there will be no rejection. It’s like someone telling you that if you could get them the model 5556 car in black with tan interior, they would take it. You then meet them again in a few days and say “here’s model 5556 in black with the tan interior. Is this what you wanted?”
If they do respond in some inconsistent way then get rid of this prospect rapidly as you cannot serve anyone who changes their desires within a short period. Most people will, of course, say they want the car.
This simple 2-step formula will keep you from being rejected and make the sales process a lot more enjoyable.