What do you do when a prospect says no?
Reach for the Kleenex? Dig out an old bottle of vino from the back of the cupboard? Gorge on hobnobs?
I get it. No one enjoys the soul-crushing disappointment that comes along with a lost client.
Especially when you’ve spent days, weeks or even months nudging your dream client closer and closer to the sale. It can feel like they’ve torn your heart right out and hurled it, laughing into the middle of the road…only for it to be smooshed under the wheels of an HGV.
But after downing a soothing glass of Chardonnay, it’s time to re-group and reframe every NO as an opportunity to improve your next sales pitch. Because every no gives you the tools to…
- Understand the main objections holding your prospects back
- Handle future objections and deal with them before they have chance to scupper your next sale
- Tell stories that plant a little seed of hope in the mind of your clients
Anticipating and handling objections is a crucial part of the sales copy process. And storytelling is one of the best ways to deal with those objections in a compassionate way, that doesn’t feel judgey or like you’re beating your prospect over the head with a rusty spade.
Here are the four steps you need to take to act like a mind-reader and use your stories to overcome your clients’ objections, without sounding like a judgey douche-bag:
1) Ask the right questions
When you’re on a sales call (or exchanging emails) with a prospect that looks like it’s veering towards a no, don’t be afraid to ask those awkward questions about what they don’t like.
The key is not to get all shrieky and defensive, but to see this as a chance to get some intel that will help you improve your pitch next time. You want to understand what it is that your prospect is objecting to when it comes to your offer.
- The price or the payment structure
- A lack of time
- The product itself
- Fear of failure
Asking the right questions will help you understand what it is that’s turned your prospect off, without you jumping to the usual conclusion that it’s just because they hate you.
2) Read between the lines
Often, the answer your prospect gives you, is just a surface reason why they’re reluctant to move ahead with your offer. You might feel a bit like you’re probing your client like an alien research project, but try to dig deeper to get to the bottom of the problem.
Rarely will their first answer tell you the deep, and dirty fear that’s holding your client back. But that fear is the juice we want to get to, to help you sell better next time.
Try to really listen to what’s going on underneath, until you hit the emotion that’s driving their behaviour.
3) Keep an objection log
OK, so you might not love spreadsheets as much as I do…hell, nobody does. But when it comes to quantifying the main objections you hear time and again, you need to keep a record of why people say no.
Otherwise, you’re just guessing what came up the most, based on your own, imperfect memory of conversations you had weeks or months ago.
Sure, you’ll have the gist of what was said…but if you’re anything like me, I can’t even remember how many cups of coffee I’ve guzzled in a 12-hour period. So there’s NO WAY I can accurately remember how many people objected to my offer, and the reasons they gave me.
Write those bad boys down. Then, organise the objections into quantifiable categories and tackle the 3 or 4 that come up most often.
4) Tell your stories
You’ve probably seen those promo emails which handle objections a bit like this…
“So you think you don’t have the time and money to complete my programme? Well, if you have that attitude you’ll stay stuck in a rut of mediocrity for the rest of your miserable existence.”
Bam! If you’re not a fan of being slapped about, then this kind of messaging probably just has you reaching for the cookie jar. And your prospects are no different.
There’s a kinder way to get your ideal clients over the beliefs that are holding them back. And that’s with your stories. Now that you’re clear on the main objections to tackle, it’s time to dig into your memory bank and think of all the times you found yourself at a similar crossroad.
How did you handle the beliefs that had you stuck at that point? What did you do that allowed you to overcome those beliefs and take positive steps to improve your life?
By telling a story, you’re planting a seed in the mind of your client, that lets them see what life could be like if they got out of their own way. That idea will marinate, until one morning they might just wake up with a new belief that lets them take the next step with you.
When you hear the word NO, it can feel like a painful blow to the belly. Sure, you might have needed the money but with a simple mindset shift, you can find huge value in every no…so that next time you’ll nail the sale.
Take the time to really understand your clients’ objections, and start to uncover your own stories and experiences that will help them overcome the fears that are holding them back.
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(I mean, your stories are right there in your head – so it totally makes sense to use them, right?)
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