Business Operations

Olsen on Sales: We Shall Overcome

Most sellers do not (even try to) overcome objections. Most people confuse “agreeability” with “likeability.” They think that if they agree with the customer on everything, the customer will like them best. This is not true. No one marries the yes-man/woman. It’s boring. Customers, on the other hand, will “date” salespeople (take their number, let them work for free), but not marry (buy from) them, because sellers let them.

Overcoming objections feels like arguing to most people, but Master Sellers seamlessly make it part of their relationship with ALL their customers. They understand we are in a yin/yang relationship and we must bring the yang! When we are comfortable in our role, customers will be too.

I Have to Check My Inventory 

This is not true. They do not need to “check” their inventory. If we are calling them on an item that is integral to their business, they KNOW exactly how much inventory they have of that item! Every stick of lumber in their yard has a barcode on it. Ninety-five percent of our customers have real-time inventory right in front of them when we talk to them. We must know this in our souls. Options:

Us: “OK, great. I’ll wait while you do that.”
Us: “John, are you sitting at your desk? You are, great. Can you just pull it up right now?”

Us: “The last time we spoke you said you had enough to last a week. That was a week ago. How have sales been? We (get in the “we” mode) probably are about due for another load, right?” (Note: WE should know where our customer’s inventory levels are on the items we sell them. How do we find out? We ask them—all the time. Simple, but most sellers don’t.)

The Market Is Coming Off
Our customers must pay their bills whether the market is going up or down. To do this they must sell their inventory. Unless they are going out of business, eventually they will have to buy again. Options:
Us: “How long can you wait before you have to buy?”
Us: “How low do you think it will go?”
Customer: “I have no idea. Probably going to zero.”
Us: “How long can you wait before you have to buy?”
Customer: “I’ll just buy out of distribution.”
Us: “What are they charging you for 2×4 16’s out of distribution?” (We should know the answer to this question before we ask. How? By asking all customers all the time what they are paying out of distribution. If we are a distribution seller, we should know where our competition is on price. Sometimes it makes sense for them to buy locally.)
Us: “When this bottoms out, how many trucks are we going to need?”

Drill down and be specific on every item we sell them. With this information we “babysit” the market and our customer’s inventory, so when the market does turn we sell them instead of getting the “I just bought that one” response.

I’m Waiting on a Couple More Numbers

Us: “Susan, I’d love to let you shop this a little more, but this is the last one we have at this price. Every salesperson here knows it is a great deal and are offering it to their customers right now. It won’t be here when you call back.”

Email That Over to Me
We are on the phone with our customer. Now is the time to sell, not service. Why make the communication more complicated by adding a step? They wouldn’t be asking us to send it if they weren’t interested, right? (Or are they are just giving us something to do to get us off the phone? Hmm…). Nothing is more efficient in business than two humans on the phone. Ask for the order.
Us: “John, why don’t you give me the order on this one, and I’ll email you my confirmation?”
The highest paid salesperson in your office gets the same objections the lowest paid one does. If we present products and let the customer decide, we will get orders from time to time, but we will sell four times as much if we overcome objections. Master Sellers overcome objections on every call and sell more for it.
JAMES OLSEN

James Olsen is the founder of Reality Sales Training, Portland, Or. After 20 years in sales with Nike, North Pacific Lumber, and Forest City Trading, in 2001 James started his own sales training business, devoted to helping companies and individuals achieve rapid sales growth. Contact him at (503) 544-3572 or james@realitysalestraining.com.

Join the discussion

Please Login to comment