When you are in the sales process and the sale suddenly halts because the client has an objection, there are two ways to view it: as an obstacle or as an opportunity. Objections are a natural part of the sales process — you should expect and be prepared to handle them. However, occasionally some of the objections are a bit outlandish. We’ve all had our share of doozies. I reached out to some of my sales expert friends to find out the most memorable objections they have ever heard and how they handled them.
In each of these instances, these women looked at the client’s objection as a launching point for a further conversation. And in the end, they made the sale.
Barbara Giamanco: Isn’t Bill Gates rich enough?
I met with this client a few times in the months leading up to an annual license renewal.
A new vice president at the bank was involved in the renegotiation.
During our negotiation, this executive told me, “We think you can give us a better price because Bill Gates is already rich enough.”
I smiled, and responded with the following:
“That is true, Bill is rich,” I said. “I’m curious, do you discount or give away all your bank services for free? After all, your executives are pretty well off too.”
The vice president chuckled, and the conversation continued. The bank agreed to the pricing I initially proposed.
Shawn Karol Sandy: Why would I choose you over a brand-name service?
I met with a growing technology firm that reached out after someone in their Vistage group recommended me. I could tell the CEO really wanted to grill me and was skeptical.
“So, why would I choose you over Sandler Training to enhance our sales strategy?” he asked me. “They’ve been around longer, are a recognized name, and I know several colleagues and competitors that have used them.”
I smiled, leaned in, and responded.
“First of all, do you actually HAVE a sales strategy?” I asked.
He looked shocked for a second, then chuckled and relaxed.
“Your point?” he asked.
Then, I followed up.
“Do you think that your non-existent strategy would be well served by preaching the same techniques your competitors are using?” I asked.
He’s been a client for more than a year now, and we still laugh about that moment when he realized he had to pivot his thinking.
Elinor Stutz: “Not over my dead body!”
During my second year in sales, I was a newly hired rep, and my job was to hunt for business. I always enjoyed the challenge and saw it as a treasure hunt.
But I had an experience my second week that almost killed the joy of the hunt.
I made a visit to a woman who I thought was a new client. Before I could even begin to have a conversation, she told me “Not over my dead body! Leave now and don’t ever come back.”
Stunned, I stopped in my tracks.
I quickly learned that this “new” client was actually a former client of my new employer. I immediately asked myself three questions:
- Is my employer so awful that I need to interview for another job, again?
- What were the wrongs done to this poor woman to make her so furious?
- Is there any salvation from this entire mess?
I didn’t leave. Instead, I smiled and said, “You apparently experienced a horrific scenario before I came on board. I was just hired last week and need to know what happened. Are you willing to discuss it?”
She was stunned. No one before me ever cared whether she was satisfied or not. She was willing to set a date for me to return and learn more.
At that meeting, my strategy was to sit, listen, and let the woman relieve herself of all the steam bottled up inside of her.
The strategy worked. Near the end of her story, she stopped being angry. She became more relaxed and even smiled.
I thanked her for revealing everything and assured her I did not work the same way as my predecessor. She believed me.
I then went on to ask if we could meet again so I could learn what she needed and make a case for her to reconsider working with us. We set a date.
On our third meeting, the woman appeared somewhat doubtful. I asked her to explain her list of needs. She provided a very long list of “must-haves.” Then, to my shock, she said she had already spoken to a competitor and decided to go with them.
Curious, I asked who that might be. Upon hearing the name, I smiled. I told her the competitor did not offer the services she outlined at the beginning of the meeting.
Going for the buy-in, I asked her whether working with another company was more important or if the specific technology was of more importance. She sighed, having to say the technology.
The sale moved forward!