- Would someone use Teamgate CRM?
- If yes, are they willing to pay the prices we charge?
- If no, why not and what do we need to change?
Start with sales objectionsWith all startups that I train, before I even let them pick up a phone, I need them to be an expert at every reason why someone would say “no”. This just makes sense! Make a list of all the possible reasons why someone might not be interested. These will probably be the main ones:
- Currently using a competitor
- Not Tech Savvy – want to stick to manual processes
- Branch (part of a bigger multi-site company) / Not a decision maker
- Didn’t see the value
- Unsuitable customer
Currently using a competitorIf they are already using a competitor then I know they could be interested in Teamgate. I just need to make them aware of why this competitor is good and why the product I am selling is even better. Sympathise with the customer here as if they were to stop and move over to your product, would there be lots to set up, a lot of staff disruption or time wasted?
(1) Deal with a competitor objection with a Flatter then Frustrate techniqueThis is a technique that I have developed and I use it in the following context: Customer: Sounds great but we currently use (insert competitor) and we are happy with them. (a poor salesperson would say ‘no problem, thanks for your time’ and hang up, but you’re going to be better than that!) You: No problem (Flatter). I’m a big fan of (insert competitor) also. I was on their site today and their (insert something to flatter the company, e.g.their website is amazing). (Frustrate) However, (insert something you know that is not great about the company, e.g. ‘their wait times of customer support of around 45 mins really frustrates me’). From this point, you have now done the following:
- Sympathised with the customer to acknowledge that their choice of competitor is not a bad idea and you can see why they choose them (Flatter). You are now on a level with them instead of trying to sell them something.
- Pointed out something about the competitor that you know the customers don’t like and would give them reason to leave (Frustrate).
(2) Deal with a competitor objection with honesty then motivateMost business owners that you speak to are motivated by money and time. They have very little time and want more money. Therefore, make your response straight to the point and improve one of these aspects of their working day: Customer: Sounds great but we currently use (insert competitor) and we are happy with them. You: No problem. I appreciate you are busy and so I will get straight to the point. If we can offer you a better rate/commission/etc. than (insert competitor) would you be interested in a trial with us? From this response you have done the following:
- You have made it clear to the customer that you do not mess about and you get straight to the point.
- You have made it clear that they can make money if they work with you.
Not Tech SavvyAs a startup, your software is going to dramatically save your customers’ time, particularly if you are targeting a market that is still very old-fashioned and relies on outdated processes. I remember working with a startup that were helping huge corporations manage their container shipments. The value of each deal to this startup was around £2000 and the value of the products that their software was going to help manage was often more than £250,000. When trying to sign the customer up, one of the reasons why they were not interested was because they liked to use their own systems to keep things simple. When I asked what systems do they use they mentioned that they still have a typewriter…sometimes you just have to accept defeat! However, trying to convince people who to use your product that are not tech savy can be very difficult. If you can try to overcome other objections, it would make most sense:
- non tech savvy take the most time to onboard
- they are unlikely to socially share and introduce other businesses
- they will have the most problems with using the software at a stage where your software is still at a basic level and your help desk, onboarding is weak or non-existent
Deal with non tech savvy objections with an honesty question, comparison then motivate techniqueCustomer: It sounds like a great idea but I like to use my current processes (e.g. excel spreadsheet, writing notes in notebooks, etc. ). You: I completely understand. I hope you don’t mind me asking but can you remember a time before emails where you used to send letters all the time (honesty question)? It was a huge change but it allowed people to get a message to someone in 10 seconds instead of 3 days (comparison). Can you imagine if we could help you change your processes from how you’re doing them now to (insert key feature of your product). What you have achieved here is made someone realise that change is not always a bad thing, that in context, they are already technical as they are using emails instead of letters. You also show how you can help them specifically with a certain feature (if you want to read more about how to sell with context read ‘thinking fast and slow’.
Branch/ Not decision MakerEvery startup dreams of making that big sale, where you just have to sign up one company that has 100s of branches that all want to implement your software. Dream big and sometimes these deals happen. However, try to live and think small whilst you are learning and setting everything up. Often trying to sign up a branch with multiple offices can be a waste of time at the stage you are at:
- Their due diligence is going to be far more intensive as a commitment to use your software takes a lot more time and resources to implement
- The sales cycle will be much longer
- There will be multiple decision makers that will both have to be sold the product and then approve it
- If they do set up with you, it will put too much strain and demands on your startup. Moreover, you will not be in the position to either deliver or cope with keeping them happy
- They are not the decision maker and so you waste time getting past onto lots of different people
Deal with a branch objection with a validating question, justify question and relationship buildCustomer: Sounds interesting but I’m only responsible for this branch and we have to approve everything to head office. You: No problem and fair enough.’I hope you don’t mind me asking but is there a lot of competition between your branches (validating question)? The reason I ask is that other companies we work with have had a trial with one branch, loved it, and then it was much easier to propose the idea to head office ( Justify question). I would love to explain in more detail how we work. I am sure we could help you become the top selling branch in the business (relationship build).
Didn’t see the valuePeople are often too polite and so they won’t directly say they don’t see the value. However, they will give a mix of responses to show that they don’t see the reason to try your product. Be aware of these people as they can be real time wasters. They are the type that may sound interested but it is actually because they are not comfortable with saying no. As always, there is a solution to this:
Deal with a customer not seeing the value by justifying the “no”, re-educate and offer a solutionCustomer: I appreciate you calling but it’s just not something I would be interested in trying out. You: No problem. As a new company, it means a lot to get feedback from customers. What is the main reason for (insert company name) not being suitable for you (justifying the no)? Customer: I rely heavily on (X software) and without that integration, we would not be interested. You: I am sorry about that. We do actually integrate with (X software), I mustn’t have explained that properly. It only takes 2 mins to integrate then you could be up and running (re-educate). If you are free now I could quickly show you how that works (offer solution). Although the context of a customer’s response can always be different, what you have learned here is that:
- sometimes a customer says no purely because they don’t understand what your product does
- by asking why, the customer will justify their reasons. If it’s a valid reason then respect that. However, if the reason is something your product solves, then offer a solution
- Once you have clarified that you can actually still help them, push to do another demo and get them interested again