Overcoming Objections – Become Your Prospect’s Number Two Choice (Part II)

Last week, FEI sales leader Zoot taught young salesman Ganymede how to fight prospect loyalty to an existing provider by establishing FEI as the number two choice. This week, the duo discusses another way to do so. Remember, fire = print.

It was a mild, windy day at the dog park, and Ganymede and Zoot were again watching Zoot’s dog Noot run around. Noot was fully exploring the vast park landscape and had almost vanished out of sight.

“He’s pretty far away,” Ganymede observed. “Aren’t you afraid he won’t come back?”

“Absolutely not,” Zoot said. “Watch how loyal he is.” Zoot whistled, and Ganymede watched in amazement as Noot immediately came bounding back.

“That’s loyalty,” Ganymede remarked, clearly impressed.

“Let’s say, again, that you were conniving to take Noot away from me,” Zoot said. “To get in his good graces, you’d demonstrate that you understand and appreciate his loyalty to me. Then, he’ll know he can trust you if I do ever neglect him or let him down.”

“I’m guessing the same principle holds true when pursuing prospects who are loyal to vendors,” Ganymede interjected.

“You betcha,” Zoot said. “Encouraging your prospect to stay loyal to current suppliers may actually help you win their business.”

“I still don’t understand how,” Ganymede confessed.

“Successful customer relationships are built upon trust,” Zoot explained. “Acknowledging your prospect’s history with a current supplier lets him/her know you understand and respect the ingredients of a successful business partnership. It says you value long-term vendor relationships and aren’t just another opportunistic vendor trying to make a sale. Establishing trust in this way will lay the groundwork for you to work together in the future.”

“Now I get it,” Ganymede declared. “Say I approach a prospect who tells me, ‘I’m sorry, but we have a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Flintstones. We’re not looking to change providers any time soon.’ If my reaction indicates resentment, annoyance, or that I’m trying to undermine that relationship, I’ll look petty and perhaps desperate. I’ll also look as if I don’t respect that existing business relationship and just want to get the business any way I can.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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