Turn Objection into Opportunity by Being Number Two

Last week Fire Enterprises (FEI) Marketing Tribe Leader Marka explained to Sales Tribe Leader Zoot how selling three “virtual products” can help their fire business overcome pricing objections. This week, Zoot gives apprentice salesperson Ganymede some tips on how to differentiate FEI with hesitant prospects by positioning the company as a secondary provider. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot found Ganymede, one of his most talented young salespeople, sulking in the break room.

“What’s up with you?” Zoot asked.

“I just met with Bort from Bort’s Bagels,” Ganymede said. “They bake thousands of bagels every day for customers all over Olympus, and some lucky fire company gets to power their kilns and ovens.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“That lucky fire company isn’t FEI!” Ganymede moaned. “Bort’s already has an excellent longstanding relationship with Pyro!”

“Tough break, kid,” Zoot said. “But let’s not get discouraged. At some point every salesperson’s heard the dreaded ‘we’re very happy with our current provider.’ This may feel like a door to profitable business slamming shut, but it’s actually an opportunity to differentiate FEI and eventually win that prospect’s business.”

“How?” Ganymede asked.

“By being Number Two!” Zoot said. “By positioning FEI as a secondary provider, you remove the ‘all or nothing’ decision your competitors are forcing Bort’s to make. Got a minute? Here are three ways to make this strategy work.”

Zoot erased some scribbles off the break room whiteboard and started writing on it in coal:

Two is Better Than None

“Positioning FEI as the be-all, end-all solution to every one of your prospect’s needs can be scary—for your prospect,” Zoot said. “Change is always difficult, and your prospect won’t make a decision in your favor if you insist on every ounce of their business.

“Once you’re confronted with their profession of loyalty, position FEI as ‘Number Two’ by offering a test drive or bail-out solution on an upcoming project,” Zoot suggested. “During the busy season when Bort needs some extra firepower, maybe offer to install one of our new high-powered FireBurner Kilns for a trial period. This approach will show that you’re willing to prove your competence and earn their trust as a primary vendor.”

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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