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Sales Mastery – Qualifying Satisfaction
by Victor Antonio

I sat down for a breakfast with a friend of mine who seemed a little depressed about something. Being the consummate salesman, I started probing for answers. Now mind you, this was supposed to be a non-business breakfast. Don't they all start that way?

I began to ask him how his new business was going. My friend is growing a new business that assesses equipment (assets) for high tech companies. He has a great sales pitch,

"I can help you reduce your tax asset base and save you money. And if I can't, you don't have to pay me anything. The risk is all mine. "

Man! That's a killer guarantee...and it's true. If he can't reduce a company's tax asset base, he's out time and effort and the customer owes him nothing. This pitch is a cold caller's dream.

So why the long face? Well, apparently there were bumps on the road to tax asset success. He went on to explain his frustration because he knows he can help these companies but can't get them to listen. So where's the problem? The problem is he keeps getting this line, "We already have someone doing that for us."

I asked him, when they say that, what do you say. He hung his head low, rubbed his chin a few times and blurted, "I say OK, goodbye and hang-up." I now understood the long face.

He paused for a moment to sip his coffee and then sheepishly looked at me and asked, "How would you handle this?" I was tempted to remind him that this was a non-business breakfast, but I didn't have the heart. I also knew I wouldn't be able to enjoy the rest of the breakfast until we got past this issue.

So I asked him, "Do you believe your company is better equipped, from a documentation standpoint, than your competitors?" Without hesitating he said, "Absolutely, and I can show..." "Whoa!" I said. "Stop. I believe you; you're selling the wrong guy".

I went on to explain to my friend that he was missing a golden opportunity to 'quantify' the sale. I went through a dialogue with him on how to handle the objection and how to guide the conversation to the results he wanted. When I was done, all he could do was sit there silently, shaking his head gently in disbelief at how easy it was.

Want to know what I told him....read on.

Here was our fictitious dialogue between the customer and my friend, the seller.

Customer: "We already have someone who does that for us."

Seller: "I'm glad to hear that. Most companies don't take the time to readjust their tax asset base and wind up paying more than they have to. Would you say you’re satisfied with the current provider you're using?"

Joe Customer: "Yep...very satisfied."

Seller: "Great. Well I won't take up much more of your time. But I would like to ask you one last question that would help me serve people like yourself better in the future."

Joe Customer: "Yes?"

Seller: "How do you quantify your satisfaction?"

Joe Customer: "I don't know what you mean?"

Seller: "You know, how do you know you got the best assessment you could get? In other words, what do you compare it against?"

Joe Customer: "Well, we don't know for sure, but we trust this company and we've worked with them for many years."

Seller: "I don't doubt the success of your long term relationship in the least bit. But if you aren't sure, wouldn't you like to BE SURE? You know the old saying, better to know then not know."

Joe Customer: "Well, uh, yeah, I guess."

Seller: "Joe, my offer is risk free. Let us look at LAST years asset list and provide you with our assessment number. If it's higher, then your current tax asset managers are doing their job. But if our number is lower and we could've save you money last year, wouldn't you like to know by how much?"

Joe Customer: "Of course I would. Wait a minute. Are you sure there aren't any hidden fees or some 'catch' to this whole thing?"

Seller: "Joe, I'll send over a signed non-disclosure form which says we will not share this information with anybody. After receiving it, simply send us your equipment list and we will take it from there. We will deliver a full report with supporting documentation for each asset item. Then you can decide for yourself. We take a 5% off what we save you....and ONLY if we save you any money. Otherwise it's our loss, not yours "

Joe Customer: "OK. I'm interested."

The key to getting this conversation past the objection was having the customer explain how he 'quantified his satisfaction'. When someone says, "I'm happy with my supplier." As a salesperson you should ask questions that force the customer to articulate and quantify why they're satisfied.

Victor Antonio G.

Copyright © 2006 by Victor Antonio. All rights reserved. This article MAY be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, as long as the author’s name, website and email address are included as part of the article’s body. All inquiries, including information on electronic licensing, should be directed to Victor Antonio.

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