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Customer barriers block efforts at winning sales

Rochester Business Journal
June 13, 2003
What are your biggest barriers to a sale?

What are the biggest objections to your sales?

Don't tell me-let me tell you:

1. Your price is too high.

2. Satisfied with someone who we have.

3. Can't get budget approval.

4. The decision maker's on vacation.

5. Someone else makes the decision.

6. We take the lowest bid.

7. They won't appoint you.

8. Need home office approval.

9. Our ad agency handles that.

10. You need ISO certification.

11. Prospect won't return phone call.

12. Prospect is in a business slump and isn't buying.

13. You can't get to the real decision maker.

14. You're not on our approved list.

15. We tried you before and you screwed up.

16. We can get it cheaper someplace else.

17. We don't know you.

18. We don't have the money.

19. We can get it cheaper on the Internet.

20. Your price is too high.

21. Won't tell you the real reason.

Is that enough of them? Did yours make the list? More than one of them?

Every salesperson has barriers to a sale, and you are no exception. The question is how do you deal with them?

Traditional sales training says when a barrier (also known as an "objection") occurs, you have to "overcome" it to make the sale.

Wrong. So wrong.

A salesperson spending time trying to change a prospect's belief is banging his head against the wall. Hard.

The answer is to look at barriers from a different perspective. The customer's perspective. The only one that matters. "Overcoming objections" went out with typewriters and eight-track tapes.

Think about it-you want to make a sale. OK. But what does the customer want? What will the customer "buy?" Or better stated, what will entice the customer to buy? If the customer wants more productivity or greater profit (which he does), how does that fit into your sales pitch?

Let's forget you for a few moments. What do you think the customer wants? Remember, I said forget about you. If you get right down to it, unless the customer has an imminent need for your stuff, she's probably going to be concentrating on her stuff. Things that matter from her perspective.

There's an aha!

No, there's the aha!

OK-so let's examine the things your customer wants, needs and works for (hint: It ain't your product).

Customers-every customer and prospect-want:

1. Value to their business.

2. More income, more sales.

3. No problems.

4. Answers to their major issues.

5. More leads, more customers, more sales.

6. Something to build their business.

7. Greater productivity.

8. No risk.

9. No mistakes.

10. Recognition.

11. Profit.

12. Fun atmosphere.

Customers spend 99.9 percent of their time on their own issues. The average salesperson spends zero time on the issues of the customer.

See where the gap is?

How are you blending real customer needs into your product or service offering?

If they object to your price (the biggest objection in the book) and you are able to increase profit and productivity, your price issues diminish.

Here's a game plan:

1. Identify (through research or questions) which issues are the burning ones from the customer's perspective.

2. Start your presentation addressing customer issues, not selling your product.

3. Create dialogue that gets the customer to agree that you will help and she will buy as a result of it.

4. Walk away with the sale.

Now, it's not that simple. But it's an answer you are not addressing. And it's an answer that will lead you to more sales and fewer objections. Customers will never object to more profit. Customers will never object to answers to their major issues. Customers will never object to building their business.

Every salesperson thinks the customer wants a lower price. Well, if you are not meeting the customer's needs, not addressing his wants, not helping him, you are correct-price is all that's left.

Revamp your thinking.

Revamp your research.

Revamp your questions.

Revamp your presentation.

And the result will be fewer objections.

The secret is not to overcome objections, the secret is to eliminate them.

GitBit: If you need more information on what the customer really wants, I've compiled a list of 13 things to do after the sale has taken place. Go to, register if you're a first timer, and enter the words "customer wants" in the GitBit box.

(Jeffrey Gitomer, author of "The Sales Bible" and "Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless" and president of Charlotte, N.C.-based BuyGitomer Inc., gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or his e-mail address,

06/13/03 (C) Rochester Business Journal

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