The Spousal Objection

The Spousal ObjectionKicktras

We often hear the spousal objection in day to day calls, unfortunately we often lay down when we hear this and schedule an appointment, or worse yet just let the customer ask us for an email and we never call back.
When I ask agents about this, the reason typically given is that they identify with the objection. If they were shopping they think that they’d want to talk to their significant other as well.
I’m here to tell you that identifying with an objection isn’t the same thing as allowing it to control the call.

STEP #1: UNDERSTAND THE OBJECTION-

Here is a breakdown of the Spousal Objection in reality-

50% of the time the Spousal Objection is a Complete Smoke Screen Brace yourself… Customers Lie. Customers don’t like confrontation and for whatever reason they know that if they pretend to pass the decision making process on to someone else who is inaccessible you will give up. You have sales skills and routines, they have customer skills and routines. They have probably run this play many times in the past and it’s worked. There is some other option available that the customer hasn’t made you aware of or a decision was already made and they are placating you on the phone with zero intentions of ever speaking to you again.
25% of the time the Spousal Objection is a Partial Smoke Screen Brace yourself… Customer Lie. Seriously. Customers need a reason to get off of the phone, but in this case it’s because THEY don’t like something and instead of talk about it, they would rather talk to someone who gives them what they want the first time around. This scenario means that the customer has an objection to your cost or service, this is an objection that you could overcome, if you only knew about it. The objection that you don’t get kills the deal.
25% of the time the Spousal Objection is Real 1 out of 4 Customers that give you the spousal objection really aren’t capable of making a decision on their own. These customers need to speak to their significant other and come to some sort of agreement before they can move forward. These customers need to either get you in touch with their spouse, or they need to become advocates for your service.

STEP #2: ADDRESS THE OBJECTION-

Assume that like 75% of your customers, the Spousal Objection is a Smoke Screen. Here are 3 Ways to Overcome the Spousal Objection-

1. Avoid the Objection in the first place. Get tacit approval from the spouse up front: ask if both parties are on the same page, ask if they have already talked about this, ask if they have clearance to make a decision.

2. Uncover the true objection. Use non-threatening language that transfers blame for the non-agreement to the 3rd party, Example- “If your wife were here right now what would she be concerned about?”, or use a proactive approach, Example- “What do you and I need to do so that your husband loves this and thinks that it’s his idea?”. This may draw out the real objection that was hidden, in which case we can address it.

3. ARC. Acknowledge the Objection, Respond to it and Close. Example- “I realize it’s tough to make this call right now but I believe it’s safe to say that we are going to move forward, we just aren’t sure whether or not to (insert options here) right?”, (wait for the YES, or if it’s slow in coming apply a qualifier statement like “because the last thing you want to do is nothing, right?”). Once the customer implies that they will move forward take it to the next level and let them know that you will make the various options available to them and that they can adjust the order as they see fit together. This shifts the decision making process to the Spouse, which is what they wanted in the first place. Then, re-close and ask for the business.

STEP #3: PLAN TO RESOLVE THE OBJECTION-

Sometimes this Objection is an impasse and we need to revert to plan B-

1. Integrity Close. Ask for the business 1 more time anyway. Let the customer know that it would keep you up at night knowing that they hadn’t done the right thing yet, or that you hadn’t been able to help them out like you should have. Use the Power of Please and ask if they would Please let you help them out today. If they still say No, then tell them that you had to try for your own peace of mind, they understand right?

2. Conference Call. If you can’t get past the gatekeeper, maybe we should ask more aggressively now. If the spouse really is just the gatekeeper ask to conference in with the decision maker, or ask for an alternate number. Let the customer know that they have done a great job of gathering info, explaining the situation, but that the spouse would really want to talk to you directly in order to move forward, it’s that important.

3. Schedule an Appointment. When all else fails, move to the appointment. Don’t give an inch on this option, it’s the last option and you want to leave a wedge in the door so it’s open. Ask for a firm appointment time and let the customer know that you’ll be setting aside crucial time since their file is important to you.

A Couple of Tips-

Even if you believe the Spousal Objection is a Smoke Screen, don’t insult the customer by ever attacking their integrity and insist that they are untruthful. Always remain as if the trust has been unbroken.

Use qualifying statements like “…. Because of XYZ” or “… we found that….”

Remain Polite, customers are more likely to move forward with someone who is socially appropriate.

As always, Happy Selling! You can follow me on twitter @salesfumaster or review the blog at www.salesfumaster.com

#howstrongisyoursalesfu

The Analogy Close!

A few of you have seen this before, that’s OK revisit your analogy story and make it better! The rest of you are new to my blog and I welcome you! If you have a great close or sales tip that’s worked for you in the past please feel free to share in the comments.  I’ve saved all the sales tips I’ve used in the past and I’d love to add to the catalogue. If it’s worked for you, it will work for others. Let’s all make our SaleFu stronger together!

This is a bit of verbiage trickery. Think of it this way… You are in a UFC match and you start giving jazz hands with your left hand. That’s kind of distracting right? Then you start to Jab with your right and win the match. Boom.

An analogy in this case is usually a story that is personal to you and likely has nothing to do with your product or service. In the story you must describe 2 scenarios, one must clearly represent your product or service and the other would be the “Bad Guys”. At the end of the story you have to ask the customer what they would choose given that scenario. The Choice MUST be obvious for this to work. Once they choose in the Analogy they will choose in real life based on that decision. It’s simpler than it sounds. Below is my standard Analogy Close-

STEP #1  Suspend Belief. Let the customer know that you are about to deviate from the conversation. “OK, Mr. Customer, I can understand it’s a tough choice between us and option xyz. Before you make your decision, let me tell you a quick story that might help you.”

STEP #2 Tell your story.  Here is Mine- I used to go to Honolulu for Business all the time. (I know rough right? But SOMEONE had to do it!) I hate driving in metropolitan areas though, so the first couple of times I took a cab from the airport to the hotel in Waikiki. The cab company services always estimate that it will cost about $40 to get from the airport to the hotel, but I tell you what, I never once paid $40 for that trip. If I had a bag or trade show supplies with me it always cost extra, if traffic was bad or there was construction I always paid more. If we caught a red light or it is was raining, who knows, but I never once actually paid $40. It was almost always over $50 by the time I got to where I was going. After doing this for about the 6th time I finally noticed that there was another line for transportation at the airport, it was for the Black Car Service. I had never thought about a Black Car Service before, I assumed that those were for executives with much larger Expense Accounts than I had as a Sales Rep. This time there wasn’t a line and I figured I’d at least talk to the gentleman at the podium and see what this was about. Turns out the Black Car service there has standard fees based on the destination. From the Airport to Waikiki was $50 no matter how much luggage I had or what the traffic was like. It was clearly posted and the fee was agreed to ahead of time.  Seriously? I could have been paying the same $50 I had been paying for the Cab ride all this time? I rode in the Black Car that day. It was actually pretty sweet, there was a TV in the Back and an assortment of Magazines and some refreshments and snacks-  All included in the $50 and the interior was nice and roomy. (The driver was also great and I got his card and only use him when I go to Hawaii now!)I got where I needed to go and the ride was absolutely great! So my point is this… with that brokerage shop the advertised rate and costs can sometimes change and they’ll give you good reasons like the traffic is bad or there was a closed off street but the end result is likely to be the same as mine. The Difference is my product/service is like the Black Car services of our industry. We offer excellent service, you have personal relationships with myself and my team, we are like your tour guides and we disclose everything to you upfront. So do you really want to take your chances with the Cabbie? Or wouldn’t you rather ride the in the Black Car? IF it’s the same price what would car would you choose?”

STEP #3 Close.   The customer says that they’d take the Black Car and then I say “GREAT! I’ll make sure that we take good care of you and I seriously want you to think of me as your (Product/Service) Tour Guide!… I need to ask some questions and put a credit card on file and send some documents to you for review, signature and return.”

A couple of Tips and Tricks-

  • Don’t use my exact story. Make it your own , just make sure that the outcome is obvious.
  • Practice the story a few times. Telling a story isn’t natural for everyone.
  • Begin with the end in mind. A lot of folks lose their way half way through the story. It can’t go on longer than about 2.5 minutes before you stretch the attention of a client. You risk them tuning you out.

Happy Selling and if you have any questions about this feel free to reach out to me! For specialized Sales Training Options and more tips follow me @salesfumaster