There are many reasons why one salesperson is more successful than another. Over the years, I have observed that in many OCS companies the same sales representatives continue to outsell their colleagues, month by month and year by year. It is possible that good-quality salespeople are treated better than others. They may get better leads, territory and existing higher-volume accounts to develop for more allied sales. Keeping everything equal, let's take a look at one sales skill that will give one sales rep a higher closing ratio than another: handling objections from prospects.
Let's do some sales training by answering some objections you'll hear while presenting to prospective clients during the OCS selling cycle.
Instead of just reading these objections to your salespeople, set up a game or discussion. Have each participant answer the objections on their own, and then discuss the answers. You may find that they have different answers than the ones that I am suggesting. You will be educating your team by giving them new ammunition for closing more sales.
If you have no sales staff, just cover up the answers and pretend that a buyer is raising these sales objections. I am only listing one or two answers to each objection, but there are more ways to handle most of these.
Objection: I have been purchasing from your competition for many years and I am very happy with their coffee and service.
Answer 1: Loyalty is very good, but sometimes it limits a company from seeing what is new in the industry that could save money and increase employee productivity. Our firm has an exclusive on this new brewer/water cooler and the benefits are [A,B,C…]
Answer 2: Mr. Client, I think loyalty is fantastic, and, I know how you feel. Some of my best customers had felt the same way, until they allowed me to offer them a free trial of our exclusive single-cup coffee and tea brewer. You and your staff can experience, first-hand, the many benefits: [A,B,C…]
I also would love for you to see how our uniformed delivery drivers handle your orders and carefully place the products neatly into your storage area. Is there a special area where you would like your deliveries stored? (Wait for the response, and proceed as you see fit).
Objection: I need to think about your offer some more.
Answer 1: Mr. Client, may I ask what you need to think about? Is it the integrity or the reputation of me or my company? (Wait for an answer.)
Answer 2: Are you concerned that our company will not live up to your expectations? (Wait for answer.) Say, I have several customers whom you may call to ask about the quality of our products and services. Also, here are a few letters of recommendation from some of the branded companies we serve in this area; I believe you're familar with them. (Show letters of endorsement.)
Objection: We just can't afford your service.
Answer 1: Mrs. Buyer, why do you believe that you can't afford our services? (Let him explain.)
Then show her how she can afford your services. You might start with, "If I could show you a way to afford my services, would you then take our coffee brewer?" If his answer is positive, next ask for a list of all of the products the company is purchasing for the break area, along with pricing, if possible. Tell him you will now price out all of the products, which now gives you a larger volume on which to quote, along with larger savings. Your next step is to find those products that you can save him money on and apply that savings to the part of your service the prospect said she could not afford.
Answer 2: Mrs. Buyer, how far away in pricing are we? (If she gives a reasonable answer, then,) If I call my office and explain to my sales manager what I have to do to be more competitive, will you go with the program I presented?
Objection: We just love the coffee brewer that we have now.
Answer: Mr. Decision-maker, I just pointed out a few extra features that this new state-of-the art brewer has and your current brewer doesn't. Your current brewer was the best available three years ago and your decision to install it was a good one. Would you allow me to install the unit for a week, free of charge? I will pay for the coffee, tea, cocoa and cappuccino blends, along with a supply of cups and condiments. This way, you will not have to make any investment or decision now. Is that fair? (Note: get the brewer in at any reasonable cost, and let the employees put pressure on the buyer not to switch back to your competition.)
There may be many objections during the sales presentation. It is your responsibility to train and retrain your sales staff to respond to them by giving the prospect intelligent replies. Customers want to deal with professionals, and with people they like. Good selling skills on the part of your salespeople will make a big difference in the profitability of your company.
Please contact me at (516) 241-4883 or OCSconsultant@aol.com if you would like to discuss how to handle other objections that you have heard from a prospect.
LEN RASHKIN is a pioneer in office coffee service. He founded Coffee Sip in 1968 and after 22 years merged it with Dell Coffee, of which he became president in 1991. Sales at Dell topped $7 million dollars. Rashkin is also a founder and officer of Eastern Coffee Service Association and National Beverage Products Association. His industry honors include NCSA’s (now NAMA) Silver Service Award and NBPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award; he was inducted into NBPA’s Hall of Fame in 1996. His marketing excellence earned him NBPA’s Crystal Bean Award and three NCSA Java Awards. He is a frequent speaker at national and local trade conferences, consults on OCS sales and marketing and has is the author of two OCS training programs.