Whether it is for financial services, life and/or property and casualty insurance, banking products, accounting and tax, or a countless number of other industries, nearly everyone has an incumbent agent or company that they have an established relationship with.
This is nothing new and I run into this virtually every day. I work with thousands of Emergent Sales Challenges each year and many of them are created by “my prospect already is using someone else!” Yet, despite the familiarity of the challenge, almost all salespeople and sales managers crumble at the thought of going up against a competitor or a prospect’s incumbent.
I will share that there is NOT any 100% sure-fire method of overcoming these sales challenges, but with effective tactical approaches YOU CAN SWING the percentages back your way for some sales success when this challenge rears its ugly head.
5 Questions for Emergent Sales Challenges:
Please note that WHENEVER I work an emergent sales challenge, I ask each salesperson or manager presenting the information these questions. The answers to these five questions HAVE EVERYTHING to do with how I handle the challenge and just as importantly how the OUTCOME of the challenge will occur.
- Is this a VIP or NVIP Prospect?
- Has the TOP Secret 1st Touch Been Sent To The Prospect?
- Is the Prospect in an automated marketing campaign?
- What is the Personality Style of the prospect?
- Are you speaking to the Decision Maker?
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do!
The first and most important aspect of this dilemma that you must understand is that BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO! The potential for breaking up with the incumbent is the BIGGEST OBSTACLE facing you, and most salespeople miss this very important fact. You can have the biggest, the best, most logical, etc., etc., yet the mere fact of the break up is the #1 thing that prevents you from even getting your foot through the door to make a presentation. What is the best way to handle this?
The Psychological Takeaway!
The psychological takeaway is the best way to handle this situation. It is simple, requiring only your platform-speaking skills. When the prospect says “We’re currently using someone else, and we’re happy,” you respond:
“With the greatest amount of respect (Pause, Silence, Patience), I can appreciate that and at the same time you are a perfect candidate for my program. (P.S.P.) In light of that, I want to start off by sharing with you that I am NOT (P.S.P.)… And let me repeat myself (P.S.P.)… I AM NOT ASKING YOU TO LEAVE YOUR CURRENT PERSON/COMPANY. In fact, I am giving you permission to NOT MAKE ANY DECISIONS on anything except to keep your options open. I’d like to take just a few moments of your time and share with you just a couple of options. And in the event you are again ready to re-enter the marketplace, then I will have qualified and earned the right to become your first and only phone call/email/communication by helping you always keep your options open as any affluent investor would do.”
Simple, effective and you HIT at the heart of their stall!
They don’t want to—they would rather get a root canal or go organize their sock drawer than break the news to their current incumbent that they are leaving. Almost like going steady in third grade! But this easy-to-do take away does just that: you take away their fear of breaking up, which allows the flow of communication to happen!
And if you create the LUCK that we are looking for, you must have a SET PROCESS that enables you to do the breaking up FOR THEM if YOU DO EARN their business! An agent of record form is available in most states and you need to be the one that delivers the news.
Time is More Valuable Than Money!
The second most important aspect that you must understand that for affluent prospects, TIME is more valuable than money! You must come off as a time sensitive and very busy salesperson. Answer the following questions and then follow through on what the answers require:
- What are the first ten words you say to a prospect?
- Do you have a level of urgency in your communication?
- Do you understand that the word “NO” can be your very best sales friend?
- Do you work on functional relationships with your prospects or do you lack sales skills and thus kiss up and suck up in hopes that a potential prospect will listen to you?
Knowing Is Half The Battle
The third option to address a prospect’s “don’t want to break up” mindset, which encompasses another soft take away, is the “become informed before you make a decision” tactic. Somewhat similar to the “Don’t Make A Decision” platform, the informed decision is very simple. Once again, all you do is share with the prospect that your goal is to allow them to become 100% fully informed on the information you have to share. Let them know the possible repercussions of not being informed.
Please remember that prospects are consistently detecting and judging you on hundreds of little things. You had better work on your overall sales skills, presentation, and platform speaking skills so you can present yourself in a very distinctive matter that easily sets you apart from your competition. When you can put all of that together in one professional package, then closing becomes EASY!
Learn from the following examples:
P.S.P. = Pause, Silence, Patience
- “I see. Well — (P.S.P.) — , when was the last time you took the opportunity to compare your current provider to other programs that might be comparable or better?”
- “What is it about our competitor that appeals to you?”
- “I can appreciate that, yet — (P.S.P.) , why do customers switch companies? It’s because they can get a BETTER DEAL or BETTER RESULTS, isn’t it?”
- “I can understand that — (P.S.P.) . Many other clients feel the same way—until they try a low-risk test campaign with us and learn that our great results SUPPLEMENT their other _____________ and MAKE IT WORK EVEN BETTER. Seriously — (P.S.P.) , if you could invest the same time and money and get even more ___________ (return, business, results, that would be a smart move, wouldn’t it?”
- “Wouldn’t this make a GREAT ADDITION to what you are already doing?”
- “ (P.S.P.) — , if you knew you could get the SAME OR BETTER results with us at HALF THE PRICE would you be willing to hear a bit more? Can I tell about the results you can expect from our low-risk introductory package?”
- “I understand that completely — (P.S.P.) , yet let me quickly show you the ADDITIONAL ADVANTAGES of working with us—starting with ME. If you and I begin a relationship today, then I’ll be on board as your personal consultant… and my customer service is UNLIMITED AND FREE. If I can prove to you that my clients have prospered after they started doing business with me, would you be more likely to give it a shot?”
- “That makes sense — (P.S.P.) , yet let me quickly outline the ADVANTAGES of OUR package versus the folks you are currently using, OK…? Now that we have done that, you would agree that we can probably provide better results, wouldn’t you?”
- “OK, I can definitely see where you are coming from; it’s true that most studies show that our work is sometimes only 80% as effective as _______ in creating brand awareness. BUT CHECK THIS OUT (P.S.P.) — if what we can do for you cost less than _________, then what we offer wins you greater overall results WITHIN YOUR SAME BUDGET. You’d be delighted, wouldn’t you, if you could get better results but still spend the same amount?”
- “I have to say more power to you — (P.S.P.) , but I can show you a list of everyone who has done business with my company over the last year with good results, and I bet this will prove that we can MEET OR BEAT the folks you are currently using. Can I tell you about this?”
- “If I could take two minutes to tell you some of our clients’ successes, would you be more likely to GIVE A GOOD LOOK at what we’re able to do for you?”
- “Which company are you using? Oh, that’s a good company!! Who are you working with over there…?? Hmm, I haven’t heard of him. How did you happen to choose him? I see… Why do you think you should stay with them WITHOUT COMPARING what we have to offer?”