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Overcoming Sales Resistance

The ability to handle objections effectively from both prospects and clients is a skill that can put your sales force ahead of the competition. Even a long-term customer may rethink a relationship with a provider if objections aren’t handled to complete satisfaction. This example shows how a simple technique may help.

The Situation

Adam is a sales rep for a line of camping equipment. He calls on buyers for outdoor and sporting goods stores. One of those buyers is Carlos. Carlos takes an aggressive approach, but Adam has always been able to write a fairly substantial order with him.

Adam recently called on Carlos to show him some additional catalogue items and to ask for an order. Here is part of the conversation:

Carlos: I’m going to pass this time around. We don’t need any more merchandise for the season.
Adam: Carlos, you know that traffic builds slowly. It will pick up like it always does, and then you’ll quickly run out. I don’t know if I’ll be able to restock at that point.
Carlos: Oh, come on, Adam. You’ve got a warehouse as big as a football field. You’re telling me that if I run out, you won’t take my call?
Adam: Hey, I didn’t say that. But I have other customers! I think you should order now.
Carlos: Look, I’ve been doing business with you for six years. I feel that somehow you’ll find what I need — if the time comes.
Adam: And I’m saying when we really get into the season, you’ll be wishing you could get another truckload.
Carlos: That’s the problem! You sold me a truckload last time!

What’s Really Going On?

This seems to be the ritual dance of buyer and seller: Adam wants to make a sale now, but Carlos is playing hard to get. But is that what’s really going on here? How can Adam use Q4 collaborative selling skills to move this sales call in a more productive way?

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