If you’re reading this far, you have a tough customer that is hard to close. Now, don’t get me wrong, all customers are hard to close, but some are especially hard even when you bring your A-game! I’m going to list some common “No’s” you’ll experience and some ideas on how to overcome customer objections. Your goal is always to get the signed contract, but second best is a commitment to work with you ‘when the time is right’. The third best is an outright “No” and the worst is fence sitters that get stuck in a cycle of asking for more time and information with no end in sight. Here are some common “No’s” and tactics to overcome:
- “I don’t have the time to deal with this right now”: This almost always means you didn’t meet their emotional requirement and they’re trying to not hurt your feelings. This will lead to fence sitters that waste your time. Your goal is to get them off the fence and either a) move forward or b) tell you when they would like to re-engage. To get them to move forward you’ll want to appeal to their emotions with what they’re going to miss out on by waiting. We refer to this as the “Cost of Waiting” and it can include missed opportunities, unnecessary utility payments, missed incentives, and so on. Again, focus on the value they are leaving on the table. If they are fine with the cost of waiting, you need to ask them something like this: “When would be a good time to do this project? I’d like to put a note in my calendar to contact you so we can get this done for you.” If they balk, they are fence sitters and you should cut bait and put them into your quarterly follow up list. If they are serious about the project, they will give you a date that you should follow up.
- “I don’t have the budget to do this right now”: This is also a common way to say no politely. You should have covered their budget constraints during the initial site visit so you know if you need to present financing options to overcome this No. If you did present financing and they still use this reason to delay, you need to kindly ask them why they aren’t willing to use a no money down, cash flow positive financing option. If they still push back, you should again make them aware of the cost of doing nothing and follow the same process outlined in #1 above to get them off the fence.
- “Our current lights are working fine”: This indicates you did not properly sell the value of the system you’re proposing. You’ll want to reiterate your value proposition again to help them understand that while their current lighting system is in fact operational, it is not optimized and you can increase the value of their lighting system.
- “LEDs are too new and risky”: There is plenty of research, third party verifications, and many other resources to overcome this objection. This should have been taken care of in Q&A, but provide them with ample evidence showing you know your products and they are dependable. Lean on the local utility if you’re getting rebates or the DLC, Energy Star as evidence the product will perform. References and previous projects can also be very helpful.
- “I can buy them cheaper on Amazon/Home Depot/Costco/Etc”: This shows you didn’t sell them on value to overcome price objections. My favorite responses to this No are a) “We supply commercial/industrial grade solutions, select products that are industry leading, and provide all the expertise to ensure you have the right lighting system, not the cheapest” and b) “If you’re buying a new mid range car with warranty, would you tell the car dealer you can find a cheaper parts at AutoZone and build it yourself”
These are by no means all of the common No’s out there, but do cover some of the more common. Please send me any you have an ways you’ve overcome them and I’ll add them to this blog.
Remember the goal is to get a signed contract or a commitment to take another serious look at a specific time. Always be closing!
Leif Elgethun, CEO