Breaking through the status quo of complacency can be a major sales challenge. No matter how compelling your case for improving their situation, people are going to feel anxious about making changes, because change brings insecurity, and that makes us nervous.
If we don’t anticipate those feelings of uncertainty, bring them to light and take away their power to negatively impact prospects’ buying decisions, we run the risk – and a big risk at that – that those unstated, and even unconscious, objections will sabotage the outcome we want.
It’s essential that we flush them out and neutralize them before we close the deal. If we don’t, the prospect might have second thoughts that can unexpectedly abort the sale.
Whatever resistance, objections or roadblocks the prospect harbors, you want to relate to them as bridges rather than barriers. The fact is, we can use those seeming obstacles as strategic stepping-stones to influence prospects to move in our direction.
How to Bring Out Prospects’ Latent Hesitancies
There are lots of different ways to uncover and deal with buyers’ latent concerns. One of my favorites, inspired in part by master sales trainer Tom Hopkins, is using stories.
The first step is to think back on your past experiences and make a list of the different kinds of objections you’ve encountered. They might be about feeling guilty over leaving an agent who was a neighbor, or the fearful of having to spend big money on risk management solutions mandated by certain carriers. No doubt you’ll come up with many reasons prospects have hesitated to pull the trigger.
Once you’ve brought all of those roadblocks to mind, craft a pithy narrative for each one that describes how other buyers have benefited by not letting those kinds of objections get in the way of becoming your client.
You could tell a quick anecdote about a client who was reluctant to change for a higher premium but eventually realized that the better coverage and risk support were well worth the slight increase in rates (you’ve got to be specific about the details).
Another story might be about a client who initially hesitated to change agents, but ended up calling you the following year because the agent he stuck with, his neighbor, wasn’t able to issue timely certificates of insurance.
Develop concise stories and learn them by heart so they pop to mind as you’re working with prospects. When it seems appropriate inject them into the conversation. “I remember one of my clients was concerned about having to invest in expensive risk control measures, you might have similar thoughts…” Then recount your story and the good outcome.
No matter how enthusiastic prospects may seem, their unstated hesitancies can sabotage any sale unless you’re committed to revealing and resolving them.
In The End The Results You Take Come From The Efforts You Make
Your presentation went swimmingly and you’ve and left your proposal. Smiles and positives head shakes from everyone at the meeting. But if you’ve failed to draw out critical hidden objections, you might be seriously disappointed when you see the prospect’s follow up email:
“Thanks Joe for meeting with us and reviewing our insurance. We’ve decided to go in a different direction this year, but thank you for your time and interest.”
On the other hand, you’d be much more apt to receive this kind of message when you’ve put in the time to reveal and resolve those covert hesitations:
“Thanks Joe for taking the time to do such a thorough job in presenting all the options you did and for understanding our hesitations and concerns about making changes to our insurance situation. We’ve decided to go with your agency and feel confident you understand our concerns and will address them in our best interest.”