Set That Sales Appointment (by Overcoming Resistance)

Set That Sales Appointment (by Overcoming Resistance) - Sales Xceleration

We’re often told to envision the big picture, to begin with the end in mind, and to keep our eyes on the prize. So when we start the sales process by setting up a sales appointment, we often focus too much on closing the sale. After all, making the sale IS the goal, right? Ultimately, yes, providing a solution for the prospect’s needs is the big-picture objective. But before that can happen, other milestones must be passed along the way. Among these milestones is setting up the sales appointment. Here’s how to keep this part of the process in perspective and on track for sales success:

Biting the Elephant

You’ve heard it before: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” So it is with sales. While it is important to keep the ultimate goal in mind, it is equally important to understand that making the sale won’t happen with the first prospect call. As a salesperson, your initial goal, therefore, is not to set up the sale, but merely to set up the appointment! You want the opportunity to get together with the decision maker; not to persuade the decision maker to buy your service or product. Not yet, at least.

So what’s the key to taking that first bite of elephant? Understanding that the prospect’s initial resistance is merely resistance to making the appointment, NOT an objection about your product or service. There is a big difference between an objection and an initial resistance statement, and you handle them both very differently:

Resistance or Objection?

Many so-called objections are, in fact, merely initial resistance. Picture yourself in a department store (especially when you know what you’re there to buy). A sales rep greets you with, “Can I help you?” What do you usually say? “Oh, just looking.” In fact, you aren’t just looking – you are there to purchase a solution to your need – but your initial reaction is to deflect any perceived sales influence, even if it would make your selection and purchasing process easier. Simply put, even an offer to help can be seen as pressure; and it is human nature to resist pressure.

Objections, on the other hand, typically come later in the sales process. If you haven’t tried to sell anything yet, there can’t truly be objections to your solutions.

Handling Resistance

Because of this, you’ll be making a big mistake if you try to overcome initial statements of resistance as you would when you overcome objections. So, how should you effectively handle initial sales resistance and make that sales appointment?

Acknowledge that you heard what the prospect said, and then use a quick sentence or two to navigate around it before moving back in to ask for the appointment. For example, here are a wrong way and a right way to handle initial sales call resistance:

Wrong way:

Prospect: “I don’t have the budget for that right now.”

Sales Rep: “No problem. We have many creative ways to finance our products and I am sure we can find a way to get around that issue.”

Right way:

Prospect: “I don’t have the budget for that right now.”

Sales Rep: “That’s perfectly fine and I understand how that might be a concern down the road. For now, however, I simply want to make a connection, introduce you to our organization and provide you with some options for the future. Now, to make sure I am fully prepared for our meeting, let me just ask you a couple of quick questions…”

As you can see, the difference is that you should acknowledge the concern, disarm it and move past it as you then learn more and set the appointment time.

Bottom Line:

The sales appointment is not normally an all-or-nothing, close-the-deal-right-now opportunity. It is, however, essential to establishing a supplier/customer relationship. Because of that, it is important to properly set the appointment to start the sales process. One way to become more proficient at setting the sales appointment is to recognize the difference between initial resistance and true objections. If you or your sales team need help with setting more sales appointments or maximizing any other part of the sales process, contact one of our Advisors today.