Salespeople are frequently hit between the eyes with this objection in the very first moments speaking with a new prospect. The pressure on the salesperson immediately rises to the boiling point, while the prospect sits back and watches his adversary squirm. It’s actually fun, when you’re the prospective buyer.
Salespeople react predictably to this statement…most attempt to “pitch” their way out of the jam. They ramble on about the quality of their products, their many satisfied customers, the personal attention they give to their clients, competitive prices, and leading edge this and that.
But that’s the wrong approach. The buyer has heard all those claims before; in fact, he could have recited what the salesperson said almost verbatim. The pitch has no value, no credibility, and no chance.
Perhaps another approach, something totally different is in order. Instead of trying to convince your prospect that you really are different, show him how different you are.
Try this approach. “Maybe you shouldn’t…”
“Maybe you shouldn’t change. I can’t honestly tell you that we’d be a better supplier for you than __________. After all, I don’t know how strong your relationship is and how well they’re servicing you. Based on your comment I’d guess it’s pretty strong. Actually the only reason you should even consider a change is if there’s something in your relationship with ____________ that you’d like to improve. If there isn’t, you ought to stay where you are. Having said that, could we spend a few minutes discussing that relationship and what you look for in a supplier? If there’s something missing, we can talk further. If everything’s okay, then I’ll close the file and move on. Does that sound reasonable?”
You might call it a “pattern interrupt.” Your prospect will certainly sit up and take notice when you say, “Maybe you shouldn’t change” because he’s not expecting that response. But it’s the truth. Until you’ve determined that there’s something in the prospect’s current vendor relationship that’s causing some pain, there probably is no reason to change. Removing the pressure by using an Easy Exit (Core Competence #48) is a perfect way to handle this brush off. You’ll find that the prospect, thrown off balance by your unexpected statement, will open up and speak truthfully once you have taken the pressure off.
Self-Study Assignment: Practice the “Maybe you shouldn’t” script until you know it backward and forward. Record it and add it to your library of audio clips.