The Green Sheet Online Edition
May 08, 2017 • Issue 17:05:01
Persist, but pay attention
When a prospect spurns you, stating his or her merchant services provider is just fine, at what point do you conclude it's time to let go of the sale and just focus on making a good connection? Do you hang in there and try to overcome this objection, or do you shift gears right away?
According to Paul H. Green, often when a merchant expresses satisfaction with the status quo, the individual merely doesn't want to face making a change, so it makes sense to persist. "Your job is to make them do what human nature compels them not to do: Do something! Make a change!" he wrote in Good SellingTM: The Basics.
And why should they overcome inertia and switch to your services? "Because your service will WOW them, rather than just meet their basic needs," Green stated. "There are many companies whose service is fine. The key is showing your prospect that your service is exceptional."
Tell them what they're missing
Green provided several potential responses to merchants who express lack of interest; you could say, for example:
- Great. I like to deal with merchants who make good decisions. But, when the decision was made to go with company X, maybe you didn't know about us. That may have been the best choice then, but now we offer …
- I think I understand what you're saying. You don't want to go through the effort of changing. Well, I can give you a variety of reasons why this change will be good for you, your business and your personal well-being. You won't waste time and resources chasing payments, and you'll have more time for a personal life.
- What do you like best about your current service? Well, let me tell you how we can expand on that and give you the best possible service.
- Of course you're satisfied, and the service is fine. But don't you want more than just the status quo? Don't you want something better for your business?
Heed their cues
Of course, persisting doesn't mean becoming rude. Words, body language, facial expressions and tone of voice will convey when further nudging will make a merchant receptive or have the opposite effect. When you sense the sale is slipping away, don't become desperate and reach for the bottom in the price game. You want a long-term business relationship, not a quick sale, and sometimes you won't be able to establish rapport at all.
As Jeff Fortney put it in "Race to the Top," The Green Sheet, Sept. 8, 2014, issue 14:09:01, "When asked what the most important action a salesperson in any profession can take, I always say, 'Know when to walk away.' As much as you may want to sign everyone, sometimes a steep learning curve, unreasonable merchant demands or the effort required make it prudent to choose not to sign an account."
So state your case and don't give up quickly. But also know it will sometimes be right to just let a prospect go. Persist, but pay attention, and you'll win in the end.
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