Resistance happens in nearly every sale. Most people do not immediately buy what you are selling without raising some questions. While sales resistance is common, it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when it happens. If you understand where it comes from, you can take steps to overcome it.

According to Colleen Francis, an award-winning sales strategist, sales resistance often stems from skepticism, unfamiliarity, inertia or frustration. Sometimes, prospects are not familiar with your company and offerings, while other times they may not want to change what they are doing now.

Some sales reps experience resistance when prospects don’t connect with them or their sales style. And resistance can also occur when prospects are afraid of making the wrong choice, so they don’t make any choice at all.

Whatever kind of resistance you may face, you can take steps to overcome it. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Francis’ ideas on how to move past sales resistance.

Eliminate sales-y language. No one wants to feel like they are being sold to. If you use statements like, “Could I have a few minutes of your time to discuss …” or “Are you looking for ways to be more profitable?” you are probably immediately repelling your prospects.

Francis recommends cutting the clichés and recognizing that you are probably interrupting the prospect. Say something like, “John? This is Colleen Francis. I know you weren’t expecting my call. Have I caught you at a bad time?” Francis says you will usually hear a chuckle and then either, “It’s always a bad time, but what’s up?” or “Sure, it’s a bad time but why are you calling?”

Let them know you work with similar businesses. When prospects don’t know you, they have no reason to want to work with you. That’s why Francis advises telling them how you have helped their industry peers or businesses of similar scale. While you can’t guarantee results for the prospect, it helps to provide them appropriate context about what they might be able to expect from working with you.

Adjust your focus. Remember that sales calls are always about the prospect, not about you landing the deal. Be up front about what’s in it for them, advises Francis. For example, if you are following up, you could say something like, “The last time we talked, you asked me to call today with pricing information.” And if you haven’t been able to reach someone, you could ask the gatekeeper, “I’ve been trying to reach Ms. Jones for a week with no luck. Do you know if there’s a best time to find her in her office?”

Don’t make assumptions. Francis advises sales professionals to be careful about making broad claims. Instead of using assumptive language, use examples and questions. For example, you could say, “Crystal, business owners like you tell me we’ve been able to get them more exposure for their services. We might be able to do the same for you. Can we discuss your marketing goals now?”

Sales resistance can happen for several reasons, but it doesn’t have to derail your deals. Remember to focus on the prospect’s goals and needs instead of your own and aim to start a conversation rather than trying to sell.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Colleen Francis was named LinkedIn’s No. 1 Sales Influencer in 2020. She is also a keynote speaker, award-winning sales strategist and bestselling author.