Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Hearing The Word 'No' In Our Sales Presentation Can Be A Good Thing"

When we have set an appointment with someone to discuss how we can help them achieve a better quality of life by making some improvements to their home, we are looking forward to doing business with them.

We allocate the time to meet with them, make sure that the essential decision makers and influencers to the decision are present, and we have a positive attitude about being able to help them and in having them agree to let us help them. We certainly aren't looking for anything negative.

Likely we have determined a budget amount that is comfortable for them or at least found out about the scope of work that they are envisioning. Generally, we aren't just showing up to an appointment for general fact-finding without some idea of what needs to be done, why it is being considered, and how the work is going to be paid for (even if a specific budget amount is not volunteered, suggested, or discussed). 

Now we know things can happen. The appointment can get canceled or rescheduled. Someone that was supposed to be present can't make the meeting or is ill or otherwise not able to participate. We reschedule. Worst case is the meeting is canceled and never able to be rescheduled.

In working with an elderly population or one that has various mobility, sensory, or cognitive issues, it's understandable that occasionally something will happen that will delay a scheduled appointment. So we reschedule.

Unlike some sales calls that are made in people's homes where a consumer product or service is being offered and it is difficult to do much pre-selling over the phone in advance of the appointment, or the appointment is considered to be the necessary first step toward building a sale, when we meet with someone we already know that they have an interest in using our services, in having us create a solution for them, and that they have a specific need. We are not trying to help them verbalize or agree to a need when we meet with them because this is already understood.

We aren't using any high-pressure closing techniques either to try to convince someone that they need something that maybe they really don't or that they should buy more than what their needs really suggest they should have. We are sensitive to both their needs and their budget. We aren't trying to intimidate or shame them into a decision, We are there to help them, and they have invited us to meet with them to solve an issue they are facing. Therefore, being told "no" to a closing question is not something that we should hear that often - unless we structure our questions specifically to get just that response.

Why would we want someone to tell us "no" when we ask a closing question? It's all in how we ask it, and they aren't telling us that they aren't proceeding. In fact, they are affirming that they want us to proceed.  As long as we can demonstrate to them that we are able to meet their design needs at a price they can afford, there is a reasonable chance to get the job.

We might ask them if they are talking with anyone else about this project, and the answer hopefully is that they aren't. If they are, we address it. We ask them if they have any other questions we can answer before proceeding with the agreement to get started. Either they do, and we address them, or they don't and we get their signatures.

There are other questions that can be asked of them to which the desired response is "no" because this means that they are satisfied with what we have discussed and presented to them. Practice this technique so that hearing "no" becomes a welcome path to getting the ultimate "yes" to get started.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.