This is the seventh in a series of blog posts on my 15 most effective sales tactics.

Breaking into new accounts can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you know how to overcome the #1 sales objection.

Some people believe that the #1 sales objection is price but I completely disagree. Let me tell you why.

The reason why price is not the #1 objection is that it typically occurs at or after your first meeting with a prospect.

The #1 objection happens a lot more often and it typically occurs before you even get your first meeting with a prospect.

The #1 sales objection happens when a salesperson describes what they sell and the prospect responds with something like, “We already get that from vendor A and we’re happy with them.”

This prospect is clearly in the status quo buying mode and by now you know the hottest prospects – those who are ten times more likely to switch vendors – are decision-makers who are in the Window of Dissatisfaction™.

My general advice is to check in with these decision-makers until they experience a Trigger Event makes them unhappy with the status quo. However, since I wrote my first book SHiFT! Harness the Trigger Events that Turn Prospects into Customers; people have been asking me, “How do I create Trigger Events that make a decision-maker unhappy with their current vendor or solution?”

Some people say the answer is to challenge their status quo. My only issue with this approach is that if someone already has a working relationship with a supplier, they are likely to ‘borrow’ your idea(s) and ask their current supplier if they can do the same thing.

However, ‘if‘ you have a GREAT relationship with the decision-maker, or are not worried about them ‘borrowing’ your idea and giving it to a sales person they have a better relationship with, then try the following two questions:

Question #1

“Have they ever let you down?”

If the prospect says yes, then ask about the impact of that letdown.

When they finish talking, wait six seconds before you ask another question. Very often, the decision-maker will feel uncomfortable with the silence and start telling you more about the problem.

If after six seconds they don’t volunteer additional information, repeat the last two or three words they said, but with an inquisitive voice. For example, if they say, “we had a hard time getting our products on time,” wait six seconds and if they don’t provide additional information, simply ask, “on time?”

Now, they will give you more information about the problem and the impact of what happened.

After they provide some additional information, I like to follow up with these questions:

  • “What have they done to prevent this from happening again?”
  • “What have they done to minimize the impact if this happens again?”

Once you know more about the letdown, you can ask if they would like to work with a more reliable vendor who they can have more confidence in. If so… you’re in!

You can also use the information about the letdown on your calls to decision-makers at other companies who use the same vendor. For example, you could ask, “Have they ever missed a deadline without telling you in advance that they would miss it?”

If the current vendor has never let them down, you should lead with the following question.

Question #2

“Pretend something happened to your current vendor and you said you would never do business with them again. Describe for me the kind of supplier you would look for?”

The prospect will then ramble off a bunch of features, qualifications, and qualities they prefer. With any luck, an inquisitive look will come across their face as they realize: they’re not getting these things from their current vendor!

You’ve now created a Window of Dissatisfaction and the opportunity to pursue the sale, without needing to worry if this decision-maker will take your idea to the incumbent.

When this scenario happens, jump at the opportunity to be the first seller in with a hot lead.

Conclusion

Now you know how to overcome the #1 Sales Objection: ask if you can take two minutes of their time to ask a couple of quick questions to make sure they are worth putting in your sales funnel.

In my next blog post, I’ll share how to avoid the #1 mistake salespeople make and win a sale in just seven seconds.