I’m sure you’ve had people say those words or something similar to you? They can even start to appear from the middle of November onwards!
How about when you ring those people back in the New Year? The people you were trying to get a buying decision from? The people who needed to ‘run your proposal past a few people?’ Or maybe the people you were trying to get an appointment with?
Very often (those same people that gave you the ‘Christmas objection’) when you call those people back in the New Year, they either still haven’t made a decision, they give another ‘fob-off’, or even worse – you can’t seem to get hold of those people ever again! Has this ever happened to you? If you’re anything like the hordes of people that ask me what to do about the ‘Christmas‘ problem every year, you probably get it quite a lot!
So why is it that the buyers and decision makers give us the ‘Christmas‘ objections? There are various reasons for this. Sometimes, there’s a genuine reason why they can’t proceed with the order (or appointment) until January – perhaps a colleague is away that needs to be involved, perhaps there isn’t a budget until next year, perhaps even that the person is so focused on delivering existing projects, they just can’t even think about another one!
However as mentioned above – in a number of cases, decision makers use ‘Christmas objections’ as a convenient way of getting salespeople and business owners to ‘go away‘. And they keep using them because they work! Far too many salespeople and business owners ‘fall‘ for these objections, take the decision makers at their word – only to be surprised come January when they can’t get hold of that person.
The challenge is – unless you learn to do something about these ‘Christmas‘ objections, you’re going to suffer the same problems year after year, after year! If you’d like to do something to tackle it now, here are some ideas for you….
You know you’re going to start getting these sorts of objections from November onwards, so you need to prepare for them!
I hear so many business owners and salespeople fall for these same objections year after year! Why not consider how you’re going to deal with them and practice your responses? Most people fail to do even those simple things!
This means working out your objection handles, then practicing them with friends, colleagues or even in meetings with the rest of the sales team! The better prepared you are for when the objections come up, the better you’ll deal with them! That goes for the other objections you face as well, but let’s focus on the ‘Christmas‘ ones for now!
And please, don’t leave this until the last few moments before your telephone call or client meeting (or even worse – until you’re waiting in reception), do this in ‘small chunks’ – a little bit at a time but done on a regular basis – that helps you remember and use the objection handles best.
Often when the buyer or decision maker says the words ‘call me back after Christmas’, that phrase might have a different meaning than the one you’ve accepted at face value!
Let’s face it – if everyone who said those to you either met with you or bought from you in January, then there wouldn’t be a problem, would there? So I’m talking here about the people that use that phrase, but then don’t seem to necessarily follow through come January.
Let’s think about this a little deeper – might some people use that phrase when actually what they really mean is ‘go away?’ Or perhaps ‘it’s not important enough for me to look at right now?’ As someone who originally trained as a professional buyer, I can guarantee you that’s the case!
Here’s a quick distinction – the more ‘new business’ your telephone call or appointment is, the less rapport you have – therefore the likelihood of them ‘fobbing you off’ is much higher! If you’re with an existing client you have personally a very good relationship with, it’s more likely that they’re telling the truth.
Most salespeople and decision makers I meet struggle with asking ‘good‘ questions. Questions that get them the information that other people don’t get. Questions that elevate the decision maker’s perception of you. Questions that make the decision maker think….
Most salespeople and business owners seem to think that the other person says ‘call me after Christmas’ or something similar, that means end of conversation/meeting! Who said that it did?!! Before the end of this conversation or meeting you need to ask some more questions to get the information you need!
The most important thing to find out here is if they’re trying to ‘fob you off’, without asking or accusing them directly! There are a number of ways you can do this, but the important thing to find out here is the motivation or urgency behind the project (if you haven’t already of course).
If you can establish there are genuine reasons to put the order/project/appointment on hold until the New Year, you’ve lessened your chances of being ‘fobbed-off’ and it should be relatively easy to pick things up from when you left off come January.
If on the other hand, the decision maker doesn’t appear to give specific reasons for the delay, they don’t seem as interested/motivated as they were, or they seem to want to get rid of you as fast as possible, that’s a pretty big sign they’re trying to fob you off!
The attitude of the salesperson or business owner is also vital in getting the results that you want here. I’ve seen far too many people trudge round on appointment after appointment, or from phone call to phone call looking and sounding like they’re terminally depressed! Not many people are going to buy from you in that state, are they?!!
If you pick up the phone or walk into a meeting expecting the other person to say ‘call me back after Christmas’ then guess what you’re probably going to get in most cases? You guessed it!….
If you’re in a competitive market you can bet that the buyer or decision maker is talking to other suppliers. And all it takes is for the salesperson at one of those companies to be better at dealing with the ‘Christmas‘ objections than you are…..then when you ring back in January they’ve bought! But off someone else….
The decision maker might say ‘oh we went with xyz firm because they had a better proposal’ or ‘we went with abc because they have us a cheaper price’……but in most cases what they mean is ‘we went with xyz because they dealt with the ‘Christmas’ objections better than you did….and that won them the business’.
Now that you’re aware that’s often the case, you’re not going to let that happen to you in future…are you?
Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..
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