Being in competition, invites people to use the ambiguous objection that their problem is solved because they already have a supplier of your service, products or ideas. It is a good time to check how strong that relationship is and whether there are any flaws in it from the alternative supplier.
Here are some ways to answer this objection.
• Which of these are you utilising?
• Which of these could you implement?
• Which of these could you improve on?
Soft background questions are meant to help you ferret out the strength of the relationship. When you know that you are tactically stronger to continue the dialogue with the customer. Try these enterprising questions. Make sure you adapt them so you feel comfortable using your terminologies and words.
• How long have you been with your present supplier?
• How often do they see you?
• Do they only phone you when they want to sell you something?
• Do you only contact them when you have a problem?
• When was the last time you saw them or heard from them?
• When your supplier does call, is it to tell you good news, offer new services or share helpful ideas?
• Who instigates the meetings, you or them?
• What type of advice or help do they give you?
• Is the advice reactive or proactive?
• Would you refer other people to them?
• What do you like most about what they do for you?
• What do you like least about what they do for you?
Having established the value of the relationship then ask questions like:
• What sort of relationship would you like to have with your own personal supplier of our services?
• How would you improve your dealings with your supplier?
• What new things would you like your supplier to explain to you?
• What other areas of help and support do you want more information on?
• How often would you like to sit down and review your situation with your supplier?
• What’s your greatest concern for the future in your business?
• Does your current supplier deliver new knowledge and updated technical information on a regular basis?
Having found out the answers to these questions ask for the opportunity to help the person.
This means doing an initial fact find about their situation. It can be accomplished on the telephone, on -line or face to face.
• Mr Jones it would appear you are looking for some simple, but important fundamentals in a relationship with your chosen supplier. Let's begin the journey by having an initial discussion. When is the best time to catch up with you (offer a choice of times)?
• Having listened to your answers may I suggest that if I could provide those services you outlined would you be interested in allowing me to help you?
• Mr Jones, if you were to wave a magic wand over your current relationship with your existing service provider, what areas would you want improved, added to or changed to help you to (insert beneficial outcome)?
• John I assume like most people you like to be made aware of opportunities to save money, time and unnecessary expenses? That’s exactly what our free review and comparison service can help you do - save money and time for you.
• What is your definition of the ideal service arrangement for you?
• What could we do better for you?
• You can rest assured you now have the choice of your supplier or us to do the best for you. You can’t lose either way can you?
• Competition is a great thing, isn’t it? Why not split the order in two and see who performs best? That way you get the best of both worlds, don’t you?
May You Business Be - As You Plan It!
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.
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