Baseball season approaches. Well, shoot, it’s already here. Spring Training is in full swing. Here in Boston, romantics that we are (after the “2011 September collapse”), we have a new manager, some new players, and a new lease on baseball life.
I watched my first televised Boston Red Sox game this past week. After one opposition batter clobbered a fast ball into the outfield, the announcer said, “This [Red Sox] pitcher typically throws a fast ball in this situation, so the batter knew which pitch was coming, and he was ready.”
I’m thinking, “Well, for cryin’ out loud, guys, maybe our very wonderful Red Sox catcher could CHANGE the call… IN THIS SITUATION… so the batter does NOT know which pitch is coming, is NOT ready for the pitch, and perhaps, backs up when he sees it coming because he was SO not expecting the pitch?”
Speaking of ‘so not expecting:’ During February, I asked several companies in three c o m p l e t e l y unrelated industries to tell me the objections most frequently pitched to their salespeople. I was stunned to hear that they were the SAME in all three industries:
1. Your prices are too high
2. Your credit policies are too restrictive
3. Your sales reps turn over too frequently
4. I don’t see you’re that much different.
5. You’re a big company; you’re not responsive enough.
I also surprised to hear that many of their salespeople still stumble when their prospects and clients ‘throw these pitches.’ They almost back up when they hear them, like the “pitches” were a complete surprise.
Really? If we know what the next sales objection ‘pitch’ will be and where it likely will be aimed, shouldn’t we (like the batter in the game I watched last week) be able to relax, take a nice, meaty swing and take that baby deep?
One would think!
So, the first thing is to prepare through practice. Just like the batter in the above-mentioned situation should be thinking about hitting behind the runners rather than in front of them, so we as sales people should be thinking about how to address the ‘completely’ predictable sales objection pitches we may be thrown. We should have well-prepared strategies for each one of those “five fast ones.”
And it’s worth remembering that, unlike in baseball, our questions and remarks influence the objections ‘pitches’ our clients and prospects throw at us. Because some sales people seem to face these objection ‘pitches’ much more frequently than others.
Why? Well, they practically ASK for the pitches to be thrown.
For example, time after time, we have watched sales representatives call out the objection, “your price is too high,” by proposing a product and a price before establishing the explicit need and the value of a change or a solution.
So, like baseball players, we need to develop and practice strategies for hitting the predictable objection pitches when they’re thrown. But unlike baseball players, we need to learn NOT to call for these sales objection pitches by making mistakes like presenting product too soon.
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