Holidays are an excuse for decision makers to put buying decisions on hold. But the worst of them are the Christmas to New Year. “Call me back after the holidays,” and “Call me after the first of the year,” are two of the most hated phrases in sales. (They still rank behind “We’ve decided to buy from someone else,” “Your price is too high,” and “I want to think about it.”)
Call me after the holidays is not an objection. It’s worse. It’s a stall. Stalls are twice as bad as objections. When you get a stall, you have to somehow dance around it, and then you still must find the real objection or barrier before you can proceed.
Here are 11.5 clever lines and winning tactics to use that will help overcome the stall:
1. Close on the stall line. “What day after the first of the year would you want to take (would be most convenient to take) delivery?”
2. Firm it up, whenever it is. Ask, “When after the first of the year? Can I buy you the first breakfast of the new year?” Make a firm appointment.
3. If it’s just a call back, make the prospect put it on his calendar. Call backs must be appointed, or the other guy is never there when you call. Putting it in a calendar makes it a firm commitment.
4. Tell them about your resolutions. “I’ve made a New Year’s resolution that I’m not going to let great prospects like you, who really need our product/service, delay until after the first of the year. You know you need it.”
5. Offer incentives and alternatives. Create reasons not to delay. Buy now, invoice after the holiday. Order now, deliver after the holiday.
6. Question them about differences — and close them when they get there. “What will be different after the holidays? Will anything change over the holidays that will cause you not to buy?” (Prospect’s answer — “Oh no, no, no.”) “Great!” you say, “Let’s get you order in production (service scheduled) now, and we’ll deliver it after the holiday. When were you thinking of taking delivery (beginning).”
7. Agree. Then disagree. I know what you mean…lots of people want to wait. Most don’t realize that the money wasted/saved between now and the first of the year, will equate to a xx% savings if they buy now. Are you sure you want to waste the money?
8. Get a testimonial video. Ask someone who bought before the holidays and was glad they did to do a one-minute video about the value they received and how they originally wanted to wait and how happy they are that they didn’t. Videos with similar situations are a thousand times more powerful than your sales pitch.
9. Drop-in with holiday cheer. Use a small holiday plant or gift to get in the door. (No one says no to Santa — unless you live in Philadelphia. There they boo Santa.)
10. Create urgency. “The price will rise after the first,” or “There’s a product or delivery back-up after the first — schedule now.”
11. Be funny. Say, “So many people have said call me after the first that I’m booked until April. I do however, have a few openings before the first. How about it?” Making the other person laugh (smile) will go a long way towards getting past the stall. An alternative smile is “What holiday?”
11.5 Beg. Pleeeeaaase, I’ll be your best friend.
Reality check. The success with which this stall is able to handled is directly related to the quality of the relationship that’s been built with your prospect or customer. A good relationship allows more liberty to press for immediate action. A weak relationship will mean you wait until after the holiday. Or longer.
Prevention — the best cure. If you know this objection is coming, do something BEFORE it happens. Prevention of objections and stalls is the most obvious, most powerful, and least used sales technique. Here are a few prevention methods.
• Start in early November to create urgency.
• Set price raises in September to take effect January 1. Announce them right away and communicate them weekly into the holiday season.
• Create a holiday special. Have a five day sale in December.
• Offer December price incentives or special bonus incentives.
• Throw a holiday party. Invite prospects and customers, and offer them a “Tonight only deal.”
• Hold a series of seminars that are about important issues to your prospects and customers. Have the best one just before the holidays. Serve great food.
• Create an internal sales contest with a great prizes.
• Build relationships all year long.
The bottom line is — as sure as you’ll spend lots of money this holiday season, someone will ask you to call them after it’s over. When they do, don’t get mad, get creative. Don’t get frustrated, get a relationship.
Happy holidays. If you need more information on this subject, call me — after the first of the year. Ho, ho, ho.
» Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible”, “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless” “Customer Loyalty is Priceless”, “The Little Red Book of Selling”, “The Little Red Book of Sales Answers”, “The Little Black Book of Connections”, “The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude”, “The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way”, “The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching”, “The Little Teal Book of Trust”, “The Little Book of Leadership”, and “Social BOOM!” His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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