this section we will bring you a brief, easy to do tip
every month and then archive them over time to build
up an extensive reference library for you.
all been here - we've paid a visit, by appointment,
to a prospective client, gone through our presentation,
asked all the right questions and provided excellent
answers and waited for a response, only to be told that
the prospect wants to "think it over" before
making a decision.
same can be said for meeting with an existing client
(or discussing this with them on the telephone) to talk
about a new service that your firm could offer, that
the client would benefit from.
believe a "no" is not a definite or permanent
state of mind, it's more like a "no, not yet"
- perseverence pays huge dividends. While many "nos"
are indeed a "no, not yet", the concept of
getting objections out in the open and not wasting your
time if they are fundamentally insurmountable at an
early stage is a good idea.
We use the "Think It Over" (TIO) policy ourselves,
often when an irritatingly persistent sales representative
from a newspaper advertising sales office calls. We
know when we say it that we really mean "no".
So why do we believe that at "think it over"
response from our own prospects would be any different?
Well, I'll tell you. It's because the advertising usually
offers us no benefits whatsoever, yet we believe in
what we do for our clients, that we genuinely help them,
that by using our firm, they are far better for the
experience and the quality of service we provide. We
can help them grow their business, raise capital, save
them tax, produce their financial statements faster
than they presently get them, etc, etc...
it's certain you and your people, at some time or another,
have been on the wrong end of that TIO sentence. And
every time you hear it, you fall victim to the biggest
time-waster plaguing accounting firms everywhere.
do we encounter it so often? Well, many prospects think
it's the easiest way to get rid of you so they can focus
on more immediate opportunities and concerns. If that's
the case, then you really need to qualify your prospects
much better before meeting with them, and eliminate
these to begin with.
But that's not the only reason we find ourselves in
front of a TIO.
well-meaning people just hate to say no. But most of
all, accounting professionals have a real problem asking
prospects to make a decision during a sales presentation,
largely because we don't want to be told "no".
we permit prospects to drag us through the purgatory
of alternating hope and despair. And even though 95%
of all TIOs will never result in any business, human
nature compels us to hang on in hopes that, this time,
things will finally go our way.
end result: we waste valuable time and resources waiting
for a sale that ain't gonna happen. TIOs make it take
forever to get to "no", which permits the
prospect to steal your valuable time.
we must learn how to respond to TIOs.
Better yet, we can stop the TIO from happening in the
first place. If a prospective client is not convinced
of a strong compelling reason to use your firm today,
then they will put you off indefinitely in favor of
priorities that have more immediate impact on their
business and personal situation. So why not get straight
to "no" in the first place and save everyone's
how to eliminate TIOs.
critical that you make your customer understand they
have two distinct and equal choices at every meeting,
and that you are comfortable with either.
Tell them up-front that at the end of the meeting you
will agree upon a course of action:
there is no fit between your companies, or no real
benefit to the prospective client, you will say
thanks and part as friends, or
they decide that it is worthwhile continuing the
discussion you will then lay out the next steps
A strong agreement like this - made up front
- will ensure the customer is comfortable telling
you "no" and will not feel compelled to
string you along.
take this expectation into each step of the sales process:
your prospect must convince you that there is a reason
for your continued involvement. The TIO can pop up at
any stage in the process, so if you're having any doubts
that there's a reason for the two of you to do business
together, tell the prospect. Then let him or her convince
you why you should stay involved.
all, what's a "no" worth? Just the most valuable
thing you possess: your time.
2009, MFA Group Inc. All rights reserved.