The "What-If" Technique

Today, we’re going to learn an important technique. Until now, we’ll learn the importance of accepting the customer’s objections and when we’re not ready to make the sale, we’re not ready to close with the customer, to develop the conversation in order to get more information and to improve the level, to increase the level of our chemistry and personal rapport to the customer.

What happens when you want to sell?

When we feel that we have all the information, we're close enough and we just want to take the money and continue. We’re going to close the deal.

One of the most important technique is the “if, then” technique. In order to learn it, I’ll need your imagination. Imagine that you’re in a small boat and you want to sail down a narrow river down to a point where there’s a gold treasure that you want to take. There are two types of obstacles in this river. One of them, there are some rocks, big rocks, very sharp rocks along your way, along your path. You don’t want to crash on them. All you want to do is to bypass and to go down towards the treasure of gold. But down there, there’s a big wooden log that is blocking your way. You cannot bypass it. You have to be tricky. You have to find a way to overcome it in order to get to your treasure of gold.

This example actually demonstrates something about two types of customer objection. You have real objections, this wooden log that is blocking away and also unreal objections, these rocks that might interfere in your path, in your journey. But if you fade away to avoid touching them, you can continue along your way until the real objection, until the real problem that is blocking your way.

What is the challenge?

The challenge is to know whether the customer’s objection is a real objection or it’s a false objection. If you’re going to crash on the false objection, you’re going to lose energy. Your customer will lose energy. You will reach the point where you’ll need your skills and energy whether it’s real objection blocking your way. Both of you might not have enough power, enough energy to continue.

It’s very important to know that in the moment when you’re ready to make your sale and the customer presenting an objection first of all, you have to make sure that it is a real objection.

How would you know?

Very simple. First of all, we have to accept any objection that is coming from the customer’s side. When we are re-evaluating the situation, we can present them an “if, then” question.

Let’s demonstrate it by some examples. Customer is saying, “It is very expensive.” Automatically, I’m accepting the objection by saying, “Well, I agree with you that it’s not the cheapest opportunity in the market.” And then, I have to check if it’s a real objection or it’s a false one, if it’s a rock or the wooden block. So, I’m asking them an “If, then” question:

“If you’ll be convinced that our offer, our solution is exactly what you need and it has all the benefits that you need in order to resolve your issue, would you buy it?” And I keep silent. And if they say "yes", it means it’s a REAL objection. This is the wooden block that blocks my way and I have to show them, I have to help them justify the investment or the expense. If they say, “No, I have to consult with my wife" I understand that’s NOT a real objection and it’s a waste of time now to justify right now the expense or the investment. I have to treat the “consult with my wife” objection.

Let’s demonstrate it with another objection. If the customer is saying, “Yeah but I don’t have the money” I’m telling them, “Well, I understand that you’re a little bit out of the budget, if you make sure that this is the right expense for you and actually have to change a little bit of your prioritization, would you do it?” And I keep silent. If the customer is saying “yes”, it’s a real objection. Let’s help them to justify the expense or to find different resources.

The customer is saying, “But I don’t have the money.” I’m telling them, “Well, I understand it’s not so easy lately. If we find a way to finance it or to divide the payment into three or four times, would it make it easier for you, sir?” And then, I shut up. If it’s a real objection, the customer will help me to find a way to finance this expense or this investment. If it’s not a real objection, it’s not the money or the budget issue, it will present another one. “Yes, but you know I still think it’s very expensive.” Okay, so it’s not the budget. It’s the value.

Another example, customer is saying, “Well, you know, I need to consult with my wife.” “It’s nice to see that your wife or your business partner’s opinion is important for you. Let me ask you a question. I understand that you really want to do it and if your wife will accept it, you’re going to make business with me?” And I shut up. If the customer is saying “Yes”, I’ll tell him, “Okay, let’s find some ways to convince your wife or let’s see how we can recruit your wife to do the effort.” If he said, “No, it’s not only that. You know we have to check out with the competition.” I understand, it’s not a real objection. We have another objection to deal with.

Let’s try, the customer is saying, “You know what, I think I’ll only check with the competition.” I will be saying, “I understand that it is an important decision for you. I accept the objection. Let me ask you a question. If you’ll be sure that our offer, our solution is exactly what you need and it’s actually better than the competition, better than any alterative, would you buy from us?” I shut up. Customer is saying “yes”. “Okay, let me now show you our benefits, our advantages on why we are the best offer in the market.” Customer is saying, “Well, it’s not only that. Also, I don’t know what.” I understand that I have to find the real objection.

What do we have in hand?

First of all, accept the objection. Before the point that I want to sell, I always develop a conversation with the customer as we learned in the previous lecture. If I’m at the point that they feel that I’m ready to close, I might check if the objection is real or false using the “if, then” technique.