Sales Conversations with Michael Levin “Author of: Sitting on the Same Side of the Table: The Art of Collaborative Selling” A New Perspective in Overcoming Objections and Closing More Sales: Part 5

July 12, 2018

In my last blog, we talked about the “C” in my LACE system for overcoming objections, handling questions and concerns.  In this blog, we’ll talk about the “E”.  It’s the last step to help you not only close more sales but more profitable sales.   Using this methodology was a key factor in helping me increase my sales close rate from roughly 33% to 75%.

The “E” stands for “Explore a Collaborative Solution”.  It follows the philosophy of my selling process.  It is about collaborating through open honest conversations to develop programs and solutions that both parties can be fully happy with.

What you don’t want to do is what traditionally happens when you get to this stage.  You don’t want to try and convince your customer that your perspective is correct or that their position doesn’t have merit.  You want to avoid trying to create a “right or wrong” position.  It’s about finding a place that is good for both of you.

By getting to this stage of fully understanding all their questions and concerns you have sought to understand before being understood.  That benefits you and your customer in a multitude of ways.  First, for you to help develop a mutually beneficial solution, information is critical.  By getting them to open up and share all of their questions and concerns, you are in a position to help guide them to the best possible conclusion for both of you.  You may also find that there isn’t a basis for doing business as well which may also be equally important.

This occurred for me with respect to one my prior businesses.  We had a business opportunity with Costco.  They were interested in bringing in two of our products.  The order was going to be substantial.  We had a very open honest conversation about BOTH of our questions and concerns.  What became apparent to us was that there was potentially too much risk as they said it had to be a national program. We would need to take back any product that didn’t sell.  We were a boutique company and while if we were successful it would have been tremendous, if our products didn’t sell it could put us at significant risk.

By addressing their questions and concerns, as well as ours, and collaborating to see if we could find a solution that was good for both of us, we came to realize it wasn’t the right time for us to work together.  We both agreed that was the case and they left the door open to come back anytime if we felt we were ready.  It was a healthy conversation versus a negotiation that led to a conclusion that was best for both of us.

When you try and explore a collaborative solution, it helps take negotiating out of the selling process.  Your goal in this stage is to help guide your customer to come to a decision and conclusion that both of you will like. I like to start this part of the process by continuing to ask questions and get their thoughts as to what they feel would be a good decision for both parties.  I’d rather get their input first before I give mine.

It helps from two perspectives.  First, you are better off and have a greater chance of closing the business if they provide the solution.  Secondly, their solution may be better for you than the one you would have suggested.

My feeling as well is the more I get them to talk, the better chance I have of closing business and, in all likelihood, more profitable business.  I also find it can be very difficult to be patient through this part of the process.  Our tendency can be to tell our customer what we think they should do.  If you continue to ask questions, I believe you will find your patience will be greatly rewarded.

I believe you’ll find, by using this philosophy and LACE Process, you’ll find “overcoming objections”, addressing questions and concerns and closing more sales will be dramatically easier.  Your sales close percentage will go up and you’ll have a much more open, positive productive relationship with your customer.