Compelling Reason vs. ABL

I recently had two conversations (separated by about a week) with a business owner during which we talked about their business and some of the sales-related issues. During the first conversation, the owner told me about a specific situation where the prospect should have bought, but absolutely turned their brain off and gave the stupidest objection possible. The owner’s jaw dropped in shock when they heard the objection, but they took it and left without a sale. I made a suggestion that would have probably not only have re-opened discussions with the prospect, but also would have positioned the owner as someone who could get things done.

During the second conversation, I heard that business was OK. That the owner hadn’t tried my suggestion because it was outside the box and in the face of the prospect. I noticed other changes in the owner’s attitude that indicated that I was no longer getting the whole truth and my “ABL” light went on. (If you don’t remember ABL, check out the link before you go on.) So, I asked a question something like, “Mr. Owner, it sounds like everything is pretty much the way that you want it to be and I don’t see any reason why you would want my help with sales development.” Their response was, “I don’t have $10,000 to spend on sales training.” It wasn’t, “I don’t need help.” or “I won’t follow your suggestions.” or “What would I get for $10,000.” or “We have all the business that we can handle, so we don’t want to sell better.” or “I wish I could figure out how to afford the $10,000 because we really do need the help.” Somehow, they had decided that I would charge them $10,000 to work with me.

Two problems:

1.) We weren’t on second base. There was no compelling reason. There was no urgency. I did not have speed on bases. We hadn’t agreed to any evaluation. We didn’t know how much their problems were costing them. And…..they had not qualified to do business with me.

2.) Because of reason number one, I didn’t know what needed to be done, what to charge, etc. But…I do know one thing. I’d definitely charge a lot for the repetition factor. Remember, I’ve already made several suggestions to this owner that they chose to ignore (including giving them a referral which they asked for and never followed up on because they were too busy. Why ask for it if you’re too busy?). So, I would include a lot of money in my price to cover the fact that I was gonna have to tell them, remind them, follow up, tell them again to make sure that they did the things that they needed to do. So, if they choked on 10 they were definitely gonna gag on 20 or 50. I just sped up the process.

This owner’s business is reasonably successful. They’re happy. They usually feel good about where they are, but sometimes they wonder if it could be better and what it would take. Then they go back to work.

Some will. Some won’t. So what. Next. This person will probably never refer to me. I surely won’t refer to them because of the last one. We’ll both do fine.

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One thought on “Compelling Reason vs. ABL

  1. I am a little confused on this one. It seems that you were thrown off by an objection. Isn’t price a common objection? Shouldn’t you have just not answered that question and asked more questions that would have identified the cost to the prospect if they don’t improve their sales. In other words, why didn’t you ask your prospect what their sales were now and ask them what they think they could be if they could convert more customers or improve their prospecting skills? As you know, I’ve signed up for your training. I am going to do what you tell me to do because you are the master. But, the price is a lot for me. If you asked me 3 months ago when we started to get to know each other and before I started to believe what I really could be producing if I eliminated my sales weaknesses, I would have balked at 5, 10 or 20k. It isn’t until I understood that with your help, I can get a 10x return on my investment with you, that it was easy to justify. So, question for you… Isn’t it your job to ask the right questions that makes the prospect realize the cost of not hiring you? If so, why did you stop that process when they presumed that they couldn’t pay for it? I guess what I am just struggling with is when I should be leaving.

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