“Your ATM card does not have my name and account number on it,” the new customer complains. My other big bank does. “Here. You, see?” (He shows him) The sales person knows the truth. His bank does not have a printer to emboss the client details on it; truth is, being new in this retail space, they can’t afford it. Yet. So skillfully, he overcomes his start-ups limitations as objections. He outlines the situation: “It’s actually deliberate that we don’t. Our research shows that it’s a security risk. It’s for your safety that we don’t advertise your name and account number for all to see.” The customer is pleasantly surprised and the glint in his eyes shows it. Silently he muses: unlike the big banks these guys (sic) actually care. Audibly he voices, “That actually makes sense. I’ve never thought of it like that.”
In the dynamic world of start-up businesses, salespeople and entrepreneurs often encounter various limitations and challenges that can hinder their selling efforts. However, these obstacles can be transformed into opportunities when handled skillfully as objections. By adopting an informative and persuasive approach, salespeople can navigate through the complexities of the start-up landscape. And in doing so, successfully overcome these limitations to drive sales and business growth.
No, it’s not lying.
But that sales person lied, you say. ‘Why not just say you don’t have a printer and you will be acquiring one as you grow?’ Well, first of, handling objections is not lying; it’s getting the buyer to see what appears as a stumbling block in a different, more illuminating, light. Secondly, if you continually believe that it’s lying, inevitably it will impede your selling. If in doubt, ask any entrepreneur or sales person you admire. You see, the buyer is already skeptical about your abilities and likely holds you in low esteem; he doubts your capability. Now, if you continue agreeing with his stance, you will unlikely change, but, more likely, just give energy to, it. And you lose to the bigger bank (as in the illustration shared).
Also, think of the sales person selling for the high-net-worth investment firm that has only recently opened its doors in Kenya. To the objection, “I’ve never heard of you. Why should I trust you with my money?” Do you want to (truthfully) respond, “You’ve not heard of us because we are new in the country but growing?” Or, (defensively), state, “We advertise on NTV Business. Have you not seen us?” Good luck with either response. Personally, I’d recommend, this: “I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of us. We are the best kept secret and value confidentiality as much as you do. Here, let me show you how you benefit from not being one of many, but one of a kind…”
Sales people should be prudent risk mitigators.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, what’s the risk involved? What is the risk involved when the ATM card is not emblazoned with the customer’s name? For all intents and purposes, it works just as any other (printed) ATM card. You can even go ahead and show the customer so, by asking him to test it at the ATM machine. Sometimes though, when the risk is considerably higher, transparency can help. As such, salespeople should remind both themselves and potential customers to evaluate and mitigate the risks associated with the limitations of the start-up.
For instance, imagine you are selling for a start-up offering an innovative payment processing system. You can advise potential customers to conduct a thorough analysis of your system’s compatibility with their existing infrastructure and evaluate any potential integration challenges. The same applies if you are a start-up logistics company selling to a blue-chip giant manufacturer. You can invite them to inspect your premises. A much better approach than proactively acquiescing to Goliath’s belittlement of David. By acknowledging the risks and guiding customers through the evaluation process, you demonstrate transparency and position yourself as a trusted advisor who prioritizes the customer’s long-term success.
Offer benefits and adaptability to overcome start-up limitations as objections
Now then. Features tell, benefits sell. Buyers tend to question the features of the start-up yet they buy benefits. “But unlike X who are bigger than you, you don’t have Y and Z.” True. You don’t. So, whereas you are limited on features, overcome start-up limitations as objections, highlight benefits and emphasize your start-up’s adaptability.
For example, imagine you are a salesperson representing a start-up that provides a virtual event platform. One limitation you might face is the perception that, “Virtual events lack the same level of engagement as in-person events”. In response, you can highlight how your platform incorporates interactive features such as live polls, Q&A sessions, and virtual networking rooms. By showcasing your start-up’s ability to create engaging and immersive virtual experiences, you instill confidence in potential customers, assuring them that their events can be just as impactful in the digital space. And significantly more cost effective. (Now you know why most listed companies have stuck with virtual AGMs post-Corona).
Share a story
Moving on. Facts tell, stories sell. Short stories or anecdotes can also be powerful tools to showcase how limitations can be turned into opportunities. For instance, if you an entrepreneur selling your AI-powered customer support solution, a common objection you might encounter is the fear that, “Implementing an AI solution will lead to job losses among human customer support agents”. To address this concern, you respond, “Your concern is common among similar institutions as yours that we have interreacted with. In fact, Wengine Ltd., and they don’t mind me sharing this, initially had the same apprehension. However, later they discovered that implementing the AI solution allowed their support agents to focus on complex issues. This resulted in improved customer satisfaction and increased efficiency.” This story highlights how the limitation of job displacement can be reframed as an opportunity for human agents to enhance their roles and deliver better customer experiences.
Overcome start-up limitations as objections
In conclusion. In overcoming limitations as objections, sales people in start-ups should provide compelling solutions and alternatives to potential customers. Here’s a final example. If you represent a start-up offering a software development platform, you can address the limitation of limited technical support by emphasizing your start-up’s extensive documentation, knowledge base, and vibrant community forums. By positioning these resources as valuable alternatives to traditional support channels, you showcase your start-up
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