The problem for most people is that when they call those people back after the break, they either still haven’t made a decision, they give another excuse, or even worse, you can’t seem to get hold of those people ever again. If you’re anything like the hordes of people that ask me what to do about the summer holiday problem every year, you probably get it quite a lot.
So Why Do They Do It?
Why is it that the buyers and decision makers give us the summer holiday objection? There are various reasons for this. Sometimes, there’s a genuine reason why they can’t proceed with the order, or appointment, until after the summer break – perhaps a colleague is away that needs to be involved, perhaps there isn’t a budget until later in the year, perhaps even that the person is so focused on delivering existing projects, they just can’t even think about another one.
However as mentioned above – in a number of cases, decision makers use the summer holiday objection as a convenient way of getting salespeople and business owners to go away – and they keep using it because it works! Far too many salespeople and business owners fall for this objection, take the decision makers at their word – only to be surprised when they call back after the break and they can’t get hold of that person ever again!
Unless you learn to do something about the summer holiday objection, you’re going to suffer the same problem year after year. So here are some ideas for you:
Sales Tip Number 1 – Be Prepared
You know you’re going to start getting these sorts of objections from the end of June onwards so you need to prepare for them!
Why not consider how you’re going to deal with them and practice your responses? This means working out your objection handles, then practicing them with friends, colleagues or even in meetings with the rest of the sales team. The better prepared you are for when the objection comes up, the better you’ll deal with them.
Don’t leave this until the last few moments before your telephone call, client meeting – or even worse until you’re waiting in reception, do this in small chunks – a little bit at a time but done on a regular basis – that helps you remember and use the objection handles best.
Sales Tip Number 2 – Think About What They Really Mean
Often when the buyer or decision maker says the words “call me back after the summer holiday”, that phrase might have a different meaning than the one you’ve accepted at face value.
Let’s face it – if everyone who said those to you either met with you or bought from you in at the end of the break, then there wouldn’t be a problem, would there? So I’m talking here about the people that use that phrase, but then don’t seem to necessarily follow through afterwards.
Let’s think about this a little deeper – might some people use that phrase when actually what they really mean is “go away”? Or perhaps “you/your offering/the appointment isn’t important enough for me to look at right now?” As someone who originally trained as a professional buyer, I can guarantee you that’s the case!
Here’s a quick distinction – the more new business your telephone call or appointment is, the less rapport you have – therefore the likelihood of them fobbing you off is much higher. If you’re with an existing client you have personally a very good relationship with, it’s more likely that they’re telling the truth.
Sales Tip Number 3 – Make Your Call More Compelling
If you are making new business calls in the holiday period, make them more compelling!
Generally speaking, people will be busier as they’re either about to go on holiday, just back from holiday, or covering for someone else who’s on holiday. Whichever of those it is, they’re going to be time poor, so make sure your call is as good as it can be.
Take a closer look at your voice tonality and your message. Does it sound as though you and your call are important? Does the outcome that you are suggesting sound like a must do for the person receiving the call? What’s the conviction in your voice like? Is your close short and to the point?
The more compelling you make your call the more likely it is that you’ll get the outcome you want. The less compelling it is, the more likely you’ll fall for the summer holiday fob-off.
Sales Tip Number 4 – Ask Better Questions
Most people I meet struggle with asking good questions. Questions that get them the information that their competitors don’t, questions that elevate the perception of you in the decision maker’s eyes and questions that make the decision maker think.
Most people seem to think that the other person says call me after the summer holiday or something similar, that means that is the end of conversation/meeting. Not true. Before the end of this conversation or meeting you need to ask some more questions to get the information you need.
The most important thing to find out here is if they’re trying to fob us off, without asking or accusing them directly! There are a number of ways you can do this, but the important thing to find out here is the motivation or urgency behind the project – if you haven’t already of course!
If you can establish there are genuine reasons to put the order/project/appointment on hold until after the break, you’ve lessened your chances of being fobbed-off and it should be relatively easy to pick things up from where you left off come September.
If on the other hand, the decision maker doesn’t appear to give specific reasons for the delay, they don’t seem as interested/motivated as they were, or they seem to want to get rid of you as fast as possible, that’s a pretty big sign they’re trying to fob you off!
Sales Tip Number 5 – Have The Right Attitude
The attitude of the salesperson or business owner is also vital in getting the results that you want here. I’ve seen far too many people trudge round on appointment after appointment, or from phone call to phone call looking and sounding like they’re terminally depressed! Not many people are going to buy from you in that state, are they?
If you pick up the phone or walk into a meeting expecting the other person to say “call me back after the summer holiday” then guess what you’re probably going to get in most cases?
If you’re in a competitive market you can bet that the buyer or decision maker is talking to other suppliers, and all it takes is for the salesperson at one of those companies to be better at dealing with the summer holiday objection than you are…..then when you ring back in September they’ve bought off someone else!
The decision maker might say “oh we went with xyz firm because they had a better proposal” or “we went with abc because they have us a cheaper price” but in most cases what they mean is “we went with xyz because they dealt with the summer holiday objection better than you did and that won them the business”.
Now that you’re aware that’s often the case, you’re not going to let that happen to you in future are you?
Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on.