1. Harris told Houston that he needed a couple of weeks to think about his proposal. How should Houston handle this?
Harris is using what is called a time objection also known as stalling technique. In this particular case study Harris already has the need fulfilled by a different supplier and while they have had a few late deliveries Harris need to determine if it worth going through all of the work to get set up a new vendor. The time objection is often one of the hardest objections to gauge because it can mean many different things. In certain cases changing product can be a major process and can be very time consuming. With such a major change it is understandable that buyers want to take some time to think about the decision before committing and revamping everything. If this is the case it is still a scary situation because even if the buyer was initially giving the product serious thought, two weeks and millions of distraction can dampen the excitement.
In other cases however the time objection is used as a passive way of saying no. In many situations buyer will use the time objection because they know that if they can get off the phone or out of the meeting that it will be easy to avoid the situation at a later date. In my own personal life I have received the time objection more times than I can count and just like the course text said I believed that every time a buyer would tell me they needed time I felt they were going to buy. There was a while when I doing product placement for a company and I attempted to reach a buyer at Dollar General for over a month and I finally got ahold of him. I laid my pitch on thick and he seemed very intrigued, but asked me to call him back in a week so he could think about it. I must have called 400 times after that and was never able to get ahold of the buyer again.
2. What should Houston have done during the sales presentation when Harris told him that he needed to think it over?
Houston’s first step should be to uncover the reasoning behind the time objection and if possible resolve any remaining objections that Harris may have. After uncovering any further objections and gaining an understanding of where Harris sits, Houston could begin to press and push for a sense of urgency. If Harris did not have any doubts there would be no need for a two week period to think. Pushing can be a sensitive task because if Houston pushes too hard he could destroy his relationship and his chance of doing business with the buyer. If all else fails and the buyer insists on taking time to think Houston should establish a firm follow up appointment as soon as possible.
3. What techniques should Houston have used to overcome the fore stalling tactic? There are certain times in which it is impossible to prevent forestalling, but there are things a sales person can do to try and prevent objections. Utilizing the LAARC method gives is a good step in combating resistance and objections. The LAARC methods uses five steps to avoid objections which are to listen, acknowledge, assess, respond and confirm. Listening is always the most important part of sales. Buyer will often tell you exactly what they are looking for if you keep you mouth shut and listen. Active listening shows respect as well as arms a sales person will exactly what the buyer is looking for.
Part of active listening is acknowledging what a buyer is saying. If you acknowledge that it proves that not only are you listening but you are understanding. Assessment is carefully considering the words of the buyer and tailoring your presentation based on the assessment. Responding is taking all that you absorb through listening, acknowledging, and assessing and responding in a manner that connects the buyers needs that to your sales presentation. Confirming is the final steps when you ensure that the buyer understands why the product if the perfect fit for his needs.