Perhaps the most frustrating call received by mangers is the person who just wants to shop your price. The call is usually abrupt; it ends without you sharing anything about your facility and with no chance to gather information to follow up. You may only have 30 seconds to appease the caller before they hang up and try elsewhere. Does this sound familiar? Here are a few tips on how to manage this difficult kind of call.
Your goal should be to first earn more time on the phone, so you can preserve the opportunity without losing the caller or relinquishing control of the conversation. You can effectively control a conversation without alienating the caller if you are prepared. It requires discipline, but with the right series of questions you can fully engage tough inquiries, get what you need to appease the caller, and get the necessary information needed to capture the business.
By following these few guidelines and asking these specific questions up front you enhance the likelihood of turning the conversation in your favor quickly. Good questions drive the conversation and they produce good outcomes. While I prefer open-ended questions to cultivate conversation and determine a prospect’s story, I recommend the following questions to assume control when in this type of situation. The first four are designed to quickly size up the situation, while the last question is used to set yourself up to continue the exchange by hooking the caller’s curiosity.
These two questions are strategic ways to quickly demonstrate you must have certain information in order to give them what they want—an accurate price: “Are you storing for business or personal use?” and “Do you need indoor or drive-up storage?” These questions allow you to take control of the conversation; no matter the response, you can politely and professionally explain that you can’t help them without understanding their situation.
Your next two questions will maintain control of the conversation and allow you to gain insights into their situation and perhaps their story and true needs. They are: “What are you storing?” and “When do you need it?”
By using these very specific questions right from the beginning you establish control, gather critical information, and validate your line of questions. You could come up with some more quality questions that will help you down this path, but those four are the essential questions that accomplish your minimum goals quickly.
The last question will largely determine whether you will get to carry on the conversation or if an abrupt end may follow. If you have made it this far, try one of these last two questions to see if you can reel in the deal. The caller again asks you for a price. Respond with: “Do you want my best price or the best value we offer?” This one gets them thinking every time! If they say just give me a price again, rest assured they are shopping hard and probably looking for a short-term solution. If they ask for the best value, you have them!
Asking questions is always the key. Questions enable you to strike that critical balance between sales with service. That is why I believe you should always try to serve more in order to sell more.