I’m amazed how many canvassers are still engaging in the ping pong game with prospects. You know the game. It’s where you make an offer for ‘free estimate’ and the prospect makes an objection, then you make a rebuttal and the prospect offers another objection… and it goes on and on until final (inevitably) the prospect gets frustrated slams down their proverbial ping pong paddle and quits the game. And after all that heated dialogue the canvasser walks away with neither a lead or appointment, only another rejection. They also reinforce in the prospect they hate talking to sales people and they’ll be even less likely to open the front door the next time you canvass at their door. The prospect will look through the peep hole, see salesman written across your forehead shut the blinds, lock the door and huddle to a fetal position in the corner of the room ignoring your knocks hoping you’ll go away like the boogie man in their worst nightmares.
The back and forth rebuttal game (what I call the ping pong game) is as old as my dad’s flip phone. It works, but nowhere nearly as well as my more modern, more natural approach.
The title of this article is ‘Eliminating Objections Forever’ and, if you’ve knock on doors for more than an hour you’re already cynical to canvassing and more than likely thinking my title (and the content of this article) is pie in the sky dreaming. IT’S NOT! And I have private clients using what I’m about to share every day. They have been for more than 4 years and they’re doubling, tripling, even quadrupling their business. All stress free and free of the dreaded, timeless rebuttal game.
If you’re tired of getting the same results, failing 90% of the time then you’re reading the right article.
The first thing is to change your mind set about what you do on the canvass call. If you’re a seasoned canvasser or face to face marketer you’ve created a mental and psychological barrier to galvanize yourself from the continual rejection you get from prospects. Here’s the problem with that… you’re on defense the moment you head up the sidewalk to the front door. You have to get off defense and get on offense. You only can score when you’re on offense and in control of the interaction with the prospect. When you’re on defense you project it to your prospect and automatically put them on defense. You get exactly what you project to prospects. Your body language, demeanor and even the tone and pace of your voice projects all the wrong signals. You might as well stamp salesman on your forehead.
Your communication with the prospect begins before they open the door and if they see or suspect you to be a salesman they immediately go on the defense. When you start your presentation with, “Hi I’m ____________, with ABC Company…” you validate their perception and your gaining that prospect as a lead or appointment is an all uphill battle from that moment forward.
When the old methods don’t work it’s time to take a new direction. My private clients who are adopting my new methods are getting 4-5 times more leads and appointment to sales. I changed the game over 4 years ago so the numbers aren’t based only on theory, but backed by experience.
Let’s look at where the breakdowns are in the old school canvassing methods. I’ve identified 4 areas where the old systems run up against resistance:
- Resistance in the introduction
- Objections in getting the prospect’s contact information
- Stalls and resistance on setting appointments
- Eliminate cancellations (after appointments are set)
Resistance in the introduction:
When the prospect gets to their door and realizes you’re not a neighbor, friend or relative, but a stranger the first label they give you is salesperson. People are bombarded by sales messages all day long. When their ‘salesperson’ radar goes off then up goes their guard. So before you can say anything the prospect is in a mental and psychological state of resistance. As a canvasser you’re also burdened by the fact the prospect has had others come to their door and want to sell them something. Your first objective is to break through this barrier. You have to say and do something that is total unexpected.
Any and every objection you’ll get during your introduction can be defined in 1 of 3 categories:
- Time (we don’t have the time)
- Money (we don’t have the money)
- Pass the buck (my spouse takes care of making those decisions and he/she is not here)
With the old school offer of a free estimate you will get these 3 objections in one form or another. Unfortunately, there’s no rebuttal good enough to overcome any of those objections. You have to offer something that takes these 3 objections out of play from the beginning. My system replaces the free estimate offer with a free information guide. A free estimate projects the idea that at some point they’re going to be asked to spend money. An information guide offers information… no attached sales presentation. A canvasser who offers a free estimate is perceived as a salesperson, even though many don’t sell anything at the door. A canvasser offering an information guide is perceived as an order taker.
Your introduction isn’t trying to put a person into an appointment, you’re simply offering to send them free information about the product or service you represent. The scripting is formulated in such a way it takes away those 3 objections; no time, no money or no authority.
Canvassing large in part has lost its direction. Companies are experiencing such poor results from their canvassing efforts because so many are asking their canvassers to do too much. The canvasser’s objective is to capture leads and set appointments, not sell products and services. When the canvasser offers a free estimate they’re in essence having to sell the product or service. In some cases it sparks the prospect to ask product/service specific questions which the canvasser is neither prepared or qualified to answer. Those are sales conversations, not lead capture conversations. On a more micro level the canvasser’s objective is to get attention, focus and lower the prospect’s guard.
My scripting grabs their attention; it breaks their concentration. It’s called a pattern interrupt. My first question asks them if they know a person or place. It breaks their thought pattern (of you’re a salesperson) and grabs their attention. It then forces them to focus on the answer, yes or no I know that person or place. And lastly, while I’ve gained their attention and have them focused on me I offer them something totally unexpected and so harmless and requiring no commitment other than to answer yes or no to all my questions.
The 2 most powerful words in my script are the ‘if and when’. Those 2 words take money, time and responsibility completely out of the equation. The traditional canvassing offers require the prospect to be okay with the idea that at some point in the relationship and communication with your company they’re going to have to say yes or no to spending money. That’s a decision people are uncomfortable committing to at this point in their relationship with you. It’s like committing your daughter’s hand in marriage before she’s ever born, to a boy you’ve never met or know. It’s an awkward, uncomfortable relationship to say the least. The canvasser must earn the right for the company to eventually ask the prospect for money in exchange for their product or service. First though you have to establish the relationship.
Additionally, changing your position from salesperson to order taker whose only responsibility is to make sure they send out the right free information takes the pressure of the prospect, but also off the canvasser who isn’t having to overcome all those obstacles, objections and stalls. I titled this article, ‘Eliminating Objections Forever’ and I promised I’d show you how (whether you believed me or not) and that’s what I do in offering information first in the presentation.
90% of all the objections and resistance occur in the first 45 seconds of the canvassing presentation. My method eliminates 99% of all those objections. Not only are my clients experiencing 4-5 times more leads and appointments to sale, their canvassers are working more stress free, being more productive, are happier and staying in the position and with the company longer. Not only has it increased production it’s decreased turnover significantly. It’s no wonder people leave canvassing almost as fast as they enter it. Not everyone is conditioned to handle such high levels of stress and rejection. They no longer have to sell the appointment; they assume the order.
I encourage you to listen to my live Silver Telecoaching call from May 11, 2016. I offer a number of different role playing examples with my introduction script using different products and services so you can see how I adapt it based not only on the products and services, but also the canvassing situations.
Objections in getting the prospect’s contact information
The second breakdown in old school methods is how the prospect’s contact information is captured. If it’s not enough of a struggle to get the prospect past the introduction with traditional methods, you then have to capture their personal contact information including phone number and email addresses.
Contact information capture with my method is virtually automatic for the prospect to give it up. Because they’ve agreed to let me send them my information guide it’s only natural I have their contact information so it can be sent to them.
During my introduction I give the impression the guide will be mailed to them. I never say it will be mailed though the prospect assumes it will be. This justifies my asking for their mailing address. I use my Rule of 6 method for capturing their mailing address. If you’re not familiar with my Rule of 6 you there is detailed articles in The Canvass King archives where I discuss it in detail. You can also listen to the live call where I present it more quickly.
Once I have their mailing address I transition into capturing their phone number and email address. Should a prospect question why I would need their phone number it’s easily justified by the fact that we want to be able to follow up with them to make sure they received the guide we promised them.
Email addresses however can be a bit more of an obstacle for the prospect to give up than their phone number. Because they assume I’ll send them a physically printed guide in the mail some question why then I need their email address. I justify this by explaining that we’re a ‘green’ company and prefer to email it to them. This way we respect and do our part to preserve the environment plus they’ll receive it more quickly and conveniently.
You can hear more detail on how I capture the prospect’s full contact information on the live Silver Telecoaching call. If you’re a silver level member or higher you’ll be receiving an audio CD of the live call. If you’re not a member you can rectify that by going to www.CanvassKing.com/SilverProgram.
I’ll continue this discussion in next month’s article on the last 2 obstacles, stalls and resistance on setting appointments and eliminating appointment cancellations
I remain committed to your canvassing success,
Chris Thompson, The Canvass King