More than half the time you hear the line, "I need home office approval," it's a lie. A stall tactic that frustrates and deceives. The challenge this objection presents is to find out if it's the truth (or true objection).
Ask the prospect pointed questions about the home office approval process:
- How long does it take?
- Does one person decide or is it a committee?
- If it's a committee, when do they meet?
- Can I submit a proposal?
- Do you have a sample proposal or suggested format?
- Can I contact the decision maker?
An excellent response from Barbara Skowronek of Sterling Electronics is this month's contest winner. She says, "No problem. I understand. Let's contact them right now while I'm here. That way I can answer any questions they might have." Her objective in making the appeal to call now is to determine if the prospect is telling the truth that home office approval is really needed. If the prospect tries to make some excuse why he can't call now, chances are home office approval is NOT needed. If you detect hesitation or uneasiness on the part of the prospect, he is probably lying.
Direct questions will expose a prospect. If you don't believe the prospect is being truthful, go back to the pitch and find out the real objection.
Whether the prospect is telling the truth or not, the key question to ask is, "Tell me, Mr. Prospect, if you didn't need home office approval, would you buy it?" If the prospect says yes, you have crossed the first bridge to making the sale with or without home office approval.
Look for ways around the problem. Sometimes the local manager has a discretionary budget, sometimes there is a dollar limit such that if you divide your invoice into several smaller ones, it might fly. Be creative.
OBJECTION PREVENTION... There are ways to avoid this objection. How well did you qualify the prospect prior to making the appointment? You should not ask the blunt question – "Are you the sole decision maker?" It sounds too "salesy," and somewhat insulting to the prospect. Just rephrase it. Try this one - "Is there anyone else you work with on situations (decisions) like this?" The object is to find out if anyone else is involved in the decision BEFORE you make your presentation.
The unfortunate aspect of this objection is that it's a convenient put-off for the prospect who doesn't want to (or have the guts to) just say no. It can be a large, disappointing wheel spinning exercise. Take heart, though. I've flown to many home offices and brought back paper.
Want to know the Seven Steps to Overcoming an Objection and the perfect response when the customer says, "I want to think it over"? Go to www.gitomer.com, register if you're a first timer user and enter the word OBJECTION in the GitBit box.
Tell me Mr. Prospect, if you didn't need home office approval, would you buy it?