How to Teach Youth to Sell – Overcome Objections

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figure_jump_objections_13901This is a fifth of a six-part series on how to teach youth to sell. While we are using Boy Scout Popcorn Sales as the example in this series, these steps can be used in any sale.

Part 1 – Discover the Goal
Part 2 – Know your product
Part 3 – Create a Sales Plan
Part 4 – Create a pitch (Marketing)
Part 5 – Overcome Objections
Part 6 – Close

Let’s face it. Your Scout may do everything right. He made a goal, knows all of the products and prices, made a plan on when and how he going to sell, and memorized his sales script. He gets to the door and the person on the other side says no for whatever reason.

I find this moment is what Scouting is all about. It is the opportunity for me to have an honest conversation with my son. This is a teaching moment many parents wish they had with their son, but never have the opportunity. I have the advantage of being able to do this with my son every year because of popcorn sales. It is an opportunity to meet people you do not know, listen to what they have to say, empathize with them and convince them to purchase what you have to offer.

When my son first started to sell popcorn, we would stop after each person who said ‘no’ and review what happened. We tried to make a distinction on whether the reason the person said no was because of something he may have said (or not said) or if it was a person who really was just not wanting the product. We know popcorn sales is a numbers game. Every no you receive gets you closer to a yes and often times a bigger yes. We will talk about that in a moment.

Many times the person will not say no but instead give an objection. Remember an objection is not a ‘no’. The ability to overcome objections a customer may have is the sign of a good salesperson.  Usually when a customer has an objection, what they really are saying is ‘I need more information’.  Below are some common objections my son and I have heard over the past several years and possible responses to those objections:

I cannot eat popcorn…

That is OK. You can still support us and the Military by buying popcorn to send to troops overseas.  Popcorn also makes a great gift for someone else.  We also have Pretzels you may like. Which one works best for you?

Popcorn is not healthy…

Many snack foods can have lots of fat, but many of our products have less than half the calories of potato or corn chips.  Plus, popcorn is high in fiber.  Which one would you like?

The price is too high…

You are right.  The price is about the same as buying popcorn at the movies.  However, 70% of the proceeds go back to local Scouting, so you can feel good about buying the product and helping your local community.  Which one would you like?

We already bought popcorn…

Great and Thank You!  After trying the product, many of my customers find they would like to send some to family, friends or to military troops overseas.  Who would you like to send popcorn to?

I do not have any money on me…

That is OK.  We take all major debit/credit cards.  Which one would you like?

I am allergic to nuts…

I am sorry to hear that.  I have a relative/friend that has a similar issue.  They help me out by placing an order for our Military troops overseas and in VA hospitals.  What product would you like to order for our troops?

I do not support the Boy Scouts…

Thank you very much for listening to me.  Have a good day.

As you can see, not every objection can be overcome.  However, it is important to be polite and represent the brand of the Boy Scouts. You will also notice each response again asks for the sale. We will talk more about this next week.

There are times when a person is just plain rude. My son has come to love this situation because he knows what happens next. We had an incident occur at a storefront a couple of years ago. My son was with another Scout at a storefront selling popcorn. As a woman exited the store, my son went up to her and said “Excuse me ma’am. I am selling……” That is when the woman went off on my son. She started in on how the Boy Scouts was a program which discriminated against others and the Girl Scouts didn’t. She stated (loudly) she would never support boys, only girls. I was so proud of my son that day. He stood there, looked straight in the eye and listened to everything she had to say. When she was done he said, “Thank you for listening to me. Have a nice day.” This seemed to stun the woman and she stormed off. What happened next is the amazing part. A 50-something year-old man in a motorcycle outfit witnessed the entire conversation. He came over to my son and said, “I really liked the way you handled yourself with that rude woman. What can I get for $100?” Throughout the years I have seen this same scenario play out time and again.

Understand there are discourteous people in the world and your son and you will run across them on occasion. However, this is a great time to teach your son how to respond to people who act in this manner.

These are just some ideas as to how to respond to customers when they present you with an objection. Remember it is important to listen to what the customer has to say and respond in a manner which is courteous and with the intent of answering their questions. Overcoming objections is a teaching moment for adults and youth which will bring lasting benefits in years to come.

Part 6 – Close

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