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When Your Chief Competitor is Indifference

Dealing with Indifference

One of the most common objections faced by sales professionals is one of the easiest for customers to use. It generally comes up during the very beginning of a sales process when a customer claims to simply have no desire in a company’s product or service. This objection is indifference. It is when a customer doesn’t care and sees no need to change the status quo. What does indifference sound like?

“We’re perfectly happy with our current provider and have no desire to change.

“Not right now.  Check back with me in a year as things may have changed by then.”

“I received all your material and have your contact information.  Should we review it and decide to proceed, we will give you a call.”

“We already have a solution in place and don’t plan on evaluating any new ones.”

“Uh… I don’t mean to cut you off but we’re just not interested in any right now.  Thank you.” *click*

“Not unless you can beat out my wife’s company for the business and, at the end of the day, I have to go back home to her. No thanks!”

These roadblocks are generally thrown up before you even get a chance to hit your stride. Just when you finally get that elusive prospect on the phone, the door is slammed back in your face. 

When you hear a customer use indifference as an objection, what do you do? We suggest you reframe the objection by helping the customer understand the benefits they will receive or the risks they face. To counter indifference, you can also respond with evidence or information of which they may not be aware. To reframe, you have to use the following four steps:

  1. Question your customer to understand their reasoning or to determine if they are open to discussing your product or service
  2. Reframe the objection via close-ended questions to put them back in the right frame of mind
  3. Compare possible risks or benefits or use a FAB statement to provide contradictory evidence or missing information
  4. Question acceptance using closed questions

Here is an example of how this process works:

Customer: “Look, I appreciate this call but we’ve got a great deal with Kelso Manufacturing and don’t plan on changing suppliers.”

Sales Rep: “What information did you use to determine that their pricing is the best option for your company?” (Questioning)

Customer: “Well, from what I know, their prices are usually the best.”

Sales Rep: “Would you be willing to share with me the actually cost per unit?”

Customer: “I suppose it can’t hurt.  They charge us $37.50 per unit”

Sales Rep: “Are they requiring you to meet a specific volume commitment to receive that price?” (Reframe)

Customer: “Sure.  We have to commit to 10,000 per quarter.  That’s pretty standard.”

Sales Rep: “What if you could receive that same price, not face any drop-off in component value and yet cut your volume commitment in half?” (Compare)

Customer: “I didn’t think that was possible.”

Sales Rep: “Well, If it was possible, would it be of benefit to you to explore another option?” (Question Acceptance)

Customer: “Yes, it would.”

By asking a few simple questions and getting a customer to open up, indifference can usually be countered.  If you can get them to talk to you before the phone goes off the hook, questioning can get you on your way. Remember that if you don’t have any key data, you can’t uncover the true reason behind your customer’s objection.

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