Unless you present your convictions and positions with authority, people will walk all over you.
I heard a call where a rep had the sale in the bag. The soon-to-be-customer, grasping for any last minute throw-in asked the rep, “How’s ’bout you guys pick up the delivery on this?”
I about leaped out of my chair when the rep hemmed and hawed, then said, “Well, we’re really not supposed to do that.”
Smelling blood, the customer spotted an opening: “Really not supposed to, but you do on occasion, right?”
“Uhhh, yeah, sometimes.”
“What cases are those?” inquired the customer
“When we need to get an order.”
The customer pounced. “OK. This is one of those situations. I’m a new customer, and this is what you need to get the order. You can explain that to anyone who would have to approve it, right?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
What caused this whole mess? Really. That’s it. Really. The word, “really.” And the rep’s hesitant tone of voice.
When you know you have a deal in hand, you’re faced with a request that is 90% nonnegotiable, or if you have a position that you feel deep down strongly about, it’s imperative that you give the impression that your stance is rock solid.
So what should this rep have said? Easy.
Prospect: “How’s ’bout you guys pick up the delivery on this?”
“(sincere tone) Wish I could. (Matter of factly) Delivery is just going to be $32 on this order. Which location do you want it shipped to?”
Notice there’s no apology for the shipping (“Well, shipping is a part of our cost and if we did it for you, whine, whine . . .”) It acknowledges the request, feeble as it might be, states a fact, the shipping price, then gets on to the business at hand, deflecting the person’s request.
You could even use humor. Act as if you didn’t take the comment seriously, and they’ll realize they weren’t serious about making it.
Present your positions with conviction, and you won’t have them challenged as often.