By Jeff Shore

Overcoming objections ladder

Is it a “Must Have” or a “Nice to Have”?

The fact of the matter is that compromise is a part of every purchase decision. Every single one.

There is no such thing as perfect – ever. When I’m buying a product, I am subconsciously seeking to determine my acceptable level of compromise.

You cannot tell me that everybody is driving their perfect car. You cannot tell me that everybody is wearing exactly the design of clothes they want to wear – or that they’re living in their dream home. Everyone’s ideal is constrained (usually by their budget).

The bottom line is that everyone compromises. Everyone buys the most that they can afford in their budget, but doing so often involves settling for less than the ideal.

Suppose I’m looking to buy a car. The key question I need to ask myself is what is most important to me? The answer to this question is crucial because it is unlikely I’m going to get everything I want (because I can’t afford everything I want!).

So, I start separating out the difference between my needs and my wants. This is a “must have”; this is a “nice to have”. Going through this process will help me make a purchase with acceptable compromises. Hopefully I can get all my “must haves” and even a couple of my “nice to haves”.

This is a key process that we, as salespeople, need to help our customers understand.

When we’re dealing with a customer who is raising an objection, we need to realize that their objection is usually the difference between their ideal and their perception of your offering. You are offering this but they want that. The gap between the two is where their objection is found.

What we are dealing with is the customer’s hierarchy of needs. Every client has an unwritten, undefined hierarchy of needs, and the best salespeople make it their job to help their customers prioritize their needs and their wants.

This is where the “Can You Live with It?” technique comes in. If your customer has absolute “must haves” that your product does not offer, you simply do not have a sale. No amount of amazing sales strategies is going to make any difference. It’s a deal-killer

But often your offering meets all their “must haves,” and yet comes up short of the “nice to haves.” This is where the “Can You Live With It?” question must be utilized.

For example, if I said to a customer, “OK, you’re looking to buy a car, and you said you had to have this, this and this. I’ve got that car. But you also said you’d like to have this, this and this. A rear-view camera is not something you had to have but is something you said you’d like to have. You also mentioned that air-conditioned seats would be nice. So, here’s the question. If I found you the car that you want, and it had the rear-view camera but it didn’t have the air-conditioned seats, is that something you could live with”?

What I’m doing here is helping my customer clarify their value set – to clarify their needs and priorities. I want them to look back at their purchase and say they got what really mattered to them.

If you can do that, you are providing your customer with a fantastic buying experience.

Again, compromise always happens. But using the “Can You Live with It?” technique almost always leads to a satisfied customer.