Hot Buttons and Objections – Normal/Regulators

My Chinese partner, Michael Chen, CEO of Zest Learning in China, has asked to write a series of blogs on what is the key hot button for each of the seven components and what are the likely objections such individuals are likely to provide during a sales call. We have dealt with the Politician or P component so now lets consider the next most common component in decision makers: the Normal/Regulator or N component.

Unlike the other six components that are genetically set in your temperament The Normal/Regulator component gets stronger as you mature. Typically in managers over 40 the Normal/Regulator is above average. The Normal/Regulator is driven by the desire for order. This desire results in the Normal/Regulator asking one dominant question when presented with a new proposal: “Who else is doing this?” Thus if you are representing a start-up it is almost impossible to secure co-operation and this is the main reason the most start-ups fail to get orders.

This objection falls into the category Your Proposition is Not Good Enough and it is very difficult in this case to overcome. A typical approach is to use the Benjamin Franklin Close where you list down the benefits of the proposal and allow your prospect (to be fair) to list off the objections. As a rule, the benefits outweigh the objections but for the Normal/Regulator the need for precedent outweighs all the benefits.

Normal/Regulators will give your proposal a technical grilling and be looking for logical flaws in your presentation. Your product knowledge must be accurate. If you do not know the answer to a technical question say you do not know but will find out. You will not lose esteem but will gain respect and improve your credibility, provided you do follow up with the answer.

Normal/Regulators are law-abiding and very ethical. This can be the basis of another objection: I Do Not Like Your Company. The Normal/Regulator may consider your company has an unethical reputation. The answer is to reference sell with overtly ethical current clients such as doctors or pharmacists.

Finally the Normal/Regulator will often raise the Price objection and ask for a discount. Not all Normal/Regulators ask for a discount but those with purchasing experience do. The Normal/Regulators have learned over time that if they ask for a discount they will get it from some salespeople. So asking for a discount has become a habit. Never give Normal/Regulators a discount, however, because surprisingly, they do not want it! Normal/Regulators have a keen sense of ethics. If you do offer them a discount too easily, they will wonder what the last customer obtained and whether the price book changes for each client. If you refuse to provide a discount and accompany the refusal with a short explanation of how your company treats all clients the same and none is offered a discount, the explanation will be accepted with relief. You will, in fact, improve your credibility as you and your company will appear sound and ethical.


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Chris Golis - Author


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