Brain Battle (BB)

The Name of the Game
N.B. Synopsis of ProSell© Vet- Animal Health focused selling skills program- Copyrights Eyad Harfoush- 2006

Today, as we ended the approach and probing stages of the selling process, we will go to the name of the game of a selling call. That is benefits delivery, handling objections and the art of closing.

Delivering Benefits

It is also called “sales presentation” , “Body of the Call” and “Selling core”. Its objective is to turn customer’s interest into desire. Through delivering the added value of your products. To achieve this, your message should be phrased in the form of benefits set based on product’s feature set and competitive advantage. Surely you will not waste what you got from the previous stages, simply benefits should be phrased in relation to probing outcomes. If you succeeded to use customer’s own language phrasing the benefits according to his statements this will remarkably enhance his response.

Customers usually have some or all of these questions in mind. You need to answer most of these questions during your product presentation. Questions usually are:

  1. What are you selling ?
  2. Why do I need it ?
  3. Who else is using it? Are they satisfied?
  4. How does yours perform compared to alternatives?
  5. What is your record of support & service ?
  6. How much will it cost me ?

Remember that in Q no. "6" you are not going to state your selling price unless asked. However, you need to assure your customer about cost efficiency of the product. Now, it might seem easy. Nevertheless, I have seen in my professional life many senior salesmen and marketers who can not differentiate between features, advantages and benefits. To make life easier, above you can observe the table seeing the theoretical differences. Here, we present some examples of animal health products. Then we will see in details the possible attainable set of benefits in an animal health product.

Talking Animal Health Benefits


Large Animals:

Companion Animals:

Value of Evidence in Animal Health World
Whenever you have an evidence supporting one or more of your benefit claims try to highlight it to customer even without asking for it. It will give credibility not only to its related point/product. But to your presentation generally. In this regard you better note the following points:

Best evidence is regulatory or usage endorsement of leading entities e.g. FDA, USDA, FAO, OIE, EU approval …etc. Being proved unbiased entities it gives unequalled relief to any worries your customers retain about the product performance and safety aspects.

  • Second best is the third-party evidence e.g. universities, research institutes, NGOs …etc. Most important in the vet field will be the official reference laboratories.
  • Third is the manufacturer’s claim as far as manufacturer holds a reputation in the marketplace

Why an Objection Rises?

  • Contradiction of information that can happen when you give a claim while your customer has a previous evidence of a contradicting claim. This is actually one of the worse if it is evidence based from customers' side while not enough supported from your end.
  • Show-off knowledge attitude among some customers.
  • Psychological fear of making a decision and Psychological fear of being outsmarted
  • Hiding a reason that is unrelated to the objection raised. Like lack of financial capacity to buy your product. Most of customers will prefer to attack a point and not to say directly he can not afford it.
  • Habit to obtain more information. This is the simplest drive of an objection. You only need to give him what he needs. Even if unrelated.
  • Cost / benefit analysis.
  • Clarification needs, which is the most direct objections. When there is an area of misunderstanding.
  • Avoidance objections / hidden objections like a bad history with your former colleague who handled this account.

How to Handle an Objection?

  1. Listening: Even if you have a previous clue about his objection. Let him express his objection to the fullest extent. Do not try to interrupt or cut his objection.
  2. Clarifying: before all, make sure you understood the objection, ask questions for further clarification then repeat to your customer his objection as you understood it to make sure you are answering his concern not opening a new one.
  3. Smoothing objection: agreeing on a part with a “Yes .. But” technique is the best to smooth the sharpness of an objection and give your customer the impression of respecting his opinion.
  4. Answering objection: here where you respond to customer inquiry, answer his question or solve his problem. Several answering techniques will be discussed in the coming slides.
  5. Concluding & reaching consensus: rehearse what you explained to customer and directly answer if he is satisfied sorting out his objection / inquiry or problem.

Answering Techniques

1. Ignoring:
As a general rule, objections that can be ignored appear as part of another objection. Or combined with another objection, therefore it would not be unusual to answer one and let the other pass unnoticed. This technique can only be used with minor objections that is unrelated to product’s main message and presentation. It is extremely dangerous to pass a serious objection unanswered as it will be always there in customer’s mind.

Example: “yes but I think your Baycox® is too expensive plus I wonder if I will loose the immunity to coccidiosis after using it. Then my investment in vaccines is gone with the wind”

Answer: As you just said sir, with several anti-coccidial preparation you loose immunity built against coccidia. However what is unique about Baycox® is its mechanism working only on intra-cellular stages and sparing extra-cellular stages that gives immunity to flocks. Then with Baycox® your investment is secured. N.B. Baycox is a registered brand name for Bayer Healthcare. This claim is an example that is unnecessarily related to Bayer promotional claims

2. Indirect answer:
The ideal answering technique to be used after “Yes, but” smoothing. Can be like: “I don’t like that new feature” you then reply “ I didn’t like it when I first saw it. However once I got used to it, I saw how nicely it really works to save time and money”. Yet, it can't fit much in major objections and problematic cases. As indirect way may be perceived as manipulative.

Example: “I am convinced about the value of Pulmotil® controlling Mycoplasma, yet E.Coli is an important aspect of CCRD that is missing”

Answer: Sure doctor your point is a very valid one. I hared the same question from Dr Hanz With home we conducted a field trial on Pulmotil® after the trial, Dr Hanz was amazed how the tight control of MG and other respiratory organisms closes the door for CCRD even in existence of E. Coli. N.B. Pulmotil is a registered brand name for Elanco Animal Health. This claim is an example that is unnecessarily related to Elanco promotional claims

3. Compare to other alternatives:

Like comparing innovative technology to conventional methods, or comparing product to available competitor products in the market or comparing to total absence of the solution in case of unique products without alternatives.

Example: “ But why should I use Nutri-Tox® and not any other available anti-mycotoxins, knowing that all others are cheaper”
Answer: I agree there are several so called anti-mycotoxins on the commercial level. But I am afraid here we are not comparing apple to apple. Other silica-based anti-mycotoxins works only as a mechanical binder of the toxins. Needless to mention its power is limited with its surface area and this is why you will find very high inclusion rates. Comparison to Nutri-Tox® with its biological binding capacity plus other supportive roles will not be fair comparison considering that Nutri-Tox® is a patented technology for Agrarian Marketing Corporation.
N.B. Nutri-Tox is a registered brand name for Agrarian Marketing Corporation. This claim is an example that is unnecessarily related to manufacturer promotional claims

4. Delay:
If you don’t know the answer, ask for time to prepare it, find the data, write it down, and return to deliver it. Surely more acceptable when the question or objection includes sophisticated data, as for basic data it should be covered by product knowledge. Remember ... This is the only allowed technique whenever you do not have a solid answer.
Example: “And do you have any scientific evidence for using MTB-100® for pelleting and under temperature up to 90º C”
Answer: as a matter of fact I am sure it fits with pelleting process. Yet I will need to go back to the company confirming the temperature limits and getting you a copy of the related supporting documents. I promise to do this early next week if you allow me.
N.B. Baytril is a registered brand name for Bayer Healthcare. This claim is an example that is unnecessarily related to Bayer promotional claims

5. Handling Price Objection:

  • + +++++ Add up benefits.
  • +++++++ What he will miss
  • Company’s name, quality, research
  • Compare to hidden Costs
  • Divide cost

Example: “I am convinced about the value of enrofloxacillin, but why should I use Baytril® while I have several enro products that much more economic”

Answer by Adding up Value: I surely agree there are a lot of generic enro preparations that are essentially cheaper than Baytril® . Yet when we talk about Baytril® we are not talking about enrofloxacillin here, we are talking about the know-how that makes Baytril® reaching therapeutic concentrations in tissues very shortly after administered in drinking water.

Answer Magnifying what he will miss: Yes sir, using one of these preparations will save us few pounds, yet it will prevent the flock from the proven potency of Baytril®. I think you agree with me that loosing days under the infection stress is much bigger loss to care for these few pounds
Answer Magnifying Manufacturer’s Name and Quality: Yes but what these alternatives can never offer while Baytril® only can, is the assurance we get from the quality control measures of Bayer. Knowing that every unit we use is as efficient as it must be.

Answer comparing to hidden cost: I surely agree sir that economic aspect is one of the most important aspects. Yet, when we consider the no. of doses that will be required from generics to reach average result. As well as the prolonged duration of infection with generic that essentially lead to loosing performance we will find our economic interest much preserved with Baytril®
N.B. Baytril is a registered brand name for Bayer Healthcare. This claim is an example that is unnecessarily related to Bayer promotional claims

Art of Closing. Why?

  • Turn the customer’ s desire into active prescription, recommendation or purchase decision.
  • Engrave product name in customer’ s memory.
  • Without closing there is no sales. Because closing in direct selling calls means finalizing order or deal.
  • If you could not close, leave the door open for future contacts.

When to Close?

  • When the customer agrees, as noticed from buying signals / acceptance from customer.
  • When a major objection is handled satisfactorily. Assuming major part of the message is delivered.
  • After summation of benefits with a standard or “yes … yes” technique

And What is Buying Signals?

  • A positive statement such as:
    “ I like the idea of …………..”
    “ It sure does satisfy ……….”
    “ I will think about using …..”
    “ I will need to………………”
  • A positive question such as:
    “ When can you ……………...…”
    “ Does it…………………………..”
    “ Will it…………………………….”
    “ Can you get me ……………….”
  • A positive reaction such as:
    “ That’ s amazing…….”
    “ Let me try that………”
  • A positive body language like:
    •Head movement indicating acceptance.
    •Leaning forward with trunk and getting closer to detailing aid.
    •Catching the brochure and reading part of it slowly
    •Catching the product and stammering on it.

What Can be Considered an Acceptance?

  • Acceptance of the product itself.
  • Acceptance to use the product in only one indication.
  • Acceptance to use one form or another of the drug.
  • Acceptance to try the product.
  • Acceptance to stock the product in the farm / shop.
  • Agreement to place the product on the formulary or on a tender list.

How Can I Make a Close Efficiently?

1. Direct Close
Simply ask for business in the most direct way.
Example: “ I think now we covered everything. So when do you expect to have the next flock in to start realizing the values Enramycin F-40® adds to your farm economy“
(Enramycin F-40® is a registered brand name for Schering Plough Animal Health)

2.Alternation Close
Offering your customer choices that all means realizing sales, it can be options of start usage timing, or used package, or retail offer …etc.
Example: “ Now sir, do you find the 60ml bottle of Pulmotil® AC best fitting for your customers or shall we go for the 240 ml bottle and make use of the cost saving“
(Pulmotil® AC is a registered brand name for Elanco Animal Health)

3.Summary of Benefits Close
Summarize the detailed message you gave in one statement before asking for business.
Example: “so we agreed that with Monteban® we are enhancing return on investment not only by controlling coccidiosis, but as well by supporting cholestridia control and decreasing heat stress impact on birds during summer months. As your next cycle will start in May, do you think we can use a shuttle with Maxiban® & Monteban® during it“
(Maxiban® is a registered brand name for Elanco Animal Health)

4.Puppy-Dog Close
Let your customer experience the product as much as possible. With some products you can offer a free sample for trial. With others you can support your customer with a special discount or free goods during trial period.
Example: “What I suggest sir is to dedicate one flock of 5000 birds for Volvac® HAC trial and continue elsewhere with your current vaccine. Then we measure titers on agreed intervals to compare. Based on your history I think I can convince the cmopany to give 5 units of Volvac® HAC free of charge for this trial“
(Volvac® AI-KV is a registered brand name for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica)

5.Pro–Con Close
On a piece of paper, write down factors that help your prospects compare and contrast how many more pros your product has than cons. This closing strategy is excellent for customers with analytical personalities.

6.Order-Sheet Close
Assume your customer’s approval already there, start filling in the order sheet. This closing technique will much help hesitating customers.

Example: “Now Sir, knowing your farm capacity on the next cycle, you shall need 3 sacks of 25 kg each from Fibrozyme®. Do you like to receive it this week or next week“ (Fibrozyme® is a registered brand name for Alltech Biotechnology)

7.The Relevant Story Close
Relate to your prospects the experience of another client in a similar situation who moved forward and was very happy with her/his decision.
Example: “Reference made to Mr. Fadel, the owner of “Brothers” Feed-mill, he had a similar concern, but once he started adding Cocci-protect® to his feed formula, he has a got a fantastically positive feedback from his customer. Specially knowing they did not have to withdraw it

from feed pre-slaughter being an all natural product“ (Cocci-Protect® is a registered brand name for DPI Global)

8.Ascending Close
Pose a series of questions to your prospect about the product, that will all elicit a “yes” response and lead to the point of purchase as the obvious step to take. Then ask for business and the logical response will be yes too.
Example: “so we agreed that Sil-All® has a superb quality bacterial inoculants. Right?
-As well we agreed it has the most comprehensive enzymatic content for silage digestibility. Right?
-Then how many silage tons you are planning for this year so I can supply Sil-All® accordingly?“
(Sil-All® is a registered brand name for Alltech Biotechnology)

Holy Role of Closing .. Once deal is done ..

You better keep your mouth … SHUT

Further talks about it can easily RUIN it

Call Breakers

Marketing sciences researches, remarked 5 reasons to be the commonest reasons to loose sales. As salesmen tend to frequently fall into these breakers. These breakers are:

  1. Apathy: is the lack of emotion, motivation, or enthusiasm à getting exposed to this type of a salesman, who sounds uninterested with what he says, customers’ subsequently loose interest. Apathy is neither a nature of a person or an attitude. It is a mode usually happens due to personal or business related frustrations. The problem with apathy is it leads to business troubles and subsequently more loss of interest. The salesman must follow some mentor’s instruction to get out of the vicious circle of apathy and restore his mode.
  2. Misjudging customer’s intent to buy: Overestimating customer’s intent to buy will essentially make the salesman too confident to pay enough effort. As commonly happens in oligopoly goods. Sometimes customer might reject to buy despite of his need to penalize this attitude from the salesman. On the hand, underestimating Intent to buy will lead commonly to failure to convince him. As the salesman has the prejudgment he will not.
  3. Lack of product knowledge: that will disable benefit summation as well as other closing techniques that builds on product knowledge, this leads to a state of impossible closing. Technically sophisticated products might sometimes required a combined visit of sales and technical staff to ensure comprehensive product knowledge that enables selling and closing of a deal.
  4. Rudeness: It is the shortest way to loose sales once and forever. Some sellers turn rude when they fail to convince a customer, always remember, it is our job to convince him. On the other hand it is not his job to be convinced. Turning rude when you fail to close will turn customer from indifference attitude to hostile attitude. In life, turning rude when we cannot achieve our purpose with someone gives us the stamp of the lowest standard on ethical and behavioral scaling and brings bad judgment of all witnesses of situation.
  5. Overselling: means over-magnifying products benefits beyond its realistic values and or denying any unfavorable effects related to it. Overselling increases customer expectations to maximum. Upon trial, and by expectancy theory of human psychology, customer will not be happy if he got satisfactory or slightly above satisfactory results as he was looking to be amazed. Customer will not only reject results he was to be happy with under normal conditions. But will be hostile against you as he felt cheated and mislead.

Post-Call Activities

  • Post-call analysis to analyze positives and negatives and come-out with an action plan.
  • Seek customer’s feedback after trial by phone or during next visit (that should be shortly after delivery of goods)
  • Once satisfied, ask him if he can recommend a colleague or another potential customer who can benefit from your product.
  • Contact on religious, national, and traditional ceremonies with a greeting card or even a phone call.
  • Service .. Service .. Service / Follow-up .. Follow-up .. Follow-up

Copyrights© 2006. Eyad Harfoush

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