What to do when your client says, “What if I die?”

The perfect empathetic response

One thing we all have in common with our clients is the undisputed fact that we are all going to die.   (I hope I didn’t just give away any spoilers.)  Most plumbing and hvac techs don’t have to deal with death as a variable in the sales process. So, when a client refuses your offer by bringing death into the picture, chances are really good that you just lost the sale.

What if I die?

Death is an uncomfortable topic.  You probably struggle with speaking to your family about death, much less a client that you have known for a short period of time.  The end result is that you don’t get much practice, and therefore don’t know how to handle the objection.  I know this is the case for myself.

Building the foundation for the perfect response

I witnessed the perfect response to the “What if I die?” sales objection while waiting on a massage.

An older lady, I’m guessing in her 80’s, had just finished her session.  Let’s refer to the older lady as Betsy.   Betsy looked very relaxed.   It was obvious she enjoyed the experience.  After a little banter, the service provider, let’s call her Amanda, asked this question:

“Would you like to become one of our monthly clients?”

Betsy gave her the look.  You have seen the look when you offered a service agreement.  The one that says, “Here we go.  Now they are going to try to sell me more stuff.”

RELATED – 4 easy steps to boost service agreements

Betsy immediately said, “No.”

Most people would stop at “No.”   Or, they would get pushy and aggressive.  Amanda did neither.  When Betsy said “No,” Amanda smiled and asked a few easy questions:

  • “Betsy, thank you for coming in today!  Did you enjoy your massage?  (Yes!)  
  • You look so relaxed.  How do you feel?  (Great!)  
  • That’s wonderful.  How was Samantha for you today? (She was tremendous!)

I was impressed.  It was obvious Amanda knew how to re-establish value after the first objection.  As a plumber or an hvac tech, remember that the next time you are in the field.

RELATED – Objection Handling Series

But what happened next is what blew me away.  Betsy stopped Amanda in her question process with the mother of all objections.  She asked,

 “What if I die?”

The Perfect Empathetic Response

When Betsy said that, 3 things immediately went through my brain:

  1. I laughed.  As someone that’s been there before, I knew this could be painful, and funny.  It’s kind of like watching a prank unfold.  You know someone is about to get an unexpected outcome, and you’re just going to sit back and watch.  Don’t judge me, you know you would do the same 🙂
  2. I responded.  When she asked, “What if I die?” I thought this in my mind, “Then you won’t care!”  (I’m working on my sensitivity.)
  3. I watched.  I literally went to the edge of my seat.  I wanted to hear and see how Amanda was going to handle this sales objection.  I did not expect to get schooled, but I did!  Here’s what happened.

Amanda looked Betsy in the eye, and cocked her head slightly to the right.  She then did one of those puppy dog frowns and said,

“Awe.  I would miss you!”

Betsy smiled.

I was shocked!  What?  What?  “I would miss you!?”  No correction, “Awe.  I would miss you!”  Could that possibly work?  That had nothing to do with the objection.   That was just feelings.  Just emotions.

Then Amanda said,

“Betsy, it is an agreement for a year.  But if you move, or your doctor says you don’t need to do the massages any longer, we can cancel this for you.  Would you like to become a member?”

Betsy said, “Yes!”

It worked!  Betsy pulled out the “What if I die?” Sales Objection, and Amanda used it to close the sale!

Why Empathetic Responses Work

  1. Do you care about me?  People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
  2. Emotions make the decisions.  HVAC Techs and Plumbers tend to focus on the facts, and leave the emotions at the door.  That’s a mistake because clients make their decisions based on how they feel.  The facts are used to justify the feelings.  So, if I like you, then I’m looking for the facts to support doing business with you.

RELATED FACEBOOK VIDEO – How to use Emotions to Get a “Yes

I gained a lot of value from sitting in that lobby and paying attention. And now, you get to benefit from it as well.  This is proof that life is always ready to teach us a lesson if we are just willing to listen.  So use this lesson, and the next time your client looks you in the eye and asks, “What if I die?” say, “Awe.  I would miss you!”

What sales lessons have you learned from unexpected places and people?  Please share on  and .

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