How to respond to “Is This All You’ve Got?”

“Is that all you’ve got?” is a question that can take the wind out the sales of many service providers and salespeople and seem offensive to others, particularly proud business owners.

Frontline salespeople will often answer with “Yes” followed by silence or make some weak statement about having more at their other outlet on the outskirts of Timbuktu, which is no help at all.largest selection of hats cartoon

Alternatively they go on the defensive with responses such as:

“We do carry the best brands” – meaning ‘we don’t sell the sort of cheap crap people like you buy’; or

“We have all the popular models” – meaning ‘if you don’t like what we’ve got, you lack taste and intelligence’; or

“You can’t expect us to stock everything.”

None of these approaches does much to build the relationship with the customer or confidence in the business.  And as our objective should be to delight the customer, we’ve got to find out a bit more about what is going on.  Why is the customer saying, “Is that all you’ve got?”

It’s a question that can be treated in the same way as any other objection to do with price, variety, colour or terms and conditions.  This means following an effective 4-step process.

  1. Acknowledge the objection

This opens the lines of communication.  Even if you think the objection is ridiculous, to the customer it is real.  By first acknowledging what the customer has said, you are letting the customer know that you are there to help, not to fight.

  1. Pause to consider it

You may have a pre-prepared answer to the customer’s objection.  Hold off.  Don’t jump in with it.   Briefly pause, indicating that you are thinking about what they have said.

  1. Ask clarifying questions

Start by restating the objection phrased as a question.  That way you can make sure you know exactly what is meant by the objection.  Is it the real objection?  Does it disguise another problem?  You won’t know unless you ask.

Get the customer to elaborate.  Sometimes when you do this they end up answering their own objections.

  1. Answer calmly and convincingly

When you respond, ensure you maintain eye contact and relate to the objection raised.

Your response must show consideration for the customer’s point of view.  Even, as in this case, if the customer’s objection seems silly or offensive, respond in a positive manner both verbally and non-verbally.  That’s what separates the professional service provider from the rest!

Let's look at a couple of examples.  The salesperson uses the same initial acknowledging phrase on both occasions.  In Scenario One the customer answers his or her own question and give some additional information.  This is quite a common situation when we learn to acknowledge rather than jump to conclusions.

Scenario One:

Customer: Is this all you’ve got?

Salesperson: Sounds like what we’ve got doesn’t quite fill the bill for you. (Pause)…

Customer: No, I actually quite like…I was just wondering…

In the second scenario, the salesperson probes further so that any answer given is tailored to the needs, interests and concerns of the customer.

Scenario Two:

Customer: Is this all you’ve got?

Salesperson: Sounds like what we’ve got doesn’t quite fill the bill for you. (Pause)…

Customer: No, it doesn’t.

Salesperson: Is this something for yourself or are you buying for someone else?

Maybe, they have been sent by their spouse to get a specific brand, make or model of something and don’t feel confident about choosing an alternative.  When you clarify, you find out these things.  Then your response can be tailored to suit the customer’s circumstances.

Sometimes, “Is that all you’ve got?” is actually a cry for help from the customer.  It just doesn’t come out sounding like that.  When you care enough to probe deeper and be a professional problem solver, you find out these things.  The reward for this is increased sales and customer loyalty.

There are a number of phrases and questions that customers come out with again and again.  Relish these enquiries.  Look on them as an opportunity.  Rehearse your responses, refine your people skills, show your customers that you care.  When you do, quite honestly, the world is a better place for you and your customers.Retail training manual icon


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Jurek Leon is a storyteller, speaker and trainer. Subscribe to Jurek's FREE monthly 'Terrific Tips' e-newsletter at Alternatively, email