Some people insist that the true test of a salesperson is their ability to overcome objections. Many Guerrillas welcome the challenge of an objection while others dread them. The best way to overcome an objection is by being prepared. Objections occur when there is lingering doubt or unanswered questions in the mind of the prospect. The prospect may be favourably inclined to make a purchase but needs clarification, more concessions, or approval by another party.
It is almost guaranteed you will get objections if you’ve failed to established need, rapport, credibility or trust. Have you qualified the buyer and determined need and interest level? Here are ten strategies for identifying the true objection and then conquering it:
Product knowledge, creativity, sales tools, and confidence in yourself, your product, and your company must call some together if you are to overcome sales objections and close the sale. You must combine technique with honesty and conviction to get the prospect to resolve any lingering doubt or conflict.
If there were no objections in a sales cycle, everyone would be in sales. Closing a deal would take nothing more than handing over a pen and instructing the customer where to sign. In the real world, however, sales and interviews are filled with objection after objection. And the only way to close a deal is to effectively overcome the main objection and a majority of the minor objections.
An important thing to keep in mind when learning to overcome objections, is advice from Xcite: "No one cares what your product is. All they care about is what your product does and why you believe in it."
Assuming that you will hear objections (which you will) during your sales or interviewing cycle, the first critical skill is to draw out all of your customer's or interviewing manager's objections. There is no hard and fast rules about drawing out objections, but if you've followed the steps to sales and interviewing process as defined in this series of articles, you will have already overcome several objections and will be aware of many others. During the prospecting step, objections will be front and center. If you were able to advance to the building rapport stage, know that you overcame the biggest objection in at least getting by the initial lines of prospect defense.
Most of the objections you will face will be drawn out during the presentation step. During this step, you will be telling your customer why your product, service or skills will help them meet their needs. Some customers will be free to offer their objections during your presentation, while others will hold their feelings close to their vests.
To identify the objections, you need to ask questions and, more importantly, trial closing questions. If your product will satisfy more than one need, you need to ask if your customer agrees that you will be able to help them with their needs. If they agree, move on to the next benefit. If they don't agree, realize that you've just uncovered an objection and it's time to start selling.
Objections are either "main" or "minor" ones. Main objections are deal breakers that, if not overcome, will prevent you from closing the deal or securing the job. Minor objections are usually beliefs that causes your customer will question something about you, your product, your service or your company.
Distinguishing between main and minor takes a combination of experience and acuity. An experienced professional will expect certain objections from customers based on what many other customers objected to. Less experienced professionals will need to rely on their listening skills and acuity. Acuity refers to your "sixth-sense" that tells you when something is not going as well as you would like. Developing your acuity gives you the ability to tell when a customer or interviewing manager is in agreement with you or is questioning something. While there is no replacement for experience, acuity can be built by learning effective questioning skills, learning to read body language and learning how to listen.
While it is important to draw out objections, it is even more important not to help your customer think up more objections. In other words, if the person you are meeting with agrees with a declaration you've made, move on and don't bring up any additional details. A golden rule of selling applies not only during a close but during objection handling. "Ask for the sale then shut up!
For "customer owned" objections, your main focus should be to get as much detail about the objection as possible. Often times, main objections are nothing more than a bunch of minor objections stacked up together. And if you don't know the reasoning behind the objections, there is no way to tear it down. Again, asking questions is more important than talking more about your product, service or self.
If you ask enough questions about why your customer objects to something, they will reveal their reasons and may even instruct you on to how to overcome them. But if you don't ask questions, you may very well be fighting a lost battle.
I am sure that many of us have either heard or seen this type of reply from a prospect. The key to a crisp reply is understanding and listening:
To Whom It May Concern:
We have been working with Xcite for many years now. They have always done a fantastic job of offering good coverage at a fair cost. However, what sets Xcite apart is his outstanding
customer service and speed in accommodating our needs as a manufacturing company. Many of our staff actually employ the talents of Xcite Advertising because of the level of comfort that we have with him. Over the last few years, there have been countless other contractors knocking on our door trying to earn our business. We respectfully decline and tell them we are satisfied with our current provider XCITE.
When you read this don’t you just wish that you were Xcite? In the Sales Pro Professional
Selling System PSS class we teach that this is a customer concern. Other sales classes might refer to it as an objection. Frankly, there is an army of salespeople that turn on their proverbial heels when this statement is made and they are out the door.
Please understand, in Sales Pro we teach that this is a good thing. We want to hear these
comments. This is not an objection, it is a concern. What we want ourselves to hear is I have been using my current provider for the last 10 years and I hope my trust in them is being met with the very best in innovation and advanced technology. You see, raising issues or concerns that our firms are able to deal with up front, demonstrate our ability to provide what the customer needs today. Needs change over time. So should our investment in listening to the current needs of an organization or its people.
Here is a sad truth that you can take to the bank. The very best customers
are used to using
their current providers and many of them let down their guard and do not ask for special considerations in the form of expanded services and greater profitability. An easy example is to
call your current cell phone provider and shop for a new plan today. In most cases where you may love the provider and their platform, that very firm is giving new customers off the street a
better value than you currently have.
So what do you do? First acknowledge what is important to the prospect without endorsing
the company. Never say, “They have a great reputation!” Why? Simple you are not their marketing department.
A better acknowledgement would be, “Being confident in your choice of vendors is extremely important as the technology advances today.” Now seek permission to probe on a limited basis.
I never want to overstay my welcome as I am now on borrowed time. If I introduce a time frame I will saysomething like, “I will take no more than 10 minutes.”
Now I am going to explore what the current situation is.
Next I want to pick up on something the prospect says that is very important to them and look for more detail. I am looking for an opportunity.
Now I want to explore the effect on their business if this factor is not all that it can be.
Finally I want to confirm that there is more than potential in what my firm can do for this prospect. I want to confirm that during this interaction potential has become desire to accomplish or to have something. It has become a need!
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