How well do you handle objections?
The fact is, most people think they handle objections with ease. The reality paints a different picture. I claim that you could have closed as much as 25% of last year’s lost sales by simply understanding why the customer is objecting. Oh…and by keeping your noisy trap closed for a minute or two.
“I really don’t understand why this upgrade costs extra when Acme doesn’t charge for it. ” Right off the bat you want try to get across to your customer why that is not a valid objection. Often times you will go into a puke session about why your product is better or why your company is better than that of the competition. Whoa, easy there. You need to slow down and take a step back before you start puking all over your future customer. Who cares that the people down the street offer that spec for free but then charge the third world’s gross domestic product for delivery and assembly. They do not need to know this right now. Good news – your customer is interested!
Objections are usually a good thing; your future customer brings them up because they are interested in buying. If they were not interested in buying they would just ask for a brochure or ask you to leave them the information.
Since they are interested in buying, you need to make sure that your tone and your demeanor reflect the positive attributes of the objection. Do not become discouraged or become defensive about your product or your company. They ARE INTERESTED in buying from you. They simply want to know more.
The secret lies in understanding exactly what they want to know more about. When the objection is in the form of a question, you must decipher what it is that they are truly asking and what it is that they truly would like to know more about.
Let’s take, “Is that the best price you can offer?” This has to be my favorite objection and one that is most often fumbled by the salesperson. How would you respond to this question? What are they truly asking you? When a customer asks if that is the best price that you can offer, it does not automatically mean that they are objecting to the price. Think about it; they asked you if that was the best price you could offer. What are the possible motives for asking this question?
Yes, of course one of the motives for asking this question could be that the price is too high and that they are interested in that product. So be it. However, a more likely motive for this question is that they are interested and they want to make sure that they are getting the best deal. Or they may be testing the waters to see if this is the type of buying situation where they are expected to haggle. Which type of motive prompted the question becomes very important at this point if you are going to answer the question correctly.
If you immediately offer a lower price and the true reason that they asked was because they wanted to find out if this was a buying situation where haggling was expected, then you may have instantly turned them off and pushed them further away from pulling the trigger on the sale. I realize that it seems strange to think that by sticking to the higher price, you may have had a better chance at getting the sale. However, that is usually the case.
When you get a question about a product feature, you need to be careful in how you answer the question. If they ask you about a certain spec, they may be asking because they heard a different feature on a competitor’s model was more appropriate for their specific use. However, they could just be asking about the feature because they are curious about it. Again, it is important to understand which type of question it is.
Using treadmills as an example, a customer could ask, “Are those small rollers?” A salesperson can respond in a variety of ways. They could respond with a puke session about roller size and why it is or is not important in the operation and enjoyment of the treadmill. Or they could respond with “Yes, they are. ” In either situation, the “yes, they are” response is more effective because it will allow the customer to further explain their question.
If you naturally assume that your customer’s question was an objection that could prevent you from making the sale, you may end up talking them out of the sale by the inappropriate response. This is why you need to be sure that you understand the nature of the objection before you start blabbing about nothing.
Then there is the objection that is completely unrelated to you or your company. A customer may have other factors in their life or in their business that would prevent them from making a decision about your product. You need to understand that this objection has nothing to do with you and respond to it in a way that solidifies the relationship and the rapport that you have built with them. If you respond inappropriately, you will diminish any rapport that you have built up to that point with the customer.
For example, “I really need to check with my spouse before I make a decision. ” There are many sales books out there that teach you to try to close the sale anyway, but there may be circumstances that you are unaware of that may make your hard close completely inappropriate. What if there was a personal and legitimate reason that they needed to check with their spouse? I know I would never, on this green and blue Earth, make a thousand and some odd dollar purchase without my wife giving the go-ahead. Make sense? Point being, you do not know the circumstances behind the objection so you should instead make a friend at all costs and try to gain agreement on something that furthers the process without having to make a decision. If you try to hard close you may be pushing them further away from saying yes to you.
All objections are unique and must be treated differently given the circumstances. You will never go wrong by asking more questions and by keeping your responses short and sweet. The best outcome of a response that is too short is another more specific question from your future customer. These questions will lead you and your customer closer to agreement and closer to a completed sale. “Is this the best price you can offer?” “Yes. ”
Tom Richard produces a weekly sales training ezine titled: Sales Muscle. You can subscribe to this ezine by visiting http://www.tomrichard.com/EmailFriend.html or by visiting the website at http://www.tomrichard.com