I remember attending a sales call with one of my salespeople back when we were starting our foray into performance sales training. He had landed an opportunity for a sizable in-house training deal and felt he was flying without a safety net. He wanted me to join him to give him some assistance and coaching on handling a deal this size.
After we made our introductions, we settled in to review our solution. After taking stock of the room and before my sales rep went into the presentation, I prefaced the meeting with the following comment:
“What we ask people to do is not cheap, and it is not convenient. We’re asking them to take time out of their lives at great expense to themselves and to the company. But participants have told us the results they see on the other side of this process alters their careers immeasurably. And the owners of these companies have told us that the initial investment was small in comparison to the resulting increase in generated revenue.”
After the meeting, he pulled me aside and asked me about my statement. “Why did you start off by providing them with ammunition to use against us?”
This is what I said. “We get those kinds of objections all the time. For what we are offering, our prospects have always claimed that it’s inconvenient and that it’s too expensive. We know that any new prospects we meet will probably have these same concerns. So, we deal with these concerns at the start of the sales process to get them out of the way. That way, they don’t hit us with these kinds of objections later in the sales process. There are no surprises for us or the prospect.”
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Identifying Objections in the Sales Process
Sales reps are constantly confronted with objections. If you’ve taken the time to help a client through the sales process and they bring up an objection, then you already know how to determine the true objection and the reasons behind it. You don’t have to waste your time and theirs dealing with something that’s of little significance. See the post here for a refresher.
But let’s say you’re well into the sales process and your prospect is interested in your offering. In addition, you’ve helped them determine that this is a real concern for them.
Then you’re probably wondering when is the best time to address an objection.
The Best Times to Deal With An Objection
In general, there are four points in time where we can address our prospects’ objections:
You can address the objection before they bring it up.
If you are repeatedly encountering the same objection, then there’s a universal concern that you need to address. Deal with it early in the sales process. If your past clients have voiced concerns over an aspect about your offering, it’s probably on the mind of your current prospect as well. Address it before they have a chance to bring it up and show them that you’ve done your homework.
You can deal with the objection when they bring it up.
This is something on your clients’ mind at that moment. More than likely, it relates directly to a specific application they have in mind. Of course, before you address it, be sure that it’s a real concern. Go through the 7-step process for identifying the true objection before you spend your time and energy addressing it.
You can deal with the objection after it comes up.
If your client raises an objection and you know that you will address this challenge later in your presentation, there is nothing wrong with telling your prospect to hold their thoughts and you will address the challenge shortly. Sometimes, waiting for the big picture will resolve that and other objections they may have.
You can avoid the objection entirely.
There are some objections that make no sense to address and they serve only as distractions. Members who aren’t stakeholders typically voice these to stay relevant. If you’re looking to save time and address the right concerns, avoid these objections completely. For objections that are technical in nature and don’t add value to the sales process, let your sales engineer address it offline. If it’s only you, then again, take the concern offline and bring in your technical person. For these types of concerns, how you handle the person will be more of a deciding factor than how you handle the objection.
Curious? Want to know more?
Be sure to download your copy of our sales brief on handling objections, Seven Steps to Handling Objections here.
P. S. In case you were wondering, he did close the deal and we got the business!