In past posts, we reviewed how to identify sales objections and separate out true concerns from the trivial pursuits. We reviewed how to classify the real objections that do come up. And we reviewed the best time to address these objections.
The final task remaining is how to respond to these real sales objections when we find them.
In one in-house consultation session, one of my participants asked me the following question. See if you have similar experiences:
“My prospects keep blowing me off before I get to the good stuff. If I could get in from of them, I know I could sell them. How do I get them to stop blowing me off?”
Realize that the prospect voicing opposition to you before you can perform a diagnostic session is not an objection. They are either indifferent to what we have to offer or they are still preoccupied with something else. When you encounter situations like this, you need to move back in the sales process, get their attention, and then get their interest before moving the sales process forward.
Now, there comes a point in the sales process where we have our prospect’s attention. They view us as a trusted resource, and we’ve determined that they have a need and the ability to buy. So when the sales process stalls, we need to have enough credibility to help our prospects identify their real concern. And we need to be able to address these concerns effectively.
So, what do you do when you encounter real sales objections? Here are four methods you can employ to address them:
Denying Sales Objections:
If the client has misinformation or is operating from FUD, then it’s best to set the record straight. However, flat out denial or stating that they are wrong is a quick way to validate the falsehood. Your prospect will quickly become more entrenched in their thinking. So being able to cushion a response before invalidating the falsehood is a must. Often, you can weaken this type of objection simply by asking more probing questions. “When you say our delivery times are terrible, how do you mean?” Or, “How did you hear that we have terrible delivery times?” Asking probing questions give you more information before you lay out your supporting facts to repudiate the objection.
When addressing their claim, avoid confrontational statements like, “That’s not true”. Instead, cushion with a neutral statement like “I can appreciate your concern…” Then, follow up with an example of how your delivery times have helped another client meet their goals. Or quote statistics comparing your delivery times against the industry as a whole. The point here is to recognize that everyone has their own beliefs. Stating that “You’re wrong” in any fashion is a quick way to build walls, not bridges.
Admitting The Core of the Sales Objection :
Let’s say your prospect is putting up an objection that is based on some factual knowledge of your company. Your best course of action is to admit it quickly and emphatically. Then show how you have resolved or plan to resolve the issue. Again, use a cushion to acknowledge that you heard them. Then, use evidence to show you have addressed the challenge or how the issue won’t impact their application.
In one of my small group sessions, I had a sales rep who succeeded in landing a large account, something his predecessors had failed to do. What was the difference that allowed him to succeed? All of his predecessors refused to acknowledge a problem that the client kept bringing up. However, he went in, acknowledged that the concern was legitimate, and outlined his plan to address the concern. He was the one who walked away with a $50K order for equipment.
Explaining Sales Objections:
If you have determined that the objection is real, use the information already gathered to directly address the objection. You’ve already performed an in-depth analysis of their application and have offered a solution based on that analysis. So, if they raise an objection indicating they don’t understand your offering, rearrange the information into a more suitable form. In most cases, using an analogy will help your prospect better understand how your offer can help them.
Reversing Sales Objections:
Sometimes, the reason your client states as an objection can be the very reason to move forward with the sale. You simply have to know how to re-frame the objection from a different perspective. This is often the case when clients mention that your price is too high. If price is a concern, help your client compare the one-time cost of your solution with the lifetime cost of not implementing it. Doing that will help them gain a better picture of the value you bring to the table. Alternately, you can show the revenue generating potential of your solution. Then, compare that against the lost income potential for delaying implementation of your solution. The stark comparison will help motivate them to take swift action.
To reverse an objection, review the big picture and understand the long-term impact your solution will have on their company. Typically, your client is looking at your offering through a limited and narrow lens. By expanding their perspective, you can help them see the reason they are holding back is the reason they should proceed.
Objections are a natural part of the sales process. For the truly engaged prospect, an objection is a sign of interest. They are trying to fit your solution to their particular application.
Remember that all obstacles you encounter won’t be objections. Also, out of all of the objections that you do encounter, some won’t be the real reason for holding back. Use the steps outlined in the sales brief below to identify the real objection. Then use your communication skills to effectively address the real objection and move the sale process to completion.
P.S. Don’t forget to get your copy of our sales brief on uncovering and handling objections, Seven Steps to Handling Objections here.