We have reviewed how to identify sales objections and separate out true concerns from the trivial pursuits. We reviewed the types of real sales objections that we encounter in the sales process. And we reviewed the best time to address these objections. So now it’s time to look at how to overcome sales objections through our responses.
Let’s start by reviewing an example of what won’t work. In one in-house consultation session, one of my participants asked me the following question:
“My prospects keep blowing me off before I can present my services. If I can get in front of them, I know I can sell them. How do I get them to stop blowing me off?”
Many sales reps often confuse put-offs with objections. In a put-off, recognize that the prospect is voicing opposition to you before you can perform a diagnostic session. They are either indifferent to what you have to offer, or they are 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 in solving an issue before moving the sales process forward. Overcoming this challenge requires an different process.
Now, there comes a point in the sales process where you have your prospect’s attention. They view you as a trusted resource, and you’ve determined that they have a need and the ability to buy. So when the sales process stalls, you need to have enough credibility to help your prospect identify their real concern. And you need to be able to address these concerns effectively.
Here are four ways to overcome sales objections through your responses.
1. Overcome Sales Objections by Refuting Their Legitimacy
If the client has misinformation or is operating from fear, uncertainty, and doubt, then it’s best to overcome the sales objection by setting the record straight. However, flat out denial or stating that they are wrong is a quick way to validate the falsehood in their mind. Your prospect will quickly become more entrenched in their thinking. So you will need to cushion a response before invalidating the falsehood. 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 specifically?” Or, “How did you hear that we have terrible delivery times?” Asking probing questions gives 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. The point here is to recognize that everyone has their own beliefs and opinions. Stating “you’re wrong” in any way quickly builds walls, and you need to build bridges.
2. Overcome Sales Objections by Acknowledging the Challenge and the Resulting Improvements.
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 equipment order.
3. Overcome Sales Objections by Explaining Them
If you’ve determined that their 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.
4. Overcome Sales Objections by Reversing Them
Sometimes, the 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 and the true price of not moving forward.
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.
As shown above, to reverse an objection, review the big picture and understand the long-term or global 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 and showing the long term impact of your solution, you can help them see the reason they are holding back is the reason they should move forward.
An Objection is a Sign of Interest
Objections are a natural part of the sales negotiation process. For the truly engaged prospect, an objection is a sign of interest. They are trying to fit your solution to their 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 they are 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.