Author: Todd B. Natenberg
Objections: Buying signals in which emotions are triggered.
When salespeople hear the word objection, they often cringe. The very idea that prospects could say no causes a tingle to crawl up the spine of some. These individuals would rather hold on to a false hope that they could earn a new customer somehow than to accept a no and move on.
But what so many fail to understand is a "no" and an objection are two very different things.
If a prospect won't sign at that moment, the objection is the next best things- when it's an objections.
Think about your own buying habits or even your own relationships with individuals. When you are interested in something, whether it is good or bad, you react. Your emotions are triggered. Selling is the same way.
If a prospect says, "I don't know, I'll think about it," that's dangerous. While many salespeople say this is an objection, it's not. What emotions are being triggered? Prospect could mean, "I'll think about signing," or they could mean, "I'll think about not signing." The key is to determine which it is.
Here are some specific tips to overcoming objections:
1. Pause: Say nothing for at least five seconds.
Not responding immediately is critical to maintaining control in what appears to be a tense situation. There are two reasons for this.
a) You need to gather your composure before you respond, so you do not get defensive. You want time to collect your thoughts.
b) There is actually a more important reason that is not addressed very often. Sometimes what salespeople perceive, as an objection is really just prospects thinking out loud. If you wait a moment, prospects might “overcome” their own objection. For instance, when I sold long distance service for LCI International, I often ran across scenarios like this.
Prospect: “I really wanted to bring my rate all the way down to .07 per minute.”
Me: Silence, 10 seconds pass.
Prospect: “But I guess .08 is pretty good, too. After all, my rate now is .15/minute and you do have much better billing. I also like the effort you have put on the account. Okay, sign me up.”
Crazy as it sounds, this is a true story and happened on more than one occasion. If I had responded right away and challenged the prospect, the sales would have been lost.
Notice how I say empathize, not sympathize. There is where the “feel, felt, found” technique is effective, but you have to be careful. If you are talking to seasoned salespeople, you might want to change the words around, because they might get annoyed if they recognize what you are doing. Then again, they might be impressed and even have a good laugh with you, not at you, as they will know what you are trying to accomplish. It goes like this:
“Mr. or Ms. Prospect, I do understand how you feel. Frankly, lots of my customers have felt the same way when they first heard about our program, but what they found out after further discussion was the benefits heavily outweighed the limitations.”
3. Probe, probe and probe.
I disagree strongly with the premise “buyers are liars.” In fact, it’s quite the contrary. They want to tell you what the real issues are and what is really on their mind, but you do have to bring it out of them. Here's a better statement:
"Buyers are liars- when the right questions are not asked."
When the customers object, you have to ask what they really mean and it has to be open-ended questions. For instance, “How do you mean?” or “Please explain.” Then make sure you are quiet to let them answer.
If you make it to this point and the objection has still not diffused itself, now it becomes your turn to address the matter. But first you have to repeat back what you view as the objection– verbatim and slowly. Then ask prospects if you understand it properly. For instance:
Rep: “The reason you are concerned about the higher price is really because you want to justify spending the money for a proven return on your investment. So really, the issue is not so much the money, but you have hesitations as to the true benefits of our program? Is that right?”
Prospect: “Yes, I guess that is what I’m saying. Explain to me again how this will help us.”
There’s the issue. The prospect does not want a lower price. No matter how much you reduce your price, it would not have been enough. This prospect’s issue was a lack of understanding or agreement that what you have would benefit the company.
Only now, do you address the objection itself and try to offer a solution. It’s important that you utilize all the information you received in the first four steps; referring to the prospects' words and needs will get you the deal. When you get that nod of agreement then you ask for the business. Now, and only now, have you earned the right to not close the deal, rather pursue the partnership. Don’t miss it.
Todd Natenberg, President of TBN Sales Solutions, is the author of the book, "I just got a job in sales. Now what?" A Playbook for Skyrocketing Your Commissions. Call 866-464-0339 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
TBN Sales Solutions increases commissions for salespeople and profits for businesses through customized training, coaching and consulting. TBN Sales Solution establishes structures and procedures in all facets of the sales process, through classroom workshops and individual sales coaching, to teach reps to control their own destiny to impact the bottom line. Visit www.toddnatenberg.com for more information or call 866-464-0339.