Handling Objections, Part 1

In our previous articles on sale the sales process, we have covered planning, prospecting, asking questions, listening and making a presentation using features, advantages and benefits. At this point, we may encounter objections in one form or another. In the sales field, one of the things that salespeople fear the most is the objection, but the experiences salesperson welcomes them. In fact, you should not only welcome objections, but you should learn how to smoke them out during a sales interview and turn them into orders.

If you haven’t discovered all of your buyer’s objections, your chances of making a sale are slim. If your competitor is skilled at answering objections, they will take the business, and you may never know why.

Shut the doors
A salesperson should dig and probe until all of the objections are on the table and answered. Think of it this way – when you are making a sales presentation, imagine yourself in a room with many doors through which your prospects can walk, taking your orders with them. The doors are, in fact, objections, or “outs”. Your job during the sales presentation is the close and lock all of those doors so when you go to close the order, your prospect can’t “walk away” – you will have already discovered, closed and locked all of their “outs”. In order to do this, you must discover all of the objections and answer them to your prospect’s satisfaction.

Objections overruled
The are four types of objections: stall, hidden, easy and hard. Each requires a different answer. First, practice identifying the type of objection, then practice the following answers. These answers should be naturally prevalent in your selling style, which will be helpful to your prospect.

  • Stall: Stress the value of prompt action.
  • Hidden: Probe for the real objections, then classify and answer it.
  • Easy: This could be a misunderstanding. You may simply have to provide additional information.
  • Hard: Your prospect may have a desire for benefits that your product lacks. You must minimize this lack and stress the other benefits, or perhaps propose a different product or solution.

In other words, identify the type of objection and answer it. This requires skill and proactive. Objections are really nothing more than questions stated in a different way. When your prospect throws out an objection, you are just being asked a question. In your mind, turn the objection into a question and then answer it.

When you argue with a prospect,
your chances of making a sale
are rather poor.

The price objection
When we conduct our selling skills seminars, we ask for objections from the attendees. The one that always comes up first is price. A price objection may come to you in different ways. Your prospect may say “Your price is too high.” “You folks certainly aren’t bashful about the price of your stuff,” “Boy, you must be very proud of this product,” or even “Ouch.”

In whatever way the price objection is stated, the question you are being asked is “Why is your price what it is?” Ask yourself what type of objection this is. This may depend on where you are in your presentation. Raised early on, it’s probably a stall. Latter on, it may be hidden, or even hard. Perfect practice will help you with this. More about specific objections later

Softening the blow
The first think you do when answering an objection is “cushion it.” I have seen many a salesperson turn a mild objection into an argument. When you argue with a prospect, your chances of keeping the lines of communication open, let along making a sales, are rather poor.

In the price example, you are free to disagree with your prospect that your price is too high, but you must remember that your prospect is entitled to be concerned about price. After your prospect has raised a price objection, cushion it by saying, “I can appreciate your concern about price. Let me explain.” Then get back to selling (answering the question). Another cushion: “In this day and age, everyone must be concerned about price, but let me explain how this works.”

Starting a cushion with the words, “I can appreciate how you feel,” or something similar, lets your prospects know that are you sensitive to their issue, and that you can answer their questions to their advantage. Before the next issue, make a list of some of the objections that you encounter in your selling day, either general or product-specific ones. Let us hear from you. Have you ever encountered this objection? “We are happy with our current supplier.” We’ll handle that one and some others next time.

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