You’ve worked for weeks to get an appointment with Mr. Big. At the meeting, you’ve identified his needs and wants and demonstrated that your product will meet (or exceed) those needs and wants. You’re moving to gain agreement and, in some manner of speaking, he says “sorry, your product’s not for us”.
Bad news? Not at all. Rather than being a “no”, think of an objection as a “yes, but”. The prospect is thinking about your product but something is in the way of moving forward. Remove that obstacle and, more likely than not, you’ll close the sale. How to overcome those objections? Follow these five steps.
The first step in overcoming objections is to create synergy between the prospect and yourself. You want the two of you on the same team working against the objections. This generally involves agreeing with the prospect that the subject is important and then getting them to work with you to solve the problem. If a prospect says “I need to think it over”, you might say “I can certainly understand that – it’s an important decision. Please help me understand what’s of concern – is it the (then list two or three things about the product to get the ball rolling)”.
The second step is to get all of the objections on the table before moving forward. This will start to narrow the process towards a successful conclusion. It will also let you see patterns or similarities in the objections which can be helpful in overcoming them. Say something like “OK, we’ve identified that X is a concern, what other things do we need to look at.”
The third step is to ask a closing question such as “We’ve identified X, Y, and Z as concerns. If we’re able to correct those three things is there any other reason why you wouldn’t want (the product)?”. This will (a) gain a level of commitment or (b) move you back to a needed repeat of the second step.
Objections are generally the result of one of three things – lack of information, misinformation or a deficiency in the offering (your company, product, etc.). The first two are pretty simple to solve – correct the mistaken or missing information. It’s the last one that’s more difficult.
In the fourth step, you basically reprise the sales call concentrating on each objection in turn. Find out everything that you can about the objection (problem), demonstrate solution(s) and gain agreement that the solution solves the problem.
Think of a sale as a balance beam (like the scales of justice) between value and it’s associated cost (whether that’s actual price paid or some other factor). It’s the prospect that determines the relative weight of the items on the scale and an objection is a problem with one or more items on either side. Your job is to change the prospect’s perception so that value is equal to or greater than cost.
For instance, if a prospect says “your price is too high”, you can either demonstrate that the product is worth the price (increase the value weight) or reduce the price (lower the cost weight). If a prospect says “your product doesn’t have X”, you can either reduce the weight given to the missing value (“How often do you use X?”), increase the weight given to other values (“True, but wouldn’t you agree that Y is much more useful”), or some combination. Many salespeople find it helpful to create a list of common objections and offsets that can be used with them.
The fifth step is to be able to identify whether you’re dealing with an objection or an insurmountable obstacle. If the prospect needs a hydraulic lift to lift a fifty ton object and the largest lift that your company is capable of providing is rated at ten tons, no amount of sales expertise is going to lift those extra forty tons. The best that you can do is to create a relationship and move on to a more promising prospect. Conversely, those that treat all objections as obstacles are not salespeople at all in the true sense of the word
Successful salespeople view overcoming objections as the most interesting and profitable part of their jobs. It requires thoughtful interaction with your prospect as well as quick wits. The single best way to rise to the top of the sales profession is to become an expert at overcoming objections.