The ability to effectively handle objections is without doubt the single biggest factor in getting prospects to buy. An objection is first and foremost an indication that at some level the prospect has or is considering buying and should be welcomed by the salesperson. An objection is a reasonable concern on behalf of the prospect, an objection is not an unreasonable expectation and this is an important difference. Managing expectations and more particularly unreasonable expectations requires a different skill set and comes under a different heading.
One very effective way to deal with objections is to preempt them as part of your presentation, you will be aware of the four or five concerns that your average prospect has so you can incorporate them into your presentation. This can be effective at promoting you and your company in a professional manner. Rather than operate a head in the sand approach, you tackle these reasonable concerns as part of your pitch coming from a position of strength and demonstrated that you do not run from the hard questions.
When dealing with objections it is important to be aware of body language and unconscious communication. I sat in on a presentation reasonably and the salesperson was interrupted mid sentence and asked a hard question with regards to a competitor. While he verbally came across quite well and was able to deal with the issue, the difficult question prompted him to fold his arms and promote a closed stance. This subconscious communication gave away the fact that he was uncomfortable with the question and probably was one of the reasons that he was unable to secure the deal.
I will not be dealing with particular objections as part of this piece but rather giving you a four-step technique for dealing with any objection. Try to remember that objections should be welcomed and they mean that you are in with a good chance of selling.
The first step when dealing with the objection is to acknowledge the concern. Ensure that you make the prospect aware that you understand where they are coming from and their concern is reasonable.
The second step is to qualify the objection, find out exactly what they mean for instance time to think means what? What is it that they need to think about? Are there still some issues that you havent dealt with? What are they not convinced about?
The third step is to re-sell the corresponding benefit, this time been aware that your approach first time round didnt work so you will at least have to expand and take different angles to re-enforce the point
The final step in dealing with objections is to seek agreement with the prospect. Ask them if they are happy and understand what you said and that you have been able to relieve their concern. Obviously if the answer is no, you will need to do some more convincing.
You need only to become skilled at handling the most common objections dont worry about strange or once off objections. Practice and role-play objections as the more times you deal with the particular objection, the better you will become.
We will look at managing expectations later this year, which as mentioned requires a different approach and should not be confused with objection handling. Remember an objection denotes an expression of interest and should be welcomed as part of the sale. Learn to love em.