Overcoming Objections

Never Ask a Pig to Dance. It Just Frustrates You and Annoys the Pig.

If you are spending a lot of time handling objections or stalls after you have presented the benefits of your product or service to prospective customers, something is wrong. Because professional salespeople rarely hear objections. They may hear QUESTIONS and CONCERNS during a presentation, but these are actually subtle indications of interest. The BIG lesson regarding objections is that you should ask thorough questions early in the sales process in order to clarify and quantify ALL issues that might affect the customer’s decision. Otherwise you are bound to encounter numerous objections at the END of your presentation and much of the enthusiasm you’ve built up in the customer will begin to fade quickly as you try to “overcome” their resistance. Presenting benefits then asking a customer to make a decision, when you haven’t thoroughly identified their needs, issues and concerns, is like asking a pig to dance. All it does is frustrate you and annoy the pig.

©2008, Frontline Learning LLC.

Overcoming Objections
One of the great misconceptions held by average salespeople is that they will have to spend a lot of time handling customer stalls and objections. This misconception is fueled by numerous books and training programs devoted specifically to this topic. The reality though, is that professional salespeople spend very little time handling objections. They understand that before they present their product or service benefits to a customer they must first ask questions to clearly identify: • •
• •

Need for the product or service. Interest in the benefits of the product or service. Ability to make a decision. Any and all other factors or issues that might affect the decision.

“Earning the right” to ask enough questions and gather this type of information isn’t always easy (see “Asking Tactical Questions” on page 64.) but professional salespeople who are unwilling to deliver “canned” presentations know this is something they MUST accomplish. Because after they have gathered enough information to present their product or service benefits, they tie every benefit to a previously identified and agreed upon need. Their thorough questioning to obtain this information minimizes the likelihood of objections coming up when they ask for the order. But of course, objections do come up on occasion. HANDLING

An objection occurs when you ask for the order and the buyer’s response indicates lack of need, interest, or ability to make a decision. This probably means that your initial questioning was not thorough enough. Objections at this point in the sales process are very difficult to handle because the client is likely to feel pressure, which can destroy whatever trust you have developed. The best general response to an objection is to go back to asking questions to clarify and quantify the objection. Examples of clarifying questions: “Can you tell me more about your concerns?” “Help me understand the situation better.” “What will it take to overcome the obstacles?” “What would be the additional cost per person?” “How much additional time would be needed?” “What’s the budget difference?

Examples of quantifying questions:



Once you have clarified and quantified the objection so that you have a complete understanding of the customer’s issues and concerns, then you can “reframe” the objection in the customer’s mind using the “feel, felt, found” method. Example #1: “I understand how you feel… I’ve had other customer’s in your situation who felt the same way initially, but once they began to use the product this is what they found…” Example #2: “I can appreciate how you feel about this… and I know others who have felt the same way, but once they’ve had a chance to experience the benefits of this service, this is what they’ve found…”

©2008, Frontline Learning LLC.

Overcoming Objections

Remember the BIG lesson when you hear an objection: You should have asked better questions early in the sales process in order to clarify and quantify ALL issues that might affect the customer’s decision. But when objections do arise, if the trust level between you and the customer is high, and if your intention is genuinely to be of service, there is no reason to let the customer’s concerns prevent the sale. Perseverance is the key now, so don’t back off. You can still succeed if you resist, assist and persist: • Resist the temptation to back off too early when faced with an objection. Hang in there. Also resist the temptation to take the easy sale and not press on to fully solve the buyers problem. Assist the customer in defining his or her real needs. Help them understand the basic problem that stimulated the concern. Don’t just relate to the concern itself, but rather to the issue that really prompted it. Persist in a way that shows that you genuinely care and want to be of service. When you persist without the intention of manipulating, you nonverbally convey your concern and your sincerity. This strengthens the trust bond even further.

HANDLING STALLS When you have confirmed that a client has need, interest, and the ability to make a decision, but is still hesitating, we call this a stall. Stalls should be handled differently than objections because they are caused by emotional uncertainties, not specific logical reasons. Here are a few examples of stalls: “I just want to think about it” “Sounds good, I just need time to consider it” “It’s perfect. Give me a few days to think about it.” If you try to “overcome” a stall or push too hard to have the customer give you the “real” reason for their delay, you may only cause them to make something up under pressure. Then the harder you push the more they will stick to the “reason” they gave you. Instead, use the following guidelines to help you handle stalls in a way that helps the customer overcome their natural uncertainty. Relax. Don’t jump in — a brief silence is okay. Take a thoughtful moment, then respond, letting the customer know that you are not put off by their hesitation. Reinforce. Remind the customer of the specific product features and benefits that they found most compelling during your presentation. Do this as a quick summary, not a repeat of your whole presentation. Introduce new information. Present NEW features and benefits that are relevant to the customer’s needs. Even if these are relatively minor features and benefits, this gives the hesitant customer time to contemplate ALL of the features and benefits and become more comfortable with the decision. Ask for a general reaction. After you have introduced new features and benefits, ask the customer for their reaction to the new information you have presented. For example: “What do you think?” As long as the response is positive, then try to close again.

©2008, Frontline Learning LLC.

Your Development Action Plan
What is the impact on your selling career if you are not effective in handling objections? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ What is the impact on your company? On your customers? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ Set a specific, measurable goal for improvement in the area of handling objections. ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ What specific actions will you take to achieve this goal? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ How will achieving this goal benefit your selling career? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________

©2008, Frontline Learning LLC.

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