Top sales professionals do not “Handle” objections and they don’t “Overcome” them either. The highest performing reps treat objections as buying signals – questions by interested customers who want you to give them more reasons to make positive decisions.
Without sales objections the salesperson would be out of a job. Instead of a sales force, companies would have one or two people taking orders as they were phoned in by already convinced buyers.
Since objections are so important to a sales job, it is critical that the salesperson learns how to handle them effectively. The key is to welcome objections and not dread them. After all, through objections you are learning your client’s needs and wants, his dislikes and his fears — in short, everything you need to know in order to get him to buy.
Here are 10 strategies you can put to use immediately that will make your client’s objections work for you rather than against you:
1. See the objection as a question
If the salesperson sees the objection “Your price is too high” as an attack, the natural tendency will be to defend his price. This puts the client and the salesperson in an attacker/defender relationship — a difficult relationship in which to gain respect and trust. However, if the salesperson mentally changes this objection into the question, “Why are your prices so high?” he can proceed to explain his price to the client. This puts the two of them into a client/consultant relationship, which is a much stronger position for the salesperson.
2. Turn the objection into a reason for buying
If the salesperson can show the client that whatever the objection is, it is actually the reason to buy, he will effectively defuse the objection. For example, if the client says, “Your price is too high,” the salesperson counters with, “That’s the very reason you should buy. Our prices are an indication of the value you will be getting from our company. And you do want value for your dollar, don’t you?” This causes the client to view price as a matter of value rather than a matter of dollars, and this makes his buying decision easier to make.
3. Smoke out all important objections
If you feel the client has some reason for not using your product or service that he hasn’t stated, simply ask him what it is. After he tells you, you ask if that is the only reason he isn’t buying. If he says “No,” you continue asking until all the objections are out in the open. If he says that the objection you’ve uncovered is the only reason, you then ask if you were to eliminate the objection would he buy. This is a question that you need a “Yes” answer to in order to continue. Once you have the yes, the client is committed to buying if you successfully eliminate his objection. Now you can focus your sales presentation on this one point, and once you’ve cleared it up, you have the sale.
4. Eliminate objections with questions
If you try to overcome objections after your presentation with arguments, you may win the argument but lose the sale. You do not overcome the objection, you eliminate it through questions at the beginning of the presentation. The initial questioning phase of the selling process is usually pretty relaxed and allows you to find out a great deal about your client before he becomes defensive. If the client tells you that he is the decision-maker, for example, and doesn’t have to check with anyone else, he cannot use this as an excuse later not to buy. Many common objections can be eliminated with the proper use of questioning.
5. Let the client answer his own objection
If the client cannot answer your question, “Why?” then he has disproved himself. The client may flounder around a bit and then admit his objection was not really important. This is especially useful on general objections such as, “Your product is no good.” Asking why will, at worst, narrow the objection down to something that is more easy to handle and, at best, will get the client to admit that he doesn’t really know why he said that.
6. Agree with the client about something
Find some point of agreement with your client before you start to answer an objection. This is the best known way to cushion your answer and render it unobjectionable. The client will not object as much if he knows that you understand his problem.
7. Admitting to the objection
You are not selling something that is perfect in every way, and when a client objects to a real limitation, you will be better off by admitting it. Having done that, continue your presentation focusing on the aspects that are favorable. If you try to convince the client that something is right when it is obviously not, you will antagonize him and probably lose the sale.
8. Denying the objection
If the objection is obviously untrue, you can smile and say, “Of course I don’t believe that.” For reasons known only to them, some clients will test the salesperson with some pretty outlandish objections. If you try to logically answer illogical objections, you will get sucked into a long, drawn-out and usually fruitless ordeal. Show the client that you have all your cards on the table and expect him to do the same.
9. Re-state the objection in your own words before answering
Re-stating the objection serves three purposes. First, it lets the client know that you are listening to him. Second, it helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures that you answer the right question. Third, it gives you a little time to think about how you are going to answer.
10. To answer objections successfully, get into the right mental attitude — and stay in it
You are in the selling situation to persuade the client to buy something he needs, something that will benefit him. You are there to render a service. If the client raises a string of objections, don’t be upset. If you seem upset, it only reinforces the client’s fears that he has about his objection.
Also, remember that your body language, appearance, posture and manner of speech must all express confidence and high self-esteem. The way your client perceives your product or service is closely tied to how he perceives you.