One part of the sales process that is always hard is objections. When you are selling to a potential customer, they always come up. If you can’t handle them, you cannot sell. For entrepreneurs, being able to take care of objections is the key to the survival of their company. Selling is basically the art of having a good, meaningful conversation.
Practice your sales calls out loud. If you can, work with a partner in person. Just like athletes, musicians and other professions practice before they play, great salespeople do it too.
The first thing to remember, objections are natural. They aren’t a no. Think of them as a question from the customer to get more understanding. If you handle objections the right way, it will enhance your stature and credibility with the customer and increase the probability that you will have a stickier relationship with them. Being able to handle them systematically can shorten sales cycles. It can become an edge to help fend of competitors when they come calling on your customers.
Typical objections that you might hear are:
- Now isn’t the right time
- We are too busy
- Size of team
- Newness of company/team/idea
- Risk of deploying a new product
As soon as you hear an objection, your natural reaction will be to counter it. After all, you are armed with the facts!! Fight that urge. Instead, honor the objection. Encourage the customer to talk more about it.
“That’s really an interesting point Mr/Ms Customer, can you elaborate on that for me?”
Sounds weird, but it will give you time to catch your breath so you don’t puke all over the customer. This is where the salesperson must shift into active listening mode. Hear exactly what your customer is saying. Begin asking them clarifying questions so you fully understand the objection. Use questions to clarify
- What the person is thinking
- What their concerns are
- How big the pain point is
- Making sure you are handling the right objection in the first place
Then, confirm the objection.
“So, it sounds like if I am hearing you…..”
Once they say yes you move into response mode. In the response mode, you answer the objection. For example, if the problem is timing, figure out a way so timing isn’t an issue. If the response doesn’t satisfy the objection, you need to go back to the clarifying step. Clarify, and confirm again. Then, respond.
If you see that the response answered the objection, it’s time to check. The check step is powerful and adds credibility to you. It takes verbal discipline because inside, you will feel excitement and want to move directly to a close. Don’t. Say something like this:
“You know, this conversation has been very insightful for me. Do you have any more concerns, or can we move on?”
Here are the steps to handling objections
You must spend the time encouraging, clarifying and confirming objections. Do it early in the sales process. Lay the groundwork for the close-and spend time actively listening to your customer. It builds the relationship and your credibility. Your customer will feel like they are being heard. It also is very painful to have worked to get to a close, and then have it all blow up at the end. Doing the necessary work early makes the close go smoothly.