No matter how good you are at selling, objections will arise. Some occur because the customer needs something that you cannot provide. They want a 12-month service contract and your company only offers one for 6 months.
It is also true that some objections occur not because of what you are selling but because of how you are selling. For example, a great way to generate objections is to jump in and starting talking about a solution before you have a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s problems.
Have you heard that objections are good because they indicate buyer interest? This is an untruth floating around in the Sales world – objections are not buying signals. They are barriers, concerns, and problems that need to be prevented and/or handled skillfully.
So let’s take a look at three best practices for dealing with objections.
- Prevention is better than cure. Since many objections occur because of how you sell vs. what you sell, it’s critical to really understand the breadth and scope of your customer’s problems before formulating and offering a solution. . A best practice is a simple, yet powerful idea – ask, listen, then talk. This approach goes a long way in preventing price objections.
- Rehearse. In most cases 80% of the objections you are likely to get are predictable. So, before any customer meeting, spend time making sure you identify what objections might arise and then rehearse how to address them. Why is this a best practice? It harks back to the old adage – be prepared! It is tough to come up with a good response to an objection if you do it for the first time in front of the customer.
- Get a process. There are many objection-handling models. Adopt one and become skillful using it. Whichever one you select, a good selection criterion is simple and straightforward wins over complex. A “less is more” objection-handling model, for example, is ACT.
- Acknowledge the objection
- Clarify the objection
- Test the solution
Let’s take a closer look. First, Acknowledging. While it may sound simple, Acknowledging the objection is important. We cannot count the number of times we have seen salespeople ignore an objection and just keep talking. They assume that by sharing a collection of features, the objection will just disappear – that is highly unlikely. Failure to acknowledge an objection only signals to the customer that you’re not listening.
Probably the most important step is Clarifying. By clarifying, salespeople avoid the trap of hearing an objection and immediately trying to answer it. It is a better idea to ask questions to find out how important is it, or why the customer feels it is a problem before responding. By doing this, salespeople usually find the best answer is not what they would have offered initially. You are also changing the tone of the dialogue – you are participating in a problem-solving discussion vs. being in a defensive mode.
Finally, once a solution is offered, don’t assume the objection is addressed and move on. Rather, Testing makes sure the customer understands the solution and agrees that it addresses the objection – then move on.
Don’t be fooled – objections are not helpful for winning more business. So learn how to prevent and handle them skillfully.
To take a deeper dive into handling objections, and other sales skills: http://www.saleshorizons.com/ace-sales-skills-online-salestraining/
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