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Handling objections

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“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” ~~ Albert Einstein

How do you feel about customer objections?  Hopefully, it is the same way you feel about air or gravity since they are inevitable and just as valuable.

An objection is simply an expressed concern.  Some of these are deal-breakers to this particular person while they may be a minor detail to another.

By becoming a student of objections the sales professional can master the process.  I compare it to conquering a take-down maneuver in wrestling.  Once you grasp it you can take down fast opponents or slow, large or small, strong or weak.  Along the way you will find yourself taking an opponent to the mat and letting them back up so you can do it again.

Eventually, though, you will just take them down once since that is all you need.

The first step in your education is to begin capturing every objection and study them.  Depending on your product or service they might be grouped into a few categories—usually no more than four or five.  For this exercise we will list them as No Money, No Time, No Need, and No Authority.

The No Money objection is based around perceived value.  “Your price is too high.”  “I can get it at wholesale for less.”

The No Time is based around perceived timing.  “That would be wonderful if I could squeeze another minute in my jam-packed day.”

The No Need is based around perceived self-sufficiency.  “It sounds like you have a good solution for someone other than me.”  “That sounds great.  When I need to lose weight I’ll call you.”

The No Authority is based around who makes the decision.  “Let me ask my wife, husband, boss, partner, doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc.”

These are simple examples.  Your world is far more complex (and interesting.)  However, whatever objections you receive (or don’t) follow a predictable pattern you can master.  Tim Sales describes them in a way I really like.  Objections, to him, are like bugs splattered on your windshield.

That is, imagine you are driving down the highway and a bug suddenly gets splattered across the windshield right in your line of sight.  It startles you and takes your attention from where you are going.  If you spend too much time examining it you will crash.  If it really bothers you enough you will pull over to study it and get nowhere.

A successful driver pulls their attention away from the bug and back on the road.  A successful sales professional does the same for their clients and prospects.

Here’s another point about objections.  They are created in the mind of the prospect and are not real.  The key is perception.  People perceive problems (bugs) and only they can remove them.

Let’s say you quote signage for $75.  Certainly, the client can take out an old pizza box and magic marker and do it for a lot less.  In some environments, that handmade sign is exactly what they want.  It expresses their company perfectly.  “We are edgy and fun.”  For most others, though, it would denote poor quality and lack of ability.  “We’ll apply as much attention to your solution as we do to helping you find the conference room with this crummy sign.”

Also, some objections are really masking the real issue.  They may be objecting to delivery speed but the real issue is value.

The only way to solve this is to help them identify the bug and then guide them to look past it back onto the highway.

Your first area of study is to begin cataloging which bugs you see and equally as important when do they turn up.  In many cases you will find that what you say creates the bug’s appearance.  Answer the question before they ask it.  “You can drop the car off the night before and slip the key through our secure mail slot.  If we see that the repair will be more than $50 we’ll call you at 919-111-1234.”

Use a simple four-step process to deal with objections.

  1. Listen completely.  Many people do not have listening skills and they jump in before the other person has the chance to fully describe the issue.  Mentally count to five before you reply.  They feel listened to (and certainly deserve to be.)  This has the added benefit of giving them the chance to uncover another objection…which may be the real show-stopper.  Also, the more you hear (and the more completely you hear) the more chance you can guide them to the complete solution.
  2. Paraphrase what you heard.  Once they have fully described the issue, replay it back in your own words.  This lets them know they were heard.  Going back to the bug analogy, you can say, “I see it.  Big and slimy with lots of legs all over the place.”  Very few professionals take the short time to do these first two steps.  Train yourself to do them, though.  Instead, they rush right to step 3.
  3. Handle (or better yet, facilitate handling) the objection.  This is where patience and practice makes perfect.  You will want to speak in their language and use their terminology.  Think of this like a master violinist playing a familiar passage.  Eventually the music is flawless in pacing, tone, and delivery.
    1. I would like to make a point about facilitating their solution.  If you can walk them through why they want the sign, what they want it to accomplish and so on, they will come to the proper conclusion that the price is right.  If they say it then it is a fact.  If you say it then it has been ‘spun’ and is untrustworthy.
  4. Return to whatever you were doing before the objection.  If setting an appointment, go back to the calendar.  If demonstrating a feature go back to that.

Ultimately, until every bug is identified and cleared from the windshield, no one will go anywhere.

© 2013 by Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.
All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.

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Written by bniguy

February 24, 2013 at 9:10 am

One Response

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  1. This text is priceless. Where can I find out more?


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