Monday, 31 January 2011

4 Behaviours to avoid when encountering Sales Objections

Objections in selling are akin to a hurdle , barrier or fence that can impede our progress and which we need to overcome. Few sales meetings are concluded without one or more objections being raised at some point during the sales presentation and discussion.

The very best way of dealing with objections is to Pre-empt them. (e.g. “You may be aware that TLG spherical roller Bearings are one of the premium providers of this type of self-aligning product, yet are number one in the market.
Our customers get more value out of the product and I’d like to illustrate where that extra value exists…”)

Addressing upfront the fact that there are certain potential objections and bringing them up yourself, plus providing the answers at the same time will prevent them being raised later on.

N.B. Only do this if you are reasonably sure that the client will think of them - otherwise you are drawing attention to something which might never have presented a problem anyway.

There are two kinds of objection:
Information seeking ( easy so long as you have the relevant knowledge) and
Major ( which can seen at first sight to be like an impenetrable castle wall)

It is important for us to clear any smoke screens away to give ourselves the best chance of handling the real objection.

Our natural reaction is often to try to suppress the objection before it gets out of hand which can lead to one or more of the following unhelpful behaviours:

Pouncing: an instant response (sometimes even before the prospect has finished speaking!) is discourteous and creates an emotional barrier - it suggests you have not considered what has been said and that you are not concerned for the client’s point of view.

Being glib: too practised and rapid a reply will be suspect and unconvincing - it suggests you have heard it all before and are just repeating a page in your sales manual.

Arguing: the instant response “yes, but” suggests that you disagree just as much as “...I Don’t agree with you ...”, “... No that’s not right and here’s why...” or anything similar; don’t even suggest that you disagree by shaking your head or raising an eyebrow.

Scoring points: drowning someone in technical detail, or proving that they do not understand or have made a mistake, will simply make them feel foolish and/or angry.

Understanding the concern that underpins the objection is essential if you are going to deal with it effectively; therefore listening and clarifying are vital at this point. Furthermore, any emotion needs to be removed from the situation, as logic alone cannot sway emotion. Thus, establishing a clear understanding of their position first is essential, using silence to gather more information and clarifying by paraphrasing and repeating.

How to address an objection

Listen -

and show that you are listening.

Pause -

to show that you are considering the point.

Clarify -
ensure that you understand, and demonstrate
that you understand, by questioning, summarising, rephrasing or repeating.

Appreciate - by acknowledging the customer’s viewpoint, express empathy, and confirm understanding of the customer’s concerns.

Evaluate - whether the objection is ‘information seeking’ or a misunderstanding, or is it a ‘major objection’ based on valid points?

then either
Explain - if the objection is ‘information seeking’ then provide more information (making sure that you assume the blame for inadequate explanation)

Hinge - if it is a valid ‘major objection’ then use a phrase such as “However”, “On the other hand”, “Alternatively”, “Have you considered…”;
or turn the objection into a question


Justify - by using Benefits and ‘YOU’ Appeal (or personalised benefit) to neutralise and outweigh the objection and motivate the customer. ( The slide below from the Buyers Views of Salespeople outlines the most popular areas of an offer that prompted Buyers to buy. Thorough questioning will pinpoint the relevant areas to your buyer)
and finally

Commit -
if appropriate, confirm that the customer is in agreement with your answer before moving on (to the close).

(NB: Testimonials - If you have customers who are loyal to your company, then get letters of referral/testimonials from them. It can help you justify the price.)

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study

Next post we will examine some special categories of objections and consider some responses.

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