Tuesday, 29 March 2016

5 of the most common sales objections and how to answer them

5 of the most common sales objections and how to answer them

In the first part of this approach to Objections we focused on controlling our behaviour to our initial answer of an objection i.e.. the HANDLING of an objection. Think of it as keeping calm and not disturbing the water. Like the swan serene above the waterline and paddling like heck below it. similarly we should present a calm exterior whilst our brains are whirring to formulate the answer!

You must establish whether the objection is valid, or purely a misconception so that you can provide relevant information, explanation and justification in a logical, credible and motivational fashion, drawing on the most appropriate points of your Offer Analysis.

(If you like this See also 7 steps approach to appointments)
There are three common types of objection which require special consideration:

Hidden objections: where the objection voiced (e.g. “I haven’t got the budget”) is more acceptable than the true objection (e.g. “I haven’t got the authority”). If this seems to be the case then answer the objection raised and follow up with “...and what are the other points that bother you?” Or some such question.

Delay objections: which can also cover a hidden objection and are intended to avoid an immediate decision (e.g. “I need my boss’s OK”, “Leave it with me”, “I’d like to think it over”). Referral to a third party (e.g. boss, colleague, board) should be dealt with by:

• Confirming your contact’s acceptance of your offer
• Involving your contact in the next stage
• Seeing the third party yourself (preferably with your contact)
• Anyone needing to ‘think it over’ is not fully convinced of the benefits. Try to confirm their ‘area of particular concern’; use a summary to check all relevant points. If that does not work make sure you arrange a follow-up meeting.

Competitor comparison is best handled by focusing on the total cost of the purchase for the client (i.e. purchase price + cost of time + installation costs + overheads etc) as this puts price into a smaller perspective: or identifying the cost difference between you and your competitors (this gives you a much smaller amount to justify) explaining how your total offer differs from your competitors, and showing that the value difference to your client is greater than the cost difference.

Comparison with not purchasing at all is best handled by reducing the price to the lowest denomination that is appropriate to your client (e.g. amount per day, amount per person, extra cost per unit, the equivalent of only one extra tank of petrol per week); this makes it psychologically more acceptable or repeating your major benefits in a way that shows the client that the value of your offer is greater than its price.

Price objections: firstly you must establish whether the price is unacceptable in comparison with a competitor or in comparison with simply not buying at all.

When faced with the price objection use the phrase “Can you help me understand more about the prices issue” or “Can you clarify this for me…” or “Can you expand on this for me?” Think back to the answers you got from the customer during your questioning and pick up on the issues raised by the customer - for example “Earlier you said reliability was your biggest issue…” or “You mentioned earlier that quality was of major concern…”. Then move into a defence of the value of your offer - build a bridge of Benefits and ‘YOU’ Appeals that illustrate how the customer is going to get extra value from doing business with your company. Your Offer Analysis provides the raw material for your answer to the objection. Nudge the buyer into a decision by using a phrase like, “Wouldn't you agree it’s worth the extra £5 per unit?”

Useful phrasing for common objections

Here are some possible approaches to handling common objections. Adapt the format and language to suit your personal style.

Objection: “I’ve got a cheaper quotation/proposal.”
Approach No 1 - ask to see the competitors proposal to check that the buyer is comparing ‘like for like’.

Possible phrasing could be “I do understand that the price is very important. So that I can understand how they have been able to quote a lower price on a similar specification what I’d like to do is look at their proposal to satisfy myself that you wouldn't be getting a specification that is different from ours. Do you have a copy of their quotation handy?”

If your prospect declines to show you the proposal use Approach No 2 -

“I understand. Can you help me with this Mike? What I’d like to do is go through our specification with you and you can check it against their proposal. We can then highlight where the differences are in the specification. Do you have a copy of their proposal handy?”

Objection: “I’m happy with my current supplier.”Response: “I quite understand how you feel Jill, some of our existing customers felt the same way before they started using our service, what they found once they began using Xeron products was that …….”

(Continue with a summary of your key benefits and ‘YOU’ Appeals.)

“……. So that you are in a good position to evaluate our service what I’d like to suggest is that you use us on a trial basis. We could start the trial in late August or early September. Can we go ahead on that basis?”

(This approach expresses an understanding of the prospects viewpoint, offers a way forward and attempts a close on your objective.)

“That’s fine Paul, I’ll wait to hear from you, but would you mind me asking, what if anything, would stop you giving us the business?”

(If you like this See also 7 effective closes)

Objection: “Can’t see added value for the price.”
When the customer objects because your specification seems the same as your competitors, then you have to differentiate yourself and add value against the competitor.

For example:

“I can fully understand your concern Mr Woodroofe and at this moment we do look more expensive than the other supplier you are talking to. From what you have told me there appears to be a £4 difference per shipment.” (Reducing the difference to the lowest unit.)

“Your main concern when shipping your spare parts around Europe is that they arrive on time, that you have the latest pick up times and have the ability to track and trace each shipment en route.” (Gain commitment here.)

“Because Xeron Logistics Ltd service have a full European network we have more flexibility around pick up and delivery times, we provide excellent security and our electronic systems allow for greater visibility of shipments. This is where you get the added value which does cost a little extra, but it does give you added benefits, which are most important to you. Wouldn’t you agree?”
(If you like this See also 7 effective closes)

Objection: “I need to speak to my director/manager etc.”
Response: “I can quite understand that you need to consult your Director, it’s a big investment after all, but can I ask you Jenny if it was solely your decision would you be happy to go ahead today?”

(If the prospect hesitates in their response you need to probe the reason for their reluctance to give a clear answer. The hesitation may mask a hidden objection. In effect the prospect may be saying, “leave it with me”.)

(If you like this See also 7 effective closes)
Objection: “Leave it with me, I’ll think about it and get back to you.”Response: (Stage one) “That’s fine Paul, it is a major decision. Sometimes when clients ask me to leave it with them, in the back of their mind they still have a concern, could I ask you was that over the specification or the performance?”

(Pick two of your key propositions, but not price as the prospect can always respond by saying “yes, the price is too high”. This approach may reveal the real reason for the delay. It’s possible that the prospect’s response may be to simply restate the original objection.)

For example: “No, I just need time to think about it.” (A very understandable human reaction.)

Stage two is carefully phrased to identify exactly what your chances are of winning the business.

These are just suggestions you may develop approached suited to your market. Come what may you need to practice them so they becomes natural and fluent.

BUT ( and I guess there is always a 'but' somewhere!)

Once you have perfected you answer don't forget that they need to be handled as well as answered so avoid pouncing, being misunderstood as glib, argumentative or lecturing in your tone of answer and objection handling will become a little easier to execute.

Good luck and Good Selling 

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  1. Great tips Hugh, Thanks.

    I try to think of objections as positives - the prospect is still talking and I have a further opportunity to present, negotiate, etc.

    Most sales tend to come with objections before the paperwork is signed so handling them positively is another step towards a deal... hopefully!

  2. Thanks for the post, do you have any other similar related posts?

  3. Hi Snatur

    The other directly related post to this one on objections is

    If you go to the label on the right hand side and scroll down to the Professional Selling section and click on that there are some other related areas.

    Is there anything specific you are after ?

    Good selling

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