Objections are a delicate part of the sales process and need to be addressed carefully and professionally. It is vital not to attempt to “overcome” the objection or change the prospect’s mind, as this only leads to a defensive response. The goal is to continue the selling process by acknowledging the concern, appreciating the person’s position and opening a discussion that advances the dialogue or sale.
The best way to avoid resistance from your customers and prospects is to anticipate and prepare for objections. Professional salespeople plan their presentations to address common objections before they are raised and provide the necessary proof that will reduce resistance. To better manage the fear of rejection, professionals practice addressing objections to sharpen their skills before they meet important clients. Being prepared provides the confidence needed to address objections in an effective manner, allowing you to follow your sales process.
Listen for understanding. Being completely prepared enables you to concentrate on listening to the prospect and not thinking about how you are going to respond. Furthermore, salespeople are talkers by nature and are often too eager to “make their case” in an effort to address the objection. This often results in the prospect feeling like they are being “sold,” which leads to their emotions increasing, walls going up and communication stopping. Becoming an exceptional listener is extremely important when addressing objections. Your prospect is providing you valuable information. Listen and take full advantage of the opportunity to understand the person’s concerns.
Respect the prospect’s position. By acknowledging concerns, you are demonstrating respect, as well as communicating you are not going to attempt to “sell” the person. Many representatives rush to share information they feel will change the prospect’s position. However, the opposite typically occurs and the person becomes defensive. Furthermore, objections provide a deeper understanding of the prospect’s wants and needs. Regardless of the customer type and temperament, remain calm which sends the message you are a capable, confident professional. This also allows you to manage the emotional aspect of the interaction.
Communicate persuasively and do not overload the prospect with data. Provide persuasive research data, your expertise, client benefits, potential losses and testimonials to show proof and build credibility. Share only one or two important pieces of information with the intent to intrigue the prospect and to encourage a needs analysis meeting or advance the sale.
THREE STEPS TO ADDRESSING OBJECTIONS
Build a bridge to defuse emotions and put prospects at ease by agreeing on an issue, complimenting them or using an empathy statement. Base (BACE) the conversation on the prospect’s position.
When prospects raise objections, they expect a rebuttal. Showing empathy, understanding and genuine concern lowers resistance and emotions. It also demonstrates that you are not going to launch into an attack or attempt to sell them. The bridge provides an opportunity to switch the attention to the information you are about to share. If you do not incorporate a bridge, clients may be “locked” on their objections, which distracts from your message.
BRIDGE (Remember “BACE”):
“I agree; repeat customers are an ideal business situation.”
“I completely agree and that is exactly why you will love working with me.”
“You’re absolutely right and that is one of the greatest benefits of working with my company.”
“I want to compliment you on exploring your options. If I were a business owner, I would do the same thing.”
“I want to compliment you on appreciating the importance of ...”
“I want to compliment you on building a successful company. The business owners I work with would love to be in your position!”
“I can appreciate you are looking for the best value for your investment.”
“I can appreciate you have a limited budget, most businesses that I work with do.”
“I understand your concern about finding an affordable plan that delivers results.”
“I understand you want to make profitable decisions for your business.”
“I appreciate you are considering all of your advertising options. If I were a business owner, I would do the same.”
After you ease the prospect’s concerns, share one of the three types of pivot transitions to open a discussion. It is important to make a PACT to help prospects achieve their goals.
PIVOT (Remember “PACT”):
Ask a Question Pivot
Continue the discussion by inquiring about specific information with the goal of changing the focus from concerns to the value of your products, and how you can help clients achieve their goals. When asking questions, remain calm and objective so prospects do not become defensive.
“May I ask you a question?” / “May I ask…?”
“Let me ask you a question please…?”
“I am curious…?” / “Would you mind sharing…?”
“Would it be correct to assume …?”
Enlightening the prospect by providing research, product information or showing confidence in your products demonstrates value, piques the interest of clients and encourages discussions.
“One thing to consider is…” / “Please allow me to share with you…”
“Were you aware…?” / “Did you know…?” / “You might be surprised to learn…”
“I am confident…”
“I know I can help you with that…” / “I am certain we can find a solution for…”
Testimonials build confidence in your ability to help clients meet their goals. Acknowledging that others have felt the same or speaking on behalf of other satisfied business owners puts prospects at ease.
“Some / many / a few customers have shared with me...”
“Successful business owners tell me…”
“My clients tell me…” / “Some of my best clients tell me…”
After you have provided the necessary information and no other objections exist, ask for the sale or a meeting.
ASK (Remember “ACE”):
Close the Sale
“Does that answer your question and make you feel confident in …?”
“Do you have any further questions or are you ready to move forward?”
“Is there anything else keeping us from moving forward with this strategy?”
“Here’s what we need to do to get started…”
Encourage a Meeting
“Would you give me the courtesy of 15-30 minutes of your time to discuss your business goals and strategies to learn how I can be of assistance to you and your business? How does (day) at (time) work?”
“I would like to verify my understanding of the challenges you are facing, and share ideas to help you achieve your goals. We really should get together. Do you have time now or tomorrow at (time)?”
“Are you open to setting up a meeting to explore a few opportunities to increase your sales?”
“Would you be open to discussing your business goals and strategies to determine if we have a plan/product/service that would fit within your budget and help you achieve your goals?”
“I would enjoy sharing information I have uncovered about your industry, as well as the ideas I have developed to help you increase sales. Are you available now, or can we set up a meeting?”
“Do you have a few minutes now, or would you prefer to set up a meeting? Let’s get together (day) at (time).”
If the prospect continues to object, do not continue sharing information. Instead, go back to the “bridge” and “pivot” before progressing the discussion. If you sense the person is becoming agitated, thank him for his time and confidently employ your “Professional Exit Strategy” to keep the doors open and let the prospect know you will be back.
While there is not a fool-proof method of addressing objections to earn every sale, these three steps are proven to lower defenses, open more discussions and ultimately increase sales. Remember: BACE, PACT and ACE.