Last week we covered the Objections Register which is about preparing to face objections. I hope that by giving additional thought and preparation to the most common or challenging objections you have already improved the quality of your sales investment.
This week I want to look at how to handle the face-to-face or over-the-phone interaction. To do this I have prepared 5 tips that I think will be useful for you and/or your sales teams.
1. Be Prepared
This is the most obvious so ‘do yourself a favour’ and develop your own customised Objections Register
See last week’s article Do you object to sales objections? for the ‘how-to’ on developing a customised Objections Register for your business.
2. Be Positive
Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine you are at home relaxing at around 7pm with a Pina Colada or similar in hand and the phone rings. It is a long-distance call with poor quality communication. The sales person is trying to sell you a new telephone service (or pay TV package or nuclear powered solar power system etc. etc.).
The person on the other end of the phone is explaining that their product or service is cheaper, better, faster and with service that will be of a higher standard (i.e. the Trifecta: Cost, Quality and Timing/Service).
My question to you is how many objections do you raise? How many questions do you ask?
Do you challenge them (“Sir, I challenge your company’s ability to provide me with a lower cost service whilst still maintaining quality and customer services levels”)
Do you pepper them with questions (“Sir, please explain to me how your company can possibly offer such an outstanding too-good-to-be-true offering, I simply must know how you can do it”)
No. If you are like the many people I have described this scenario to the chances are you do not raise many objections or ask too many questions.
This is not because you are a bad person or are cruel to small animals. It is because you are not the slightest bit interest in the offering and are simply intent on terminating the conversation and getting back to your cocktail.
We need to recognise that not only are objections and questions buying signals but that they are almost a ‘must-have’ because their absence signals a distinct lack of interest
3. Be Listening
Actually listen to the objection or question. Make sure that you are 100% clear on precisely what the objection is all about.
Too many sales people are too confident that they can read the customers mind and that they know exactly what the customer is trying to communicate. Sadly, most sales people are not clairvoyant and as a result they quite often frustrate or confuse the customer by not pausing to listen and clarify exactly what the objection or question really means.
I recommend that you listen and acknowledge the objection where possible and even consider paraphrasing back to the prospect if the objection is at all complex. This approach provides you with a much better chance of actually clarifying exactly what the objection means.
If you fail to grasp the precise motivation behind an objection or question you are starting to lose the sale.
4. Be Solutions Orientated
Once you are confident that you understand the objection or question then you need to provide a solution. The customer has raised an issue that either concerns them or about which they are not clear.
This is where being prepared in advance (see Objections Register) to provide an explanation or solution is very useful.
If you are in business for the long-term there is rarely much benefit in attempting to avoid, gloss over, confuse or downplay objections raised. You may suppress the objection or further objections at the time. However, the chances are that you won’t have instilled the confidence that the prospect needs to make a decision to take a risk and invest in the next step.
You need to provide a solution or answer to the objection or question that puts the prospect’s mind at rest that the particular issue is no longer a concern and that they can move on to considering other aspects of the product or service offering.
5. Be Back on the Horse
Now back on the horse is a bit of a throw-back to my rural upbringing when I used to ride the rodeo circuit (slight exaggeration here… although I have fallen of a horse and even got back on!).
What I mean is that once you have addressed the objection or answered the question it is time to just get back on with the sales process.
I recommend that you simply resume the sales process and the presentation of features and benefits and reasons to buy.
Too many times I have seen sales people thrown off-track by a tricky objection or set of questions.
Even after they have provided a great response in terms of solutions or answers they lose the flow of the sales presentation and then fail to resume presenting features and benefits.
How to get Really Good and Handling Objections?
No magic bullet here. Just preparation and practice.
I hope that the above article combined with last week’s article provides you with plenty of ideas to help you prepare for handling objections.
The next step is for you to actually complete the preparation that I have suggested. The objection preparation process can be really useful and thought-provoking with regard to consideration of all of your overall marketing and communication materials. You may decide that you need to update a number of your marketing messages after completing this process.
Once you have prepared for objections the next step is practice. The best way to practice handling objections is role-plays and other team training exercises.
So, I wish you good luck with all of your preparation on the topic of objections and how to prepare and handle them.
Of course, the team at Baker Marketing are always here ready to provide some help and support if you need it.