One of the most fundamental aspects of selling is the ability to effectively and consistently answer objections. In our Executive Sales Discovery and Gap Analysis™ that we conduct worldwide, we find this as a constant theme: The inability of sales organizations or individuals to effectively and consistency answer objections that are posed during the sales process. This, to me, is one of the larger hidden revenue blockers in any organization. I encourage you to check it out yourself in your organization.
Objections are a standard part of any sale. You need to be versed in how to handle and respond to them. When handling objections, THINK about why the objection or question is being asked and figure out why it is important to your prospect. It’s okay to pause and analyze the objection so that you can give an honest and compelling response. If you can’t answer an objection… DON’T! Make a plan to get back with the prospect with a resource that can accurately answer the objection. Making up an answer that could be wrong is not providing value, and furthermore it can break down your trusted advisor relationship.
There are generally five types of objections: Status quo, competition, positioning, features and pricing. Part of the preparation that goes into a meeting/conversation with a prospect is having responses ready for possible objections. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) Know what you are selling, inside and out. In order to position yourself properly, you need to be an expert in whatever you are selling. Otherwise, you’ll lose credibility and the sale.
2) Know and understand your potential client’s situation and business pains. When preparing for your meeting/conversation, take some time to consider some of the most common objections you encounter and how those objections relate to this prospect. The more you understand about them and their needs, the better your outcome will be.
3) Recognize who your competitors are and keep up to date with their offerings. You don’t want to badmouth competitors, but you do want to be able to make a persuasive argument as to why your product/service is preferred.
4) Especially in these hard economic times, people have to be convinced to spend money. If your prospect says that your product/service is too expensive or more expensive than your competition’s pricing, then you’ll need to be able to justify that. What is the value in them spending this money and what will they gain from it? What do you offer that your competitor does not, and why should that be important to your prospect?
Of course there are objections that are justified, either for the time being or in general. If your prospect is interested but already has an agreement with a competitor, ask them when the contract expires or when they’ll be considering other options before a renewal. Make a note and get back in touch with them when the time comes. You also need to be able to recognize when there is no possibility of that particular sale happening, at which point you politely thank them for their time and move on to the next prospect.