by Diane Banister
Most sales people we meet want guidance about overcoming sales objections. Over the years we’ve been asked to teach objection handling techniques to sales and inside sales people, and there is some logic to that; how you respond to an objection can win or lose the sale. Objections can stall deals and your pipeline becomes clogged with customers you can’t get to commit.
An objection is a barrier.
It is what a customer or prospect uses as a reason not to buy from you…. or to get rid of you.
But the one important thing that any sales person can do is understand why they cause the objection in the first place.
That’s worth repeating – what are you doing or not doing which is causing resistance in the sales process.
The more you are able to build a sales process that reflects the world of your prospects or leads the fewer objections your will face, and if you understand the key objections you face, you can head them off early in the sales process. You’ll still come across them, but if you can hone your sales skills to reduce them, to identify and understand objections that are valid; real reasons why that prospect can’t proceed, you’ll win more, by discussing them earlier in the sales process, when they don’t become a deal breaker.
Why do buyers object?
All sales objections are not created equal:-
An objection can be
- a genuine reason why they would not proceed “I’m just not sure about this”
- a negotiating stance – “if I object to the price, he might knock some money off”
- to get rid of you as a salesperson “I’m happy with my existing supplier” (oh no! someone else trying to sell me something I don’t want)
You can control all of those.
If the prospect isn’t sure about your offer; then work on your value proposition; and how you articulate this with a customer.
If this is a negotiating stance; a price objection to get you to reduce costs, again you can develop your sales conversations to negotiate with confidence.
And if it’s to get rid of you; then you need to be more convincing earlier, and be really in tune with your offer and what it does for your potential buyers. If you don’t understand their pain or how they will benefit from what you offer – how can you help them, or convince them you can help them?
Don’t let them be a sales-stopper
Sales objections are a bit like angry customers, you want to do everything you can to make sure you don’t get any in the first place. If you’ve really taken an interest in the client and their business, and had a quality conversation, you’ll minimise the objections.
“What are your concerns?” is a really neglected question that can uncover where the prospect or buyer is at, and enable you to address their concerns before they become a “sale-stopper.”
The timing of when an objection arises in the sales process is key in how you overcome the prospects objection.
The type of objection and therefore your approach depends when they come:
- early in the sales process ( prospecting )
- during the sales process ( selling )
- at the end of the buying process ( closing and negotiation )
Overcoming Sales Objections In Prospecting
When you are prospecting you’ll need to find the right person to speak with. The internet has given us the tools to refine our research, and linkedin continues to grow in its usefulness in helping you research and refine your B2B sales activity, as part of your social selling strategy.
The Loyalty objection or the seemingly loyal objection
“I’m happy with my existing supplier”
This might be true, or it might be a polite way of getting rid of you.
If you hear this a lot, you’ve got to work on your introduction – your opening statement – your value proposition.
Your prospects are busy – why would they stop what they are doing to have a conversation with you about your products and services when they already have that covered?
The I want to get rid of you objection
“That’s not something we would be interested in” ( the straight to the point I want to get rid of you )
“Can you send me some information?” ( the polite I want to get rid of you )
The Budget objection
“We don’t have any budget set aside for this”
Avoiding these objections
In outbound prospecting activity, you will be contacting busy people and disrupting their day, unless your calls are part of a clearly defined sales process responding to warm leads and enquiries.
How do you approach that?
Do you need to review that – have you become apologetic; expecting them to respond to you as an interruption?
- How well does that convey how you help your customers and clients?
- How have you made that relevant to this prospect?
- What’s your hook?
It’s vital that you are able to quickly articulate your value proposition and you need to tailor that to the person you are speaking with.
In other words you need to condense what you have to offer this prospect in one or two sentences.
- How can you grab their attention, challenge their thinking, and set yourself apart from your competitors?
- What are the most common challenges your prospects experience? Where is their pain – how can you get their attention by talking about it?
- How can you help?
There’s more on leaving voicemail messages in our ‘Go To Guide To Reaching Decision Makers’.
If you’d like some help crafting your value proposition why not get in touch?
Overcoming Objections In The Sales Process
We need to develop the awareness to understand what it is in our sales approach that may cause objections to arise.
We need to minimise the objections along the way, and explore with confidence the real reasons why someone may not want to buy.
Here’s where you need to get honest with yourself.
It actually may not be your product, your service, your company that causes the objection – it may be you! It may be your approach, your style, your presentation of your product, your timing, the way you were with that customer on that day.
It may be that you rely on your relationship with the account and fail to deliver your sales message in a way that resonates with your customers and prospects. They see you as a nice person, trustworthy, you’ve been visiting them for years, and then they buy from someone else and you didn’t know there was an opportunity.
There’s some good news about this – you can put it right. You’re unlikely to be able to change your products, your service levels, your pricing, but you have your sales approach in your control.
What gives a sales person the edge?
Good sales people understand people, they understand themselves, and they understand the dynamics as they happen. They are interested in their customers, and know how they can help them.
Developing your sales approach and how it affects potential buyers strengthens our confidence along the sales process.
Our attitude to objections can affect the sale, and over time our resilience.
We can capitulate and start to believe the objections we hear. Perhaps our products really are too expensive, our lead times too long etc. If only the company changed its products and services then we could sell more.
Or we can be combative, “I’ll show that prospect…….” And while a bit of fire to win the sale does no harm, you will never win an argument with a prospect.
When your frustration starts to boil over, or you start believing some of what you hear constantly, it’s time to take a step back and think about what you can do to win more sales, and overcome the objections you encounter along the way.
If you’d like help getting your sales mojo back, we can help, get in touch to talk about our sales coaching, really useful for sales people who’ve had lots of sales training, but want to focus on their approach and what would make a difference for them. Call us on 0845 450 0988 or get in touch here
Here’s some ways to help you minimise sales objections during the sales process and deal with the ones you do face. Real techniques that work in the real world.
The Golden Rule – Think before you respond
A buyer will spot this, they’ll be left cold.
How do you make a buyer feel during your conversations?
What do you say, and how do you deliver it?
None of us like being sold to; most of us like help to buy.
Take the time to think through your response to an objection.
Exploring an objection with the customer or prospect, will help them see that the benefits of using your product or service outweighs any risk they may perceive.
Follow these simple steps, and think through what the customer or client is really saying to you:-
A mistake that sales people make is to hear a few words of an objection ( which we will have encountered before ), remember the script and kick into the spiel that counters the objection.
This isn’t, as Stephen Covey would say, listening to understand the customer.
It’s proving you know the answer, the answer you want to give rather than the answer the customer wants to hear. You are countering their objection; blocking it, you are not overcoming it; you’ve just hit the ball back over the net.
This will not build the relationship, and will probably not gain you the sale.
Buy yourself thinking time
We often feel that we have to know the answer to an objection immediately, especially if it is month or quarter end when those sales seem to matter more.
The smart, quick answer can be counter-productive; stop and think what the prospect is really saying to you.
Restating or summarising your understanding of their concerns buys you a bit of thinking time. It also demonstrates you have been listening, that you want to get it right for the customer.
Some objections aren’t objections they are just questions that the prospect needs answering.
If they are discussed early in the sales conversation, they feel like questions that can be explored, rather than a ‘sales-stopper’ near the close.
Exploring those and building the relationship, enables customers to share their concerns with you and gives you an opportunity to solve their problem.
Present your solution. Find ways to demonstrate how your suggestions will help the buyer and their particular circumstances. If you are saying the same things to all your buyers, take some time to think through a more connected and tailored response.
Ask for feedback – did your suggestions help them and satisfy their requirements?
We want you to be more confident in your sales messages – get in touch now to discuss how you can develop the sales conversations of your people that reflect your brand and bring the results you require.
Call us now on 0845 450 0988.
With nearly 30 years b2b sales experience, Diane makes sure we deliver relevant training and development programmes which build skills and confidence that work in the real world.