Five Steps to Overcoming Objections
Written by: Dave Goates, Director of Human Capital
A prospect’s objection is most often only a question masquerading as an objection. So, you need to find out the customer’s question behind the objection. In their mind it is often something like, “If this happens, then what are the consequences?”
You must also find out who is behind the real question. When many eyes look at a proposal, not all are true decision-makers and influencers. Make certain you’ve identified the real question.
Sometimes the only truth behind, “We’re not interested,” is just that they don’t have enough information yet about your value proposition or they don’t fully understand what you’re offering.
1. Acknowledge the objection. A useful technique is to step back to clarify assumptions. Both parties should be on the same side of the question together looking for a solution that solves a problem. Acknowledge problems, take them head on. Doing a thorough needs analysis in the discovery stage of the conversation will help assure both parties are working toward a mutually beneficial outcome, and minimizes the possibility of objections arising later.
2. Frame the objection as a question. The trial close phase of the process is useful to unearth unresolved questions. For example, “If what we’re talking about has merit, and assuming this is the solution you’ve been seeking, how soon would you be thinking about doing something?” Sometimes a totally unrelated thought will come flying out at you from a trial close, and give the opportunity to further clarify and continue the discussion.
3. Use “soft language” to weed out legitimate concerns. Handling real objections is much different than taking incoming flak from a false objection designed to throw you off your game. “Others have felt if they did . . .” Or, “In my experience, our clients who have implemented have reported. . .” Or, “One of our clients found they were able to. . .”
4. “Have I answered all your questions?” Sometimes stalling tactics and evasive answers are only signals that you are having a conversation with the wrong person and you haven’t discovered the economic decision maker yet. The more incoming flak you take might be a sign you’re talking to the wrong person.
5. Ask, “We have talked about a lot of details during this meeting. Are there remaining questions in your mind we have not addressed?” Then give them sufficient time to pause, think it through and give a response. Asking open-ended questions is always best. The best sales people aren’t following a formula, they are drawing out their prospect, inviting objections, and crafting a solution. Surfacing objections you’ve already heard from others is very disarming, so don’t hesitate to “set yourself up” for objections. Learning to diffuse them early is the key.
Remember, you don’t have to force anything on anyone. The sale is the natural result of a well-thought-out and reasonable set of logical steps leading to it. Regardless of the outcome, the process should be comfortable for both parties.