Objections are an inevitable part of any selling process – whether you are selling products, services or an idea. It is the part of the sale which leaves all but the very best sales people, influencers and negotiators trembling behind a façade of the “this-doesn’t-bother-me-at-all” faux-smile. It’s what keeps most would-be sales people hiding under a duvet of busy-ness so they never get to make the call which could result in the rejection they fear so much. And this is because they personalise the “rejection”. They make it about themselves rather than a legitimate (or smoke-screen) concern.
Sales is really a numbers game and you need to get through so many rejections before you can make one sale. Objections are often a signal for more information and here are a few ideas to help you through with greater ease:
- First and foremost, don’t take it personally. You can no more be an effective salesperson without objections as you could be an effective car without wheels. Think of objections, instead, as “feedback”.
- The second “secret” is to build emotional resilience. That’s a big subject to which I devote a whole chapter in my book “21 Ways and 21 Days to the Life You Want”. However, one quick way of building resilience is to view every experience as a learning opportunity.
- Prepare by listing all the objections you think you may receive – here are some common ones:
- Delivery terms
- They already have a current supplier
- Practice active listening so that you really understand what they are saying, not what you want to hear or what fits into your well-prepared script.
- The easiest objection handling technique (and there are many) is the shopping list technique. It flushes out any possible objections up front. To do this, you need to elicit all their wants in advance and write them down. When they have finished, ask “Anything else?” until you are sure you have everything. Then say “So, if we meet all these needs, you will want to go ahead?” This, of course, is assuming that you’re actually speaking to the decision maker.
- Think of your offering in terms of features and benefits. Let’s say that you are selling a gardening magazine. The feature may be that it is full of interesting articles by some of the country’s top experts. The benefit might include some of the following: that it will provide easy-to-follow answers to all their gardening problems right when they need it so that they can enjoy a beautiful garden all-year round; they will spend less money on plants which were never suitable for their garden in the first place; they will be able to enjoy a hobby rather than be frustrated by the lack of progress; they will learn new skills, and create a space where they can relax/have fun with their kids/entertain friends/grow organic vegetables to make healthy meals for their families; they will have more time to enjoy being in their garden rather than working on their garden, etc. The idea is to find out what they want and sell to those rather than have a blanket list.
- Avoid giving too many benefits because you dilute the message – just focus on their specific wants and needs.
- Move them through negative states into the positive state you want them to experience, ie. from cynicism to curiosity to openness and finally to enthusiasm. I cover this in my ‘Influencing for Better Business’ course.
- Once you have taken them through each of their shopping list items, ask if there is anything else they need. Then, for any ongoing objections ask “If I could deal with this, would you be ready to go ahead?”. Then come up with a solution to the problem that they are happy with.
- When all objections are handled, ask for the sale. You will be surprised how many people miss off this important element.
I couldn’t finish this article without my bonus tip - limit your sales calls and sandwich them in between enjoyable activities that give you a sense of achievement. This helps you to stay resourceful and to maintain your energy levels and resilience.
If you would like to learn more about how you can handle objections, why not book for a coaching session, or onto my next ‘Influencing for Better Business’ course? Investing in yourself in this way can really yield exceptional results. Call 0845 130 0854 for more information on how to accelerate your success.
© Tricia Woolfrey 2013
About Tricia Woolfrey - click HERE to find out about the author.