Handling Objections in Sales
A lot of people assume that selling is not easy. And that's because of the numerous objections potential customers will shoot at you whenever you attempt to contact or talk to them with the intention of starting a sale. Some objections may be given as the sale presentation or sales pitch is in progress. But little do they know that some of these objections, like the price of the product or the service that comes with it, could very well be an indication of a customer’s interest in buying.
If you think about it, your customers won't object about how high your product's price is if they have not really considered the possibility of owning it. Therefore, you must take on all their objections accordingly, and convert them to your benefit. Over time, different new techniques are being developed to handle the customer's every single objection. The ones listed below are the most effective ways as practiced by thriving salespeople.
The Boomerang Technique
The goal of this technique is to turn the customers around by taking exactly what they said to you, only to show that they are mistaken in their argument. It is called the boomerang technique because you use their opinions like a boomerang. They go around in a full circle; and when they come back, you are there to persuade them again.
A good example of a boomerang technique is as follows:
Customer: I think this necklace is very expensive.
Salesperson: I do believe it is too. But I assume that you don't want to give your wife a much cheaper present. Anyway, the necklace comes in a beautiful case and a rebate coupon. It is a nice present as it is. And even if you don't have the cash to pay for it today, we accept other payment methods like credit cards or even personal checks, though that requires some time to clear. And we can reserve this piece for you so that nobody else can buy it before you do.
The main idea here is to first agree to what customers are saying to make them believe that they are right. Then you try to attach what you, as a salesperson, want to impart. By doing that, you are using the principle of association. What you say simply becomes correct as well.
Renaming the Objections
There may even be times that the customer's objection can be turned into a positive energy outright. If the customer says that they have to talk to their husband or wife before they make a purchase or that they don't have the money to buy it right now, you don't just leave that as is and let them go with it. Instead, you handle it by making a play with words. Check out the example below:
Customer: I think I like your product but I can't buy it right now, as I don't have the money. I would need to tell my husband about it and see what he says.
Salesperson: Yes, I suppose that's proper, but instead of doing that, could you rather discuss it with him so that I can finalize your order today? I can arrange somebody to pick up the payment tomorrow for you.
As you can see, "tell" and "discuss" almost mean the same thing. But "discuss" is a much stronger word than "tell". To effectively close a sale, you should always use the more powerful word. You don't really change their meaning, but you have successfully translated them more to your favor.
Show The Customers The Bigger Picture
There are times when there is a need to show your customers that small and insignificant things are exactly that – insignificant. Make their objection about the color of the product look trivial compared to its portability or any of its other strong features. The technique here is to show to the customer what they can get in contrast to what they can’t. But don’t dwell on the things that your product can’t give. Focus more on the things it can offer.
Here’s an example:
Customer: I think this laptop is too big for me. I would like to buy something more compact.
Salesperson: You might have a point there. But this laptop is complete. It comes with everything you would need in a computer. What are a few inches in size if it can give you full functionality?
Try to distract your customers from the issue that you cannot resolve like size, shape, weight, and similar objections. Create an entirely different perspective on your product. Make it appear the best buy despite the small detail the customer requires.
Reframing the Objection
Reframing the objection is very similar to saying “no” to the customer in an entirely different way. You can do it by showing that there’s a misunderstanding between both your views. Use empathy. Blame the misunderstanding on yourself. Try turning the subject around as you reframe the objection. Read the following example:
Customer: You don’t seem to understand. I do not like this one. What I wanted is a longer coat. This one looks a little short on me.
Salesperson: Oh yes, sorry about that. But I just can’t help suggesting this one to you. It definitely looks good on your body frame.
Use the same terms or jargons the customers used on you to show that you understand what they need. But specifically, show them your viewpoint so that it will be difficult for them to deny that you are also right.
The Conditional Closing Technique
The idea behind this technique is simple. Don’t give your customers a second to think about possible objections. Instead of saying “Would you like to step in and check our products?” You say, “If you would step inside our booth and see our products, you are sure to find exactly what you are looking for. The following is another good example.
Customer: I want the portable-type DVD player. I think you don’t have any stock available.
Salesperson: If I call up the head office for a delivery right now, the portable DVD player should be here in less than hour. Will you wait for it?
See here that the conversation goes assertive but it doesn’t impose upon the customer. Try to build an agreement with your customer. Use the agreement that behind the surface says, “If I can solve the setback, you should buy the product.”
An even more powerful method is to structure your question in such a way that they will think they have options, yet both of these options are directed towards a sale. Ask questions like, “Would you like to pay in cash or credit card?” or “Would you like to take it home with you or have it delivered by us?” In these cases, any reply would result in a sale.
Repulsing the Objection
This is the assertive type of objection. This technique involves telling the customer subtly that they are wrong. But even though this objection is rather assertive, it is does not necessarily mean aggressive. Tell the customer that they are wrong, but do not rub it to them directly. See how the example below goes:
Customer: I believe that XYZ Company has the pioneering technology for photo printers. I suppose I should go for them to get the best buy.
Salesperson: That’s not true, sir. Even though the XYZ Company is the one who is regarded to be pioneer, it does not mean that they have the best technology in the market. Our engineering team had come up with this innovative photo printer with features that is first in its right today. I’m sure you won't see anything like it and all its capabilities in any of our competitor's product line.
Did you see how assertively yet feebly the salesperson handled the objection of the customer? That’s exactly how to do it. Politely tell that the customer that they are wrong and prove it to them. Prove it by making your products shine out. Besides, showing the customer that they are wrong will reveal how much you know about your own product and would expose your customer in their deception (should they use one as an objection to create a way out).
The Curious Salesperson Technique
Some customers can say point-blank to you that they do not want to buy what you are selling. Try to act curious and ask them why. They might stumble upon some reasons that they might have thought about at that minute.
Take each reason as an objection you can readily handle. Even if the customer did not buy, you have made contact and probably, a good acquaintance. You’ll never know when the same customer will soon decide to buy and would come looking for you. Moreover, they can spread news about your product through word-of-mouth, which happens to be one of the best promotional methods.
Here’s an example of the curious salesman technique:
Customer: I really don’t think I need these drapes just yet.
Salesperson: A lot of people had bought from us this week since it’s the holidays. I wonder why you are deciding otherwise? Was there any other reason? I’m quite sure that if you tell it to me we can try to work something out.
If you let out the child in you through inquisitiveness at the right time, you will surely either make a sale or gain a future customer. Whichever the case, you are bound to gain something from it.
Anticipating the Objection
Make your work easier by thinking about the most likely objection your product might get. Address it early on the conversation so that it will not surface later on. This is important so that the customer won’t mention it at a rather inconvenient time. Take the example below:
Customer: I’m looking for a charm bracelet to give as a gift to my mother.
Salesperson: You’ve come to the right store sir. Here are the best ones we’ve got. I know that these might cost a little. But they are made of high quality authentic stones, making it the perfect gift for a special person like your mother.
See how the salesperson addressed the issue about the price of the product early on? Not only will the customer be informed that the product may not come cheap, but it can also be a gauge whether or not the customer can afford it. If they back up immediately after saying the actual price of the product, you will know it is out of their budget. But if they don’t budge, they may have the money to buy it. This is very applicable with all the other major objections customers may have about your product.
Sidetracking the Objection
Probably the easiest way to handle an objection is to wave it off. This is the best way to go if the objection is major and insurmountable. No matter how good a salesperson you are, if you are trapped with the wrong product, you can only do as much. Therefore, a way out of this kind of objection is to let it go, at least for a while. You have the option to address it later, or you can opt not to at all. Check the example below:
Customer: Your digital camera has the lowest resolution in the market today. I wonder why it is still not putting down its price regardless of other brands releasing newer models already.
Salesperson: That’s a good observation. I’ll give you an answer to that later. However, if you look at the type of camera lens we are using, you will see that the camera is highly durable and would last for years.
The only thing that you have to remember about deflecting the customer’s question is not to shrug it off nonchalantly. Remember that customers want to be heard. So it is mandatory that you acknowledge their objection. Show them that you have heard it and did understand what they said. They deserve that in the least, especially if you don’t really intend to answer their question later on.
Objections will always arise. They are always a part of every sales transaction, no matter how big or small the deal is. One way to make objections work to your favor, instead of the customers’, is to strike a deal with them early on. After their first two objections, try to tell them that you are willing to answer the rest of their doubts about the product by asking them to write all objections in a piece of paper. Then continue with your sales pitch. Here’ s an example.
Customer: I’d like to buy that car audio system you are selling but I’m concerned about its installation, warranty, and almost everything else about it.
Salesperson: Well, I’d like to propose a deal with you sir. If you will listen to my presentation about the audio system, you can write down or make a mental note of all the possible questions and objections you may have about it as I go along. Then I will be addressing all of them to your satisfaction.
The example here has to be carried out in a mildly assertive manner, and never in a pushy one. The customer is not supposed to feel trapped. They definitely won’t like that. It is also important to make them understand that you will be crossing off their objections only if they are satisfied with the way you handled it. Else, they are free to check out the competitor’s product. You have to emphasize that point.
The Use of Empathy
You have to realize the insurmountable powers of empathy. Empathy is the mental process of putting one’s self into the shoes of another, and in this case, the shoes of the customers. It is a way of showing that you understand and feel the same way as your customer. Read the example below:
Customer: I am really not comfortable with the fit of this blouse. I think it is too smug. I can’t move much.
Salesperson: I know exactly how you feel. I actually tried one on and felt the same way. But I bought it and took it home instead. I wore it for the first time last night and I felt so confident in it. It matched my skirt, and the blouse isn’t too smug at all. In fact, it showed off my curve perfectly. However, if you think a larger size fits you better, I’ll be willing to help you.
Empathy alone has the power to change minds and emotions. The key here is to be as truthful as you can. Do not lie. The customers can see through you. Remember that they have a critical eye that is always checking you out. Just a single lie and they will never come back.
The Use of Humor
Humor has its own share of powers too. This is the perfect alternative to negative emotions. Instead of responding to your customer’s endless and persistent objection with either anger or frustration, try humor. It will definitely make the whole ordeal lighter and easier. You can also use humor to diffuse tension in the air, especially when things are heating up for some reasons. Here’s an example.
Customer: I am just passing by admiring your dog outside the window. Now you want me to buy it. I really don’t intend to buy anything. Please don’t stand in my way. I’ve got to go and I still have work to do.
Salesperson: Sir, the dog likes you now. He’s telling it to me through his gentle barks. Don’t you just hear the words he’s saying? He’s saying, “Take me home. I’d like you to be my master.” In fact, why don’t you give it a try? Take the dog home for a few days and if you don’t like it, you can always return it.
Some people easily go off the hook easily even with slight persuasion. The trick is to learn not to get offended. That way, you won’t be offending your customer with your replies. Inject a little humor whenever the situation calls for it and your sale will proceed the way that it should. Use gentle humor as a defense against hotheaded customers. It is very handy during such times. It has proven to dissolve customer's anger somewhat.