Objections to the Sale
Many sales are lost because salespeople don't know what to do when faced with an objection. They often assume that the customer is not going to buy and this might not be the case. The professional salesperson accepts responsibility for objections. Why? Well, the first step in dealing with objections is to stop causing them in the first place!
What is an Objection?
An objection is simply anything that prevents the salesperson from gaining commitment from a customer. It is a temporary obstacle in a sales journey - usually a statement made by a customer indicating that he or she is not ready to buy. This could take the form of a request for more information; a concern about the price; a concern about anything to do with the product, service, company, etc.; or any statement which could delay a customer’s decision.
What Causes Objections?
The biggest cause of objections is thesalesperson’s behaviour - the salesperson assuming needs; spraying features; or providing the customer with advantage statements. Spraying your customers with a long list of Features or Advantages (what you might think are Benefits of your product or service, but are not actually related in any way to what the customer wants or needs), will cause them to object to the sale.
Salespeople must have an in-depth understanding of their company and its products and services; otherwise all this is a waste of time. Before meeting with a customer, salespeople should thoroughly prepare for the meeting by finding out everything they can about the client and their business. Upon meeting with the customer, they should follow the initial steps of a professional sales process:
- Greet the Customer.
- Ask questions to fully uncover and understand the customer’s needs.
- Answer the customer’s expressed needs with relevant Benefits.
Objections however, cannot be completely prevented. If you use professional selling skills perfectly, i.e. meeting the customer’s expressed needs with relevant Benefit Statements, you will certainly minimise the amount of objections you receive, but you cannot stop them completely. There are so many reasons why, when dealing with people, you might encounter objections, and therefore you need an effective strategy to deal with them when they do occur.
The following four steps will help you deal successfully with most objections as long as you have a comprehensive knowledge of your company, its services and products, and are applying professional selling skills which focus on satisfying the customer’s expressed needs.
1. Listen to understand
Don’t assume you know what the objection is. Take time to listen; to concentrate on what is being said; and aim to fully understand the customer's concern.
2. Test your understanding
Unless you understand the objection, you are not going to overcome it. Testing your understanding will:
- Provide clarity.
- Show the customer that you are concerned about meeting their needs.
- Show the customer that you're listening with the intention of understanding.
- Give you time to think of an appropriate response.
3. Ask a question to clarify their needs
If you can identify a way in which your customer will be satisfied, you will know which step to take next.
4. Answer with a benefit statement
The principle for effective and persuasive selling still applies. If you don't meet the customer's needs, you won't gain commitment to the sale. You need to answer the customer’s expressed need with a Benefit Statement to overcome the objection successfully.
Customer: "This won't do the job". (Objection)
Salesperson: "What is it that you are unsure about?" (Testing understanding)
Customer: "Well I'm a bit unsure about the quality." (Clarify further)
Customer: "The extension platform looks very weak, I don't think it will take the weight". (Objection clear)
Salesperson: "And what you are looking for is something that will cope with the weight of at least one of your loaded wheelbarrows?" (Question probing for need)
Customer: "Yes exactly!" (Need expressed)
Salesperson: "The extension platform does look quite simple because of it's practical design, It is constructed from reinforced steel and has been designed to support at least two loaded forklift units so you can certainly rely on its strength. Here, let me show you how it handles very heavy loads........ " (Benefit statement)