Key Learning Outcomes

  • Understand that objections should be viewed as opportunities, not problems.
  • Use our trial close technique to encourage customers to reveal their concerns or objections.
  • Demonstrate active listening skills and open-ended questions when addressing customers’ objections and isolating the objection.
  • Show customers empathy so they feel their needs are understood and a solution can be found.

Article

In sales often objections are looked at as problems rather than opportunities. It is important to look at objections as a positive thing when you are selling or dealing with an issue as it means that the person is thinking about and considering your proposition. It is always better to know about the objection to allow you the opportunity to overcome it. Whenever someone has an unresolved objection is dramatically affects the chance of winning the business.

When yes means no

Often a sales person will finish an appointment believing that everything went well only to find down the track that the potential client has decided to go with the opposition. This can be stressful for the sales person as they thought that they did well and often the potential client does not give them any concrete reasons as to why they did not get the business. There are a few situations that sales people should be on the look out for.[wlm_ismember]

If a potential client says to you, “thanks it all sounds good but I just need to think about it”, often this means that they are just delaying telling you that you do not have the business. Saying no is confronting for some people so they use this tactic to make the process easier for them. This can be more evident when dealing with some cultures such as the Japanese where they feel it would be impolite to say no. In fact you might leave that meeting with the customer nodding their head and you feel positive only to get disappointing news down the track.

It is better to know

A good sales person will actively seek out any objections in order to move the potential client closer to a positive decision. Using a trial close technique which we outline our sales process article will force the client to either say yes or to say what is concerning them. This allows the sales person to deal with the objections and move on. It is important to remember that there is a fine line between seeking out objections and putting an objection in the client’s mind that they had not actually thought of. Always ask open-ended questions to find out what the client is thinking rather than a closed question about something that could bother the client or that has been an objection for others.

Listen

Always listen fully to the client’s objection. Use active listening to show that you are listening to understand rather than listening to respond. Too many sales people interrupt a client mid way through their objection, jumping in with a solution before fully understanding what the actually issue is. This can be frustrating for the client and leads to them shutting down and ultimately looking for someone who can satisfy their needs more effectively.

It is important as a sales person to wait for the client to finish speaking and then confirm that they understand the objection by repeating the objection back to the client. Then if required, ask open-ended questions to get further clarification. This shows the client that you are taking their objection seriously and allows you to get to the bottom of the issue.

For example, a sales person may be selling a sofa to a young family. The objection might be that they are worried about the fabric. By asking what in particular are they worried about the sales person might find that they are worried that the children might spill things on the sofa as this had happened to their previous one. The sales person can then outline some potential solutions such as a 5-year guarantee fabric protection option or perhaps a leather, which can be wiped clean.

Isolating the objection

It is important to ensure when dealing with an objection that it is the only thing holding the client back from making a decision and not just an excuse to avoid saying no. Use our technique of putting the objection to the side to isolate the objection and ensure that there is not something else bothering the client. Let’s use the sofa as an example.

Sales person : “Putting the fabric to the side for a moment as I believe I have a couple of solutions that you will be happy with, is there anything else that is bothering you?”

Client: “No, other than worrying about the fabric being ruined we are really happy with it.”

Sales person: “Excellent, I have two good options in regard to the fabric……..”

In this situation the client is happy with the sofa other than the concern for the fabric. This allows the sales person to provide the potential solution and get a positive result. However, the scenario may have gone like this:

Sales person : “Putting the fabric to the side for a moment as I believe I have a couple of solutions that you will be happy with, is there anything else that is bothering you?”

Client: “Well, to be honest we love the style but it is really a lot more than we were prepared to spend and we think it could be too large for our room.”

Sales person: “That’s ok, doesn’t sound like this one is for you. We do have another one in a similar style that is a little smaller and might work for you, it is also available in easy care leather which might also work well with the children.”

In this situation there is little point the sales person getting caught up in solving the issue with the fabric as there are other objections that will not be as easy to overcome. Even if the client was able to stretch their budget they certainly will not be able to increase the size of their living room.

Feel, felt, found

Feel, felt, found is a proven technique for overcoming objections. It allows the sales person to show empathy, “I understand how you feel”. It makes the person feel vindicated as “others have felt the same” and then it provides a solution “however, what we have found is ….”. Again we can use the sofa as an example:

Client: “We are worried about the fabric, it is a big purchase and we do not want it to get ruined with the children spilling things.”

Sales person: “I understand how you feel, it is a beautiful sofa and you would not want to see it ruined. A number of my other clients with young children have felt the same in the past. What they have found is that with our 5-year guarantee fabric protection service spills actually do not seep into the fabric and are as easy to clean off as if it were a spill on wood or tile. Would you like me to demonstrate for you?”

As you can see the sales person was able to make the client feel that their objection was not unreasonable and they were able to provide a solution. They further backed this up with the offer of a demonstration as evidence.

Confirm and move on

It is important to confirm that the solution is satisfactory for the client. If they say, “it sounds ok but I would like to think about it” there is a high probability that you have not fully overcome the objection. In this instance it is important to ask more questions. Once it is cleat that the objection has been overcome the sales person can then ask for the business and close the deal.

These techniques can be used effectively not just in sales but also in any situation where you are looking to persuade someone in a business or personal situation.[/wlm_ismember]

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