In the final installment of this month’s feature on objection handling, we’re going to provide you with a useful strategy for overcoming challenging sales objections in today’s marketplace.
Objection handling is a crucial aspect of speeding up the sales process and moving deals forward. If you can master the objections raised by your clients, you will find it much easier to negotiate and close sales that are both attractive to you and your prospects.
As outlined in our previous article, no matter how well you prepare for avoiding and anticipating sales objections, you will do extremely well to avoid every single objection. Sales professionals must therefore be competent at handling objections if they want to improve their ability to negotiate and draw sales to a successful close.
The three key steps for handling and overcoming objections that we teach at our sales training events are as follows:
1. Understand the real sales objection…then qualify and counter the challenge
By preparing well and asking open questions throughout the meeting, you will find it much easier to understand, qualify and counter the real sales objections raised by your client.
You must understand, qualify and counter the real objection in terms of:
- the cause and impact that your solution will have upon the buyer;
- the buyer’s needs and priorities;
- and how flexible the buyer is willing to be in order to overcome the real sales objection.
But remember, it is essential that you:
- stay Calm and focused;
- Listen actively;
- Emphasise the objection;
- and Probe and test the objection.
We call this process CLEP, where the sales person tests the buyer’s concerns to find out how the objection can be overcome.
Example: By understanding, qualifying and countering a price objection, you may find that you can offer different service levels or faster delivery of your solution to overcome the objection.
2. Negotiate the conditions and alternatives for overcoming the objection and the best way forward
Negotiate the conditions for overcoming the objection by reconfirming that the buyer is able (and willing) to move on to the next stage of the deal. This can be achieved with a trial close. If the objection is too difficult for you to overcome, proactively suggest alternative solutions which you think meet the needs and desires of your client.
Hint: This may be a great opportunity to modify your offer to outflank your competition’s proposal and may even be an opportunity for you to up-sell and/or cross-sell your solution.
3. Use the buyer’s motivation to get a close to commitment or to move the deal forward
Once you’ve agreed the alternatives and best solution for your prospect, use their needs and desires to get a close to commitment. Here you must achieve a close where the client either agrees to sign the contract immediately or agrees to move on to the next stage of the sale. Remember, the client’s needs and desires should become apparent throughout the sales meeting and can be derived from the key objections they raise.
Sales meetings usually break down because traditional sales people fail to avoid, handle and overcome buyer objections. They often fail to motivate the buyer and, therefore, fail to handle objections because they don’t drive the momentum of the meeting. To lead sales meetings, you must create critical and urgent needs in the buyer’s mind with a compelling event. Many adopt the traditional FAB approach to selling which frustrates the buyer because the sales person fails to demonstrate an understanding of the pressures that are facing the buyer and their priorities going forward.
Sales people must understand the buyer’s world if they are to effectively avoid, handle and overcome objections.
Too many sales people also fail to anticipate the kinds of objections that are likely to be raised throughout the sales process. When objections are raised, they are taken by surprise. Some even take the objections personally and become defensive, or even aggressive, in their sales techniques. This is a sure way to annoying the client and killing any chances of achieving a successful close.
Understand the buyer’s world…
Many traditional sales people don’t really understand the buyer’s world. Even if they do, they often fail to demonstrate this understanding because their communication skills or presentation skills are not refined to deal with buyer objections. When these objections are raised, they struggle to relate them to the buyer’s world and many perceive their buyer as being “difficult” when, in reality, they are seeking to test and clarify the sales person’s understanding of the external pressures and internal pain-points that they face.
By failing to prepare and pushing the features, advantages and benefits of their solution instead, many traditional sales people inadvertently give the buyer a reason to raise objections by introducing doubt or concern when they fail to recognise key issues in their responses to the buyer’s questions, in their proposal, or in their presentation.
Remember, you must avoid objections by creating urgency and desire in the client’s mind through a compelling event which demonstrates your clear understanding of the buyer’s world. You must then anticipate, handle and overcome the remaining objections through preparation, flexibility, negotiation and a trial close to confirm that the buyer is willing to take the deal through to a successful close. If you can achieve this, the buyer will probably be so relieved that you overcame all of their concerns that they will want to say “Yes” and sign on the dotted line…
Written by: Steve Eungblut, Managing Director of Sterling Chase