Mark Hunter, who calls himself “The Sales Hunter”, (nice play on words) writes a sales motivation blog at thesaleshunter.com. One of his sales training tips, “#370: What to do with an Objection” was recently brought to my attention by the folks from Sunshine Pages (thank you Wayne)
In this tip Hunter turns around the normal assumption most people have that an objection means there is a problem and hence, a discount is needed to keep the conversation and ultimately the sale moving. Hunter believes just the opposite. When the customer voices an objection, that means they’re thinking and engaged with the sales process/discussion. It also means there must be at least some level of interest in buying since you weren’t asked to leave. If anything, increase the price with each objection.
My observation has been that the best, most successful sales reps view objections as an opportunity, and not the roadblock that lesser reps see it as. Could it be that objections are really the customer trying to come up with reasons to convince THEMSELVES that they shouldn’t be buying? If it’s just an objection, and not a “not interested”/don’t like you/don’t like your product type comment, then isn’t an objection almost a buying signal?
Of course skilled reps know they need to keep drilling down to find what the TRUE objection is, most likely around where this business owner wants their business to be in 2, 3, or even 4 years from now. Again my observation is that the issue is the ROI or value for what they are about to spend. This becomes the opportunity for the rep to begin presenting call-tracking data, testimonials from other advertisers, and usage data that reinforces the results that ad program can bring to their business.
As one of the reps from the Sunshine Pages commented: “…I liked objections—they made me learn more about my customer’s business, honed my selling skills, and made me memorize stats regarding his heading prior to going into the appointment. I got to a point where I could almost anticipate the objection and already had the answer to it. This comes with time but the sooner one learns to do this, the more successful one will be.”
Also note the reps comments bring you back to the issue of being prepped BEFORE going into an account. Do you have an A, B, and C plan already prepared? Have you looked to see what they are doing online? Do you have a fresh piece of spec art ready? And most importantly, do you have 4 or 5 new concepts/ideas you can recommend to that business that will give them a reason to invest in your products or services??
So next time the customer throws you an objection, take the time to dig down on the objection by first validating if the objection is real. Then use questions to further engage the customer and have them build more on their objection, especially if you’re confident you can respond favorably to the objection (hint: because you did your prep work).
By getting the customer to build on their objection, you’re getting them to be even more engaged and connected with the recommendation you’ve offered. Don’t start discounting as soon as that first objection comes out. Turn it around and keep moving to a closing statement on your “A” plan, which should be your highest priced plan.
Besides, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Your close attempt is rejected. If that happens, time to respond to them with another question, getting them to explain to you even more where the fear(s) are.