“Every objection can be anticipated.” That’s a wise observation from an astute manager I worked for early on in my sales career. His second observation was even more memorable: “Prepare a response for every objection.”
Some people say objections just mean buyers are interested. Others say prospects use objections to test your sales savvy or to see how you respond.
Either way, moving qualified buyers into your forecast and increasing your sales pipeline means addressing objections—without being defensive. Even more important is bringing up possible objections before your buyer even has a chance to do so. Come on, you know what they’re thinking, so go ahead and acknowledge their concerns.
That’s why I resonated with the wake-up call from this week’s guest blogger, Art Sobczak. He challenges sales professionals to ditch the rote responses, get real, and face buyer objections as soon as possible.
Here’s his take:
“How do you overcome that objection prospects always give? Beat them to the punch.
While preparing for a recent client training session, I listened in on some of the sales team’s calls. I almost applauded when I heard one of them say, ‘Right now you might be thinking that since you are in a contract with a supplier, that would hold you back. Here’s how others have handled that…’
The rep then proceeded to masterfully remove that possible, yet unspoken objection.
If there’s an issue that always comes up as an objection, don’t wait around for the client to say something. Instead, bring it up yourself and address it before it becomes a major issue.
Own the Conversation
By answering potential objections before your clients have a chance to make them, you clear up negative thinking early in the call.
For example, if a prospect feels your price is too high, he might have already decided he can’t afford it—which means he won’t be listening to your presentation very carefully. But if you address the situation early, and resolve the issue, the prospect will be more likely to hear you out.
How do you transition into a conversation about the inevitable objection? Try one of these phrases:
“I bet you are asking yourself…”
“You might be wondering…”
“If you are concerned about…”
“Some clients worry that…”
Own Your Imperfections
Still skeptical? Then don’t take my word for it. Just ask psychologists.
In his outstanding book, Triggers: How to Use the Psychological Triggers of Selling to Motivate, Persuade & Influence, copywriting and advertising genius Joseph Sugarman writes about how he has turned losing products into profitable ones, simply by airing the dirty laundry and product disadvantages up front. This reduces and often eliminates major objections to the sale.
For example, he was writing an ad for a thermostat consumers would have to install themselves. Knowing this would be a common objection, he mentioned it at the beginning of the ad, and then resolved it by explaining that the thermostat wires were only 24 volts—not enough to hurt anyone. And the wires were color-coded and easy to install.
Own Your Results
In my all-time favorite book on persuasion, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini explains how bringing up shortcomings actually builds one’s credibility.
He tells the story of an unscrupulous waiter who would often dissuade people from buying some of the more expensive dishes. He would say, ‘The filet isn’t that good today,’ and suggest something slightly less costly.
Appreciating his ‘honesty,’ customers would then listen very intently to his wine recommendations, which often cost more than the food—therefore bumping up the total bill and his tip. (I know, the waiter was being manipulative, but the story certainly proves Cialdini’s point.)
What are the obstacles that always (or at least usually) arise with your product or service? Come up with a way to admit them, explain them, and then point out your advantages.”
What are your strategies for overcoming client objections?
Since 1983, Art Sobczak has helped sales professionals use the phone to be more effective in their prospecting, sales, and servicing of customers. He’s the author of hundreds of training resources on inside sales, telesales, and prospecting for outside sales reps—including audios, videos, his long-running (27 years) “Telephone Selling Report” newsletter, books, and online training. Almost all of these resources are instantly accessible in his new membership site: SmartCallingOnline.com.