Customer objections can come in a variety of forms. Sometimes it seems a customer is delineating an objection when they are really just asking a question for more information. If this is the case, be patient and answer honestly. Often with more information and clarification the customer will be “on board.”
It is important here to check for understanding after you answer the customer’s question. Sometimes the objections that customers raise are, in fact, false objections or “smoke screens.” The customer may point out things that are beyond your control. It can be difficult to determine the difference between a real objection and a smoke screen, and you need to be cautious. For smoke screens the best approach is to help the customer work through all of the other questions they have so they have complete information.
A key point to remember is that customer objections are in no way a sign of failure. In fact, the opposite is true. When a customer raises an objection, it is a clear sign they are paying attention to the points you are making and seriously thinking about your product or service. By carefully listening to your customers’ objections, you can learn what specific information your customers need before they do business with you. Many salespeople say “the only bad objection is the one that you don’t hear.”
You can, and should, prepare for objections that will come your way during the selling process. Most experienced salespeople indicate that 80% of the objections they encounter are ones they can predict, because they hear them from various customers. Being aware of this and taking appropriate action allows you to prepare an appropriate response for possible objections.
Pen and paper exercise:
List three objections (concerns that are a barrier to the purchase decision) that you anticipate hearing from your customers in a selling situation. Then beside each objection write down at least one idea for overcoming that objection.
There are a few tips will help you as you are handling objections. First, the words you use send a subtle and important message. Did you ever notice how the word “but” is harsh and can quickly turn the other person off? For example, “I understand that you have another supplier that you are very happy with, but we can provide faster service for you.”
The introduction of the word “but” in that sentence sends an implicit message to the customer you don’t care about the first part of the sentence. Try substituting the word “however” when you would have previously used “but.”
Second, avoid getting into arguments with your customers. You could end up winning the argument but losing the sale and who really wins in that situation (Hint – it’s not you?)
Third, help your customer save face. You can do this by accepting the blame for misunderstandings, letting them know that other customers think as they do or simply blaming the situation rather than anybody specific. A useful tool is the “feel, felt, found” phrase. For example you might say, “I understand how you feel about the price; other customers have also felt that the price is high and when they had a chance to use the product they found that the value was worth it.”
In handling objections be careful to listen to your customers, restate any objections to make sure that both you and your customer are talking about the same thing, ask for more information when you need it, and then handle the objection. In some cases your product/service will not be a good fit for the customer so know when to quit. It is better to quit and not burn bridges for future sales.
The final step, the “close,” is the culmination of the selling process. It entails asking the prospect for a firm commitment to purchasing your products or services. The objective of the close is to motivate the prospect to make a mutually beneficial decision. A successful close will accomplish your sales call objective and result in receiving an order — hitting pay dirt!
Many salespeople consider the closing to be the most daunting part of the selling process. After all, asking for the order is the “moment of truth,” and many salespeople have difficulty closing because they are afraid of rejection. While no one likes to be turned down, it is important to remember that the customer agreed to spend time with you, agreed to work with you to find a solution, and expects you to ask for their business. The best mind-set is to be confident and have a positive attitude.