You did everything right. This entire sales interaction from start to finish could have been a blue print for the sales training manual. It was perfect. You unearthed the prospect’s problems, some of which he did not even realise he had.
You demonstrated beyond any doubt how your product would solve those problems and greatly benefit the client. You then showed how affordable it is to go ahead. You foresaw every objection and stall well ahead of time and you eliminated those objections before they even came up.
Still, the prospect objects. The prospect objects and admits that he does not really have an objection. He just will not buy and even he is not sure why.
The No Objection Objection
You have probably encountered the prospect who would not buy even though there was no reason not to do so. The fact is that many people will object, simply because there is no objection. They will object BECAUSE there is nothing to which they can object.
Everyone Wants to BUY, but No One Wants to be SOLD
The reality of human nature is that people never want to feel like someone took advantage of them, or as if they had no control over making a decision. The prospect may indeed want to buy. However, they do not want to FEEL as if some fancy, know-it-all sales person talked them or manipulated them into buying.
When you leave the prospect with nothing to say except “Yes,” it often makes the prospect feel like you trapped them. They feel like you left them no CHOICE.
Dealing With the No Objection Objection
A simple way around this problem is to leave some type of an objection on the table for the prospect to raise. Take one objection that you know will come up, but instead of eliminating it during the sales interaction, leave it until the close.
Then, and most importantly, when the prospect brings up that objection, do not overcome it too easily or quickly. You must give their objection some sense of validity.
Please note: this is not some form of manipulation or trickery. The fact is that the objection IS valid. The fact that you already know what the objection will be and have an answer for it, does not make the objection any less important.
You have to remember that you have seen your presentation dozens, hundreds or thousands of times, and to YOU the objection is means nothing. The prospect, however, is seeing this for the first time and this concern, this issue, has come to mind for the first time.
If you solve the issue in the blink of an eye, you lessen the value of the objection and simultaneously, the value of the prospect’s opinion.
Help the Buyer
Your job as a professional sales person is to HELP the prospect to buy. To do this, you must HELP them be comfortable. You cannot slap the buyer in the face with the fact that you are in control.
Turn the No Objection Objection into the Planned Objection Objection
Leave the prospect with an objection you know you can handle. Allow the prospect to use this objection with strength and do not overcome it too fast. Then isolate the objection and overcome it with tact, and everybody wins!
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Every day, I hear from sales people who are confused, frustrated or defeated by facing what they feel is a nearly insurmountable objection:
“I am sorry, but I am very happy with my current supplier/vendor. We have been doing business with them for many years and have no reason to change…”
This position strikes terror in most sales people and many ask me for advice on how to overcome this objection. The problem is that this is NOT an objection. It is a matter of fact, and should be expected.
Waiting for You?
My question is, when you call a prospective client, what did you expect their situation to be? Did you really think the prospect would be sitting there, without a current supplier or vendor and just waiting for you to call?
It is obvious that the prospective company is already doing business with one of your competitors. Now, if that decision maker were completely unhappy and unsatisfied with that current vendor, do you think he or she would have done something about it? What businessperson would continue to do business with a vendor for which they truly did not want to do business? And if, that were the case, then would not that vendor had probably called YOU?
Of course, they are happy with their current supplier or vendor, and you should already assume that. It is not an objection. Therefore, do not take it as an objection and move on. Instead of trying to argue the fact that perhaps you would make a better supplier, take the sales process as it should progress…one-step at a time.
Glad to Hear That
Do not argue the point. Instead, agree and even congratulate the prospect and let them know the reason for your contact at this stage of the sales process.
“Well, I am really happy with our current technical training company. We have been working with them for about ten years, and we are very satisfied.”
“Great! I am glad to hear that Ethan. I would think that since you have been doing business with XYZ Tech for all of these years, that you are indeed very happy. I am also certain that they EARNED your business. Ethan, I am not asking you to GIVE me your business because I have NOT earned as they did. All I am asking is that you allow me to give you some valuable information about new developments in our industry over a quick 30 minute meeting. Perhaps in time, I might be able also to EARN some of your business. But in the mean time, the information will beneficial to you…”
The situation is the exact opposite of what most sales people think: Don’t fear the prospect who is happy with their current supplier…fear the one who is not.
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“Well, everything looks good. But I just have to ask my wife about this…”
“Yes, it is a great offer, but I always discuss things like this with my husband first…”
Is It an Objection, a Stall or a Condition?
We are all familiar with the spouse objection, and before I give you a great way to answer this stall, let me first make one thing clear: You first must make sure that you are dealing with an objection or a stall and not a CONDITION.
What I mean is that if your sales process is such that to have a qualified prospect, you need both the husband AND wife together, then you are not dealing with an objection or a stall. If you are doing a “one-legged” presentation, that is a condition. In such a case, you need to strengthen your qualifying and appointment setting. Closing is not the issue.
However, in situations where a couple is not the DM (decision maker), then you have, in most cases a stall, sometimes an objection.
The Real DM
You have the business owner and you know that the spouse has absolutely nothing to do with the business. Yet the shop owner tells you that he has to speak to his wife. Or the doctor or accountant tells you that she has to “run it by” her husband first. In these cases, try the answer below.
This answer, however, is not for the faint of heart. It takes a strong sales person. As always, the words are nothing more than an example of the concept and not meant as a script. Also, it will work for either spouse, as well as for other unconnected people that the prospect wants to use as the basis for a stall.
Shame On You!
As soon as you get that stall, your reaction needs to revert to one pure shock and utter disappointment. You cannot believe what you are hearing. Then, very sincerely and almost defeated, come back with something like this…
“Ah…wow. Um, I really just don’t know what to say, Steve. I mean, I ah…I really don’t know what to even think about that.”
“What? It’s no big deal. I always talk about things like this with my wife.”
“Steve, let me get this straight…you run this business every day, and make all the decisions every day, is that right?”
“And, you have your finger on the pulse of this business. I mean you know what is going on every minute; you manage the daily operations, correct?”
“Yes. But like I said, I like to talk to her about things like this.”
“Steve, you know this business inside and out, and more intimately than anyone on earth can know this business, including your wife. Then, on top of that, you have me, right here in front of you, giving you ALL of the information you need to make a informed, intelligent business decision…AND I’m right here, now, to answer questions.
Now, with all of that, YOU are apparently STILL not able to make a business decision.
So, you are telling me, you are going to go to your wife; who knows one-tenth of what you know and understand of the needs of YOUR business…then you are going to give her just a small fraction of the information.
Steve, I have spent three years learning how to deliver the information I just gave to you in the last 45 minutes. There is simply no way possible for you to give her the same information and you will not have all of the material I have either.
But, you are going to ask your wife; Sarah, right? Who has but a fraction of the knowledge and understanding of your business, and you are going to give her but maybe 10% of the information needed to make an educated decision…
And you are going to PUT 100% of the RESPONSIBILITY to make YOUR business decision on HER shoulders?! Steve, I just cannot believe you would put that type of PRESSURE on your wife.
I’m shocked and a little disappointed. I’m sorry.”
While that example may be a bit exaggerated, that is exactly what the prospect is saying. When you make it clear to the buyer what they are actually telling you, usually you will get the truth.
“Well, no. I mean. I make the decisions. I just wanted to talk to her. Actually, the main thing I want to talk to her about is the monthly payment. I’m just a little concerned about that…”
If it is a one-legger, you done. If not, this close may salvage a few sales you may have thought were lost.
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“I want to think about it…” may be the most popular objection in the world, and still causes many sales people a lot of grief and substantial income. The reason behind the objection is usually that the sales interaction did not successfully inspire a sense of urgency in the prospect. As I have said before, you need to address and nullify most objections during the sales process or interaction and long before you ask for the order.
However, I know the “Want to think about it…” objection still haunts many professionals, so allow me to give you one little gem that can help you close a few more sales, even if you waited until the last minute.
You Have BEEN Thinking About It
Before I give you an example, I want you to understand the concept. In answering this objection, you want to help the prospect realize that they have already BEEN thinking about it, and for a long time.
Essentially, you want the prospect to understand that he or she has thought about, desired and sought the benefits your product or service offers, long before you ever came along. The prospect always wanted those benefits; always wanted the results that your product delivers.
Your next step is to help the prospect also understand that while they have been thinking about the benefits, the exact vehicle, method or tool that would help them achieve and receive those benefits, is what they did not know of, and that is what they really need to think about.
Value, Affordability, Competition
When you successfully accomplish the first two steps, you turn the “think about it” objection into one of value, price or competition, which you should be able to handle.
Here is a generic example, and as always, remember, this is a hypothetical example and is in no way meant as suggested script. It is the idea and the concept that I want you to digest.
Selling advertising and marketing services to a small business owner
Prospect – “Like I said, it looks great, but I really need to think about it.”
Sales Person – “Steve, you’ve already thought about it. In fact you have BEEN thinking about this for years.”
Prospect – “What are you talking about? I just met you and found out about your services.”
Sales Person – “Steve, you told me you opened up the store, what was it…11 years ago? Is that right?”
Prospect – “Yeah. Last month made it 11 years.”
Sales Person – “Then Steve, you have been thinking about this for at least 11 years. For 11 years you’ve been thinking about becoming the biggest most successful Widget maker in this area, haven’t you?”
Prospect – “Uh, well yeah…”
Sales Person – “Steve, from the very day you opened the doors, you wanted to get ALL of the business in your doors. You wanted to capture the largest possible share of the Widget market that you could get, didn’t you? I mean from DAY ONE, you wanted to become NUMBER ONE in the Widget industry, outshining all of your competition, isn’t that right?”
Prospect – “Well, of course…”
Sales Person – “Steve, our products and services do nothing less than help you get what you have always thought about getting, and help you do what you’ve been thinking about doing for the last 11 years.
What I am saying Steve, is that you have been thinking about these issues, these benefits for years. The only thing you may not have known was what was the best vehicle, the best and most cost efficient method or tool to help get you there. Does that make sense?”
Steve, there are only two issues that you do have to decide on, and they are, number one:
Do you really believe that our ExecPlan Service will actually help you get those things you’ve been thinking about? “
(Note: If the answer is NO, maybe, I don’t know or anything but a resounding YES, then guess what? That’s right; you blew it in the sales interaction somewhere. Go back to what you missed, to what you failed to help the prospect understand, and take it from there. If the answer is yes…”
Prospect – “Oh yeah! Like I said, I think it’s a great plan…”
Sales Person – “Well Steve, it sounds like the main thing you really want to make sure of is if the plan truly is the best value for the money, and if you can really afford to make the move today. Does that sound more like what you want to ponder?”
Another important thing to understand about this close, is that often, the main thing the prospect needs is that rekindling of their dreams.
Husband and Wife
“Sharon and Mike, you have been thinking about this for years and years. The very day you bought this home and began to start a family, you already thought about providing your children with the very best home environment and education that you could. You have been thinking about making sure they stay in the best of health. The day little Mike was born, you vowed then and there to make sure he would have…”
You get the idea.
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You ask for the order and the prospect does not accept. Is the prospect objecting, stalling or is there a condition that is preventing the sale?
I know these terms are familiar, but I don’t believe most sales people understand the differences between these three no-sale responses. However, understanding the difference will allow you to respond in the proper manner, and help you close a few more sales.
#1 = An Objection
First, understand that an objection is a situation in where the prospect CAN buy, but has made a decision not to do so. While there may seem to be 10,000 objections out there, essentially there are only two. The prospect, for one reason or another, does not fully believe in, or is not SOLD on, the analysis of the problem, or the solution to solve it.
Diagnosis and Prescription
For the prospect to buy, your product or service has to solve a problem the prospect is having or satisfy some desire. Therefore, as you heard me say a million times, you have to unearth the prospect’s problems to expose the want and need. You then present the solution to solve those problems and satisfy the want and need.
When the prospect objects, they disagree with your assessment of the problem or your solution to it. Either, they do not believe that the problem, the need, is as bad or as urgent as you say, or your solution will not solve the problem or it cost more than the problem itself.
Objections are actually a good thing, in that they expose areas in your sales interaction where you may have come up short. Remember, however, that with an objection, the prospect has made a decision. The decision was “NO.” That is also good, because now you can give the buyer NEW information so that they can make a NEW decision
#2 = A Stall
A stall is where the prospect has NOT made a decision, and is doing everything possible NOT to make a decision. The problem sales people have with a stall, is that they usually try to get the prospect to make a decision AND make a positive buying decision at the same time. That’s too much to ask for.
Often, the sales person is trying to overcome an objection, when the prospect has not yet made a decision. In such a case, there IS NO OBJECTION to overcome. The prospect will not decide. With a stall, just help the prospect to make a decision, either “YES” or “NO.” Then, if the decision is no, you have an objection.
#3 = A Condition
A condition is a situation in where circumstances make it impossible for the prospect to buy. A condition is something that neither you nor the prospect can do anything about. A condition is an obstacle in where even if the prospect desperately wanted to buy, they could not.
You should have qualifying filters in place to eliminate prospects that cannot buy, very early in the sales process. However, you will sometimes end up in a situation where something will prevent the sale.
Far too many sales people today, accept routine objections and stalls as if they are conditions, when they are not.
“Your displays look great, and I really wish I could buy them. But, our home office will not allow us to display merchandise from outside vendors. It is a violation of my franchise contract.”
That is a CONDITION.
“Your displays look great, and I really wish I could buy them. But I really just don’t have the funds right now…”
That is NOT a condition.
An objection = give more information to get a new decision.
A stall = help the prospect make a decision and be willing to accept “NO.”
A condition (a real one that is) = qualify your prospects better and avoid this.
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Objections: those reasons, stalls, excuses, or otherwise barriers that prevent you from closing the sale. Every professional sales person is familiar with objections, and has invested significant amounts of time learning how to deal with objections. You may not like sales objections, but let’s face it; if prospects did not object, you probably would not have a job.
A Different View
Today however, I want you to take a moment and THINK a little differently about objections. I want you to look at objections from a different perspective. In doing so, I believe it will help you better understand the buyer and your processes in handling and overcoming more objections successfully.
A Good Question
“Why do you try to overcome an objection?”
Before you answer that question too quickly, let me add this bit of news. Who is it that has the objection? Is it YOU? No. Ok. It is the prospect who actually has an objection, not you. How then, does anything really change if YOU overcome the objection?
You see, since it is the prospect that has the objection, the problem, the mental block that is stalling the sales process, then it is really the prospect who has to overcome the objection—NOT you.
A Different Way of Thinking
If the prospect objects on price, then it is the prospect that has to overcome that feeling and belief. Whatever the objection, it is the prospect that has to get past it. I say this because the only thing you can truly do is HELP the prospect get over the objection.
Instead of viewing the objection you get as an obstacle, as an obstruction, as a call-to-war, look at it as a time that you really need to HELP the prospect get through a difficult point of understanding.
The Same Side
As a professional sales person dealing with today’s modern and educated buyer, remember that you are on the same side. You want the same thing. The sales process is not a fight or a battle where someone wins and someone looses.
When the prospect raises an objection, you can battle with rebuttals and try to overcome the objection, or you can HELP the prospect solve his or her problem by working together.
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You have gone through the entire sales presentation. You have closed a dozen times. You faced and, you thought, you overcame, what seems like a thousand objections; and still the prospect will not buy.
It’s all over and it’s time to leave. Try this last ditch effort. Hey, you have nothing to lose!
No scripts or magic words here. I want you first to understand the philosophy about this concept. When you have lost the sale, the fact is that you have failed. If you believe in your heart that the prospect would be better off by owning what you sell, then if they do not buy, they have to be worse off. Does that make sense?
The prospect is going to suffer, pay more, lose more, save less, or in some way, pay the price for not buying your product or service and it is YOUR fault. You failed to help the prospect see and understand that they truly need what you have. When you do not close the sale, if your only concern is that you lost a commission, you are not yet a true professional. You should feel that you let the prospect down.
So apologise for your ineptness. Apologise that you were not able to help him, her or the organisation.
“I’m sorry. But like I said, I am not going to go ahead with this. It looks great, but I just cannot swing it right now.”
“No Steve. I am sorry. I really apologise to you. I’m sorry. ”
“You have nothing to be sorry about.”
“Oh yes I do. Apparently, I was not able to show you how much you really need our XJ200.”
“No. I can see that I need it…”
“Well, then I was not a good enough sales person to help you see that it will save you thousands of pounds every year.”
“No, you did that. Like I said, it really looks good…”
“Well, then I must not have been capable of making it clear of how easily affordable it is and that it will pay for itself in a short time.”
“I can understand that…”
Accept Apology or Explain
As you can see, with this approach the prospect has to either argue with your apology, in which case he or she eliminates all the objections. Or the prospect can accept your apology, in which case they tell you exactly what the problem is that is holding them back.
“I apologise that I am not a good enough sales person to show you exactly how our help desk software will save you thousands of pounds every month.”
“Well, that’s ok. I think other companies have more problems at their helpdesk than we do…”
Once you found where you came up short in your sales interaction, you can try to go back and fix it.
“You are so right, Sarah. That is what I think I missed. Give me another minute; let me show you how the help desk features work…”
Hey, it won’t save every deal. But you are sure to close a few that you thought were lost!
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(Image by Stuart Miles)
How often do you receive objections and resistance from a prospect?
And why does it happen?
Naturally, the prospect hasn’t had the sense to see what a wonderful product or service you have!
But could it be that the way we present could actually be encouraging objections?
Here’s one way of putting your product across: “Mr Prospect, I can see from your current stock holding that widget 234 is a good seller for you. We can supply that widget at a really competitive price, and deliver it free of charge!”
One reaction from the prospect might be to start a negotiation on price, or highlight reasons why he wants to stick with his current supplier, or some other objection that springs to mind.
How about trying this way instead: “Mr Prospect, I see that widget 234 is one of your best sellers. What criteria do you use to decide on your supplier of those widgets? How do you know when it’s time to re-order? How do you judge successful results on the sale of those widgets?”
Now the prospect isn’t thinking about objecting, because there’s nothing to object to.
They are simply answering questions relating to the criteria by which they choose to buy. And you are finding out a lot of valuable information about the process your prospect uses to make decisions.
So, if you are getting a lot of objections, determine if you have pushed the prospect into making a decision before you’ve found out if they have any needs in the first place.
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