If there is one question that occurs the most on our sales programmes, it has to revolve around dealing with objections. Many delegates say that if they could just have the magic wand to overcome objections, they would love their job. But because salespeople allow objections to be raised in the first place, they face the uphill task of having to deal with them head-on.
In fact, think of the language used when referring to objections; ‘deal with them’, ‘overcome them’, get round them’, ‘blast through them’. Boy, it sounds like a real battle before you even start!
Why do they occur? Easy, really. It’s because the decision-maker cannot realistically see the value or worth of buying over the price that is being charged.
The equation is simple: V minus P
Here, V = Value and P = Price. For the decision to be made in your favour, perceived value in the buyer’s eyes has to be greater than the price or cost of making that choice.
Remember, value is in the eye of the buyer, so if one person thinks that item is worth the price and another doesn’t, the difference in viewpoint will affect the decision.
For example, how much would you pay for a small bottle of water?
You might consider £1 to be the right price for it. If it was £10, the ‘worth’ in your eyes is greatly diminished.
But if you were dying of thirst in the desert, and had £10 in your pocket, would the ‘worth’ to you now go up? Of course.
So, how can you tell what is most valuable to a prospect and how can you overcome what might be potential objections later in the conversation?
Well, questions are the answer. Find out what criteria the decision-maker will be using to make their mind up when the time comes. If you are able to identify this and you know it may be an issue later on, you can prevent it before it actually comes up.
Let’s take an example: You discover that budget is a key issue for the prospect you are talking with. You determine that your solution may be a little higher in price than the prospect wants to pay. You can prevent what might be an objection against your price by saying something like:
“We discussed earlier how you want the widget to last a long time and how reliability is really important to you. We also talked about how much it costs to repair your current widget every time it breaks down.
If we were able to cut all those costs and improve the reliability at a stroke, do you think it would be worth looking at? As you said, repairs are costing around £1500 per year. Our solution will save you that and take away the worry of further costs in the future, especially with our optional extended warranty”
What has this immediately done? It has raised the value of your solution in the customer’s mind, so he is more likely to accept a higher price. Remember V minus P?
If the value has been raised in their mind, the objection that you might have expected about your higher price won’t be an objection anymore, as the prospect sees how much better off they would be with your solution, especially as they won’t have to pay out the continuous repair costs that would have been grating for him.
If you are able to face the objections head-on, and highlight them before they are raised, they cease to become the obstacles they might have been and actually create opportunities for you to highlight how the product or service can be more beneficial in the long-run.
Value is in the eye of the buyer. Build that value up, so when a potential objection could be raised, the potential benefits can outweigh any drawbacks.
MTD Sales Training
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Why do objections occur?
It’s an age-old question that gets salespeople crying into their beer. There are, naturally, many reasons why they come up, but they tend to revolve around one main cause…that the value of change doesn’t match the status quo.
Here’s a different way to deal with objections.
When a prospect states an objection, avoid the natural response, which is to defend your position or to fight back. Instead, you can apply the form of conversation known as ‘agree and align’.
In linguistic terms, this is known as a ‘pattern-interrupt’. By raising the objection, the prospect is expecting you to come back with a question, a change to the offer, a fighting response, or something similar. This is a pattern that the prospect may be expecting.
By adopting the ‘agree and align’ conversation, you interrupt their pattern of thought. Here’s how it can work:
Prospect: I’m not sure that one company has all the answers in one product
You: You know, Mr Prospect, I agree with you. I don’t know if my company has all the answers either. So let’s talk about the specific answers you are looking for, and see if we have the solutions that would fit your specific situation.
This reduces the knee-jerk reaction that a lot of salespeople would follow, where they try to justify why they would be right for the customer, when really they are digging an early grave in the sale by trying to make the customer wrong that they even thought about the objection in the first place. It lays the foundation for further discussion and questioning.
Here’s another example:
Prospect: Your prices are really high. Can you do something about them?
You: Do you know, you’re right about them being high. We made a conscious decision to build quality into our products rather than skimp or try to save money by not being the best. Let’s take a look at your needs and see if we can adjust the proposal to match those needs.
What you’re doing here is agreeing with the prospect that the up-front price is higher than other offerings. Then you align the offering to the specific needs that the prospect has, so you can get their agreement. This is in direct opposition to what they might expect.
So there’s no need to fight with the prospect. Do the opposite of what they expect so that you can validate their position. When people feel heard and understood, they often respond by lowering their resistance and starting conversation. It helps you ask more questions, learn more about their company and discover what’s really important to them.
It also offers a different way of looking at objections and how to deal with them.
MTD Sales Training
(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)