Is A Sales Objection An Unanswered Question?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Business man and cloudWhen we ask buyers what they look for in their suppliers, we often get a response along the lines of ‘we want someone we can trust and makes us look good in some way’.

This is a fairly obvious conclusion, but it begs the question ‘why don’t salespeople recognise this when in the sales process and what can they do to improve the situation’?

Well, one interesting situation occurs during the conversations with prospects when what we sometimes call objections or obstacles are placed in front of us. Many salespeople fear this time because they think they have to ‘overcome’ them and it’s sometimes seen as a battle rather than a continuous building of relationships with the prospect.

What is often puzzling is how some salespeople resort to tricks or techniques to get round objections. They’ll say things like ‘is it me that’s causing the problem?’ so they can make the prospect feel a little guilty.

One way we can think of objections is that really they are just questions that haven’t been answered effectively yet.

Let’s take a few examples:

Objection: “Your price is too high”. That’s a frequent objection we get and often means we haven’t built the value yet.

Unanswered question: “Why should I pay that price and what benefit will I get if I do?” Now that’s a different animal altogether.

Objection: “We’re not interested and don’t really need your product”. For some this is a killer, and we often walk away.

Unanswered question: “How would your product solve my challenges, sort my problems and bring me benefits? What pain does it take away from me?” Ah, now we’re talking…if I’d known you needed proof, I wouldn’t have tried to prescribe and answer before diagnosing your problems.

Objection: “I’m happy with my current supplier, thank you”. Yes, I’m in my comfort zone, so don’t rock the boat, baby!

Unanswered question: “How would my business problems be solved or my potential be realised if I used your services?” Essentially, I need proof that you will be giving me what I need, and I haven’t been persuaded yet.

Objection: “We like you, but we’re going to wait a few months before we buy”. Yes, the old stall method that gets you off my back for a while.

Unanswered question: “What would be the benefits to my business if we started this now rather than later? How much I can gain be doing something now, and how much would I lose if I didn’t?” If I knew what would be best, maybe I’d be better equipped to decide, but currently I’m not.

These are just some examples that show how many objections are really just questions that, if answered effectively, would dissipate into thin air.

So, when you are working with a prospect to help him solve his business problems, be aware of building value in the solutions before you make suggestions as to what they should change. Without sufficient reasons for change, it’s not surprising that prospects will come up with obstacles that stand in our way. Identify the questions that may come up, answer them in your conversations with them, and then proceed toward securing commitment. That way, they will see the benefits without the disadvantages.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Sales Blog | Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub

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Originally published: 27 January, 2015