Tip 1: If you want to improve how you handle objections, improve how you feel about objections! Instead of thinking of them as a conversation stopper or issue- see them as a question or concern. Learn to expect them and see them as a natural part of the sales conversation. If you look back at sales conversations that went well you’ll see that an objection or objections were raised and it went well because you confidently responded and the other party was reassured.
Tip 2: If you want to become effective at handling objections this is something elite salespeople do: Act it out! It’s just not enough to decide how you are going to handle it from a strategy/ method point of view. You will not improve unless you work out word for word WHAT you are going to say. Then you need to get comfortable saying it. Then repeat, repeat, repeat until it flows. It doesn’t matter if it’s very slightly different each time as long as the content of the message is good. Otherwise you’ll come up with the right stuff some of the time and not at other times and you’ll be wondering why…
Tip 3: When handling objections use this subtle yet powerful technique: PAUSE! This has multiple positive effects; it relaxes the situation-you can’t overcome an objection if tension exists! It allows them to consider their response. It makes the customer feel like this is something the salesperson has to give some serious thought when responding. (If it feels like a canned response was just reeled out they’ll feel sold to.) Even if you’ve heard the objection a ton of times it pays dividends to say something like: “That’s a really good point…” or “I understand see why you say that…” The fact the Prospect/ customer has expressed it means they feel it’s valid so it should be acknowledged!
An opportunity to work with a new customer stalled recently and nearly didn’t happen. I was contacted by the MD of a business who wanted to give his sales staff a sales refresher to bring their knowledge and skills up so they could sell more easily. He was talking to a couple of other providers too.
Fast forward through the initial conversation, discussion of objectives, proposal, and numerous follow ups by phone, he still hadn’t decided to go ahead.
During the next call I heard the same kind of response “I do want to do something except we’re busy with other things in the business still so we don’t have time to set aside for training…”
I decided to tackle the issue head on:
Me: “Yes, I appreciate things are still busy and have been since we started discussing helping your sales team. What are they doing that’s keeping them so busy?”
MD: “Well they spend some time on the road seeing some clients and the rest of it responding to requests for quotes…”
Me: “And how happy are you with the sales conversion from those enquiries?”
MD: “That’s the issue, we send out loads of quotes and the business is doing well but I feel that we’re missing opportunities…”
Me: “And how are they responded to and followed up?”
MD: “Pretty much exclusively by e mail for the initial response and the follow up tends to be done on a Friday afternoon.”
Me: “By e mail again?”
MD: “I’m told there are some calls made however I think mostly, yes!”
Me: “OK, I think I see what the issue is- you are getting good levels of enquiries, some turn into business but the conversion and volume is lower because your team are relying on e mail and not showing enough care to the Prospect or customer by finding out more. What happens if the customer or Prospect speaks to another provider who has shown more interest by initiating a phone call? You are immediately on the back foot as an e mail is ineffective unless it’s to clarify something which has already been discussed.
MD: “I’ve been asking them to do this all along.”
Me: “OK, it sounds like we’ve established what we should focus on together doesn’t it, how do you feel about us helping them to manage the leads more effectively to get the conversion and revenue up? We’ll even make some follow up calls together during the training so you’ll still have a productive day!”
(We went ahead and did this.)
How often do you hear the same kind of responses when following up? And then the responses stop and it goes quiet and you are in the sales nuisance category.
Maybe it’s time to challenge a little to understand if there is a different way you can help- in this situation the requirement went from being a sales refresher to focusing purely on management of leads. The issue stalling the opportunity became the motive!
Before following up have a few questions planned, challenge positively and adopt a problem solver mind set –there’s always a way, you just need to find it!