Objections are a normal, natural, and unavoidable part of the sales process. Nonetheless, many salespeople become discouraged and disheartened when customers begin to object to their offerings on the basis of high price, better offers from competitors, and other reasons.
Customers today are bombarded by hundreds and even thousands of commercial messages. As a result, they are skeptical, suspicious, and careful with their time and money.
No matter what you are selling, customers will have questions and concerns that you must resolve before you can proceed to a sale. Your ability to handle these questions and concerns is a key skill that is essential to your sales success.
When to Answer Objections
There are some objections you should answer as soon as they come up. This is especially true if your integrity or quality is questioned by the prospect.
If your prospect says something such as, “I hear the products that you sell break down as soon as the warrantee expires,” you must address this question immediately. If the customer believes this story about your offering, you cannot proceed. You can say, “Our official warrantee is 90 days, but unofficially, if you ever have a problem with this product or service, we will take care of it or replace it to your complete satisfaction.”
When customers have an objection, either spoken or unspoken, it sits in their minds as a block. They think about the objection and fail to focus on your sales presentation. The objection is turning over and over in their minds as they are sitting there looking at you and trying to listen to what you say. If you do not answer the objection clearly and straightforwardly, the lights may be on, but no one is at home.
2. During the presentation
If you have thought through all the objections you are likely to get and you have developed good answers to them, you will be able to answer smoothly and professionally.
Always delay or defer an objection, especially a price objection, until a later time if you possibly can. Price out of place kills the sale. In other words, if the subject of price arises and you begin discussing price before you have created sufficient value in the customer’s mind regarding your product or service, the issue of price will become a block in the customer’s mind. The person will be thinking about the price so much that he will not actually be listening to you or paying attention to the value that your product or service can provide.
Often the customer will start off by saying, “By the way, how much does your product cost?” Rather than giving the price, you can respond as follows: “That is a good question. I’m going to answer that question completely in a couple of minutes, and I think you will be delighted when you hear the actual price. Can I just finish what I’m saying now and then give you the price in complete detail?” Almost always, customers will say okay and allow you to continue with your presentation.
If you get price questions before you even have a chance to discuss and explain the value and benefits of your product or service, and your price varies depending on what the customer buys, you must make every effort to dodge or sidestep the price question. But if the customer is insistent about knowing the price, you can say something such as, “I have no idea. I don’t know whether or not this is even the right product or service for you. But if I could ask you a couple of questions, and show you what we have, I could give you a price that is accurate to within a couple of dollars. Would that be okay?”
Many objections, especially early in the sales conversation, are merely knee-jerk responses and do not need to be answered or replied to.
When the prospect says something like, “I understand these items cost a lot of money, probably more than I can afford,” you simply smile, nod, acknowledge the customer’s concern, and proceed with your presentation. No reply is necessary. Remember, proper prior planning prevents poor performance. (What I sometimes call the “six Ps rule”). The highest-paid salespeople have thought through and identified the objections that they are likely to get and are fully prepared to answer those objections at the right time. You should do the same.
© 2014 Brian Tracy. All rights reserved. Excerpted with permission of the publisher, AMACOM (a division of American Management Association) from Unlimited Sales Success: 12 Simple Steps for Selling More Than You Ever Thought Possible, by Brian Tracy.
You can learn more about effective sales techniques at these AMA seminars:
Strategic Sales Negotiations
Fundamental Selling Techniques for the New or Perspective Salesperson