How to Make a Sale - Handling Sales Objections


How do you feel when potential customers disagree with you, say you’re wrong, or they’re not going to buy from you? Maybe you’re dejected, rejected, frustrated or resigned. You might assume the prospect just isn’t going to buy, or is too stupid to see the fantastic offer you’ve made him. Here's the next in our series on how to make a sales - handling sales objections.

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I love this quote from Bo Bennet: An objection is not a rejection: it is simply a request for more information."  

The chances are, your prospect is simply asking questions because he’s (a) interested in your product or service, or (b) needs clarification. Either way, his questions provide you with an opportunity to support his buying decision and achieve a sale.

Let’s change your perception of customer objections. Objections (or questions) are an invaluable source of feedback indicating the customer’s frame of mind. Does he or she understand? Does she or he agree? Is he or she convinced? Dealing with them is part of your job.

Types of Objections

Real Objections – MUST be resolved if he or she are going to buy.

Conditions – inflexible limitations which cannot be overcome.

False Objections – the customer may be unwilling to admit the REAL reason he doesn’t want to buy, for example: FEAR

..... of change

..... of making a decision

..... of making a mistake

..... of showing ignorance

The customer may have a hidden agenda, but doesn’t want to admit it.

Objections can arise at any stage of the sale, but are most common during the recommendation or proposal.

Recommended reading: How to Make a Sale – Steps of the Sale

Reasons for Objections

  1. Poor sales technique (e.g. offering solutions too early)
  2. Not meeting with the correct MAN (the decision-maker with Money, Authority and Need)
  3. Emotion outweighs belief (usually excuses, e.g. ‘I don’t need new customers’ – ‘my customers don’t look on-line’, etc)
  4. Misunderstanding due to lack of knowledge

Dealing with Objections

  1. Listen – don’t interrupt or talk over objections. Let the customer explain what’s on his mind – it will provide you with the means to answer his objection.
  2. Ignore it - completely if it’s an excuse, or temporarily if you’re going to address it during your presentation. You can acknowledge the objection with a simple “mmmm” and a nod of the head, and even say you will come back to it later on. The important thing is not to let red herrings hijack proceedings.  (If it’s important to the customer, he’ll raise it again.)
  3. Refine & Re-state – ask questions to show that you are interested in what the customer is saying. Then restate the issue to show understanding, and discover any previously unmentioned objections.  “So, it’s not just the initial price of the machine - you want to see the overall cost of running it, including consumables and downtime?”
  4. Answer the objection. Take away your customer’s fear. Use customer stories, testimonials or other evidence to SHOW you can meet their requirements, and the VALUE you bring.
  5. Check Back – confirm that you’ve fully answered the objection – “have I addressed the issue fully for you?”
  6. Redirect the conversation by going back to the point you were at when the objection arose. If you’re at the end of your pitch, check for any other objections before closing the sale.

Recommended reading: How to Make a Sale – Planning First, Ask Questions Later

Golden Rules

  • Always welcome objections – it’s a chance to continue the conversation.
  • Always answer valid objections.
  • Always show concern and understanding with your client.
  • Try to pre-­empt objections. Build your most common objections into your presentations by explaining the benefits you offer to address them early on.
  • Never answer an excuse.
  • Never ridicule an objection.

A good way to prepare yourself to meet objections is to write down the most common ones, and figure out which are real, conditional and false. Then work out your response. Handling objections doesn’t take very long during the course of the sales meeting, and preparing in advance gives much better results.

A final thing to bear in mind is that if you listen properly to objections, they may provide you with indications on how to improve your customer offering either now or later on. Customer-led developments are invaluable for any business. Even if you can’t overcome the objection this time, it may lead to other opportunities in the future.

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