Objections are a natural step in the selling process. Be wary of a buyer with no objections because they probably have them, but they’re just not sharing them with you. When objections are viewed as a necessary step toward gaining commitment, they’re less likely to derail your sale.
Think of any great sports team that competes consistently for championships. Do they expect winning to be easy or difficult? Do they dismiss other teams or respect them? Do they avoid thinking about obstacles or prepare for them? Great teams win because they expect challenges and prepare to overcome them. The same is true in selling.
Sales Objections are Good
Objections are buying signals — a sign buyers are engaged. It means your offer is being considered, and this sure beats apathy or being ignored. Objections help identify areas where you haven’t fully communicated the value. They provide you with the opportunity to learn additional information about your buyers and what’s important to them. Objections are a good sign, and when handled properly, they can help you win the sale.
4 Steps to Overcoming Objections
When a prospect indicates that they aren’t ready to buy, take deep breath and employ this four-step process:
- Listen fully to the objection. When you hear an objection, don’t jump right in and start responding immediately. If you react too quickly, you risk making assumptions about the objection. Take the time to listen to the objection completely. Beware of reacting defensively. You need to train yourself to ignore any negative emotions you might be feeling. Stay focused on what your client is saying and the business challenge you’re helping to solve. Emotions are natural, but you can’t let them interfere with your buyer interactions.
- Ask questions to understand the objection entirely. Many objections hide underlying issues that the buyer can’t or isn’t ready to articulate. Often the true issue is not what the buyer first tells you. Especially when handling price objections. It’s your job to get to the heart of the objection and then understand it, and its true source. Start by asking permission to understand and explore the issue. Then, restate the concern as you understand it. This ensures that you’re not making any false assumptions. Continue by asking, ‘what else?’ and ‘why?’ questions for clarification. These help sellers get to the heart of the issue. Often times it’s the answer to the last ‘what else?’ question that contains the biggest barrier to moving the sale forward.
- Respond promptly and properly. Once you’re confident that you’ve uncovered all objections and arrived at the heart of the issue, address the most important objection first. After you work through the greatest barrier to moving forward, other concerns may no longer matter or feel as important to the buyer. Do your best to resolve the issue right away. When you face a more complex objection, your instinct may be to put the discussion on hold so you can research the matter further. The more you can resolve in real-time, the greater chance you have of moving the sale forward. This is where your preparation and practice pay dividends. If you do need to investigate and uncover more information, don’t wing it. Buyers can sense that, and it only creates distrust.
- Confirm you’ve satisfied the objection. Once you’ve responded to the objections, check if you’ve satisfied all of their concerns. Just because they nodded during your response doesn’t mean they agreed with everything you said. Ask if the buyer is happy with your solution. You don’t know if you don’t ask. Don’t take a lukewarm “yes” or “I think so” for an answer. Many buyers will accept a solution in the moment, but once you’re out of sight or off the phone, the objection still remains. Explain your solution further if necessary and start over by asking questions to fully understand the remaining concerns.
The next time you’re in a situation and there’s an objection, follow this simple, yet powerful, process to respond and move the sale along.
Mike Schultz is a bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, Director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, and President of RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company. He and RAIN Group have helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 62 countries improve sales results and unleash their sales potential. Follow Mike on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.