All parents are masters at overcoming objections. They have to be. Kids can come up with a jillion reasons for not doing what they’re asked to do. Just try telling a 4-year-old to put her coat on and see how many excuses you get from her as to why she shouldn’t have to or doesn’t want to. The smart parent who learns how to overcome his or her child’s objections early on will have much happier days ahead of them. Overcoming objections is the education of the sales process to reach an agreement.
In my years in business, I’ve found that the best salespeople in the world are also masters at overcoming objections. A good salesperson will have ready answers for one or two of the most common objections they encounter during their presentation; but a stellar salesperson will have answers for every single objection a prospect can come up with. That takes some thinking ahead of time.
Overcoming objections is one of the hardest parts of a sales job. If you’re a person who doesn’t think well on your feet, the mere thought of having to answer objections to get the sale will leave you quaking in your shoes. But there are ways to handle objections, and savvy salespeople know how to use them to their advantage. Being prepared for any objection takes a lot of the pressure off and allows you to continue the conversation with your prospect comfortably while maintaining good rapport and building trust.
Think about this. You’re trying to get someone to buy something. You may be in their house, sitting at their dining room table. You’re giving your spiel and the prospect is listening. Getting the sale depends on your ability to gain the trust of your prospect, paint a picture for them showing the value of what you have to offer, and convince them that it’s worth spending their hard-earned money on what you’re selling. Everything is going well (in your mind), and then as you’re winding down your presentation, the objections start. What went wrong?
The answer is probably that nothing actually went “wrong.” Customers may have a variety of reasons for objecting to a sales pitch, some of which are actually valid. Often you can combat objections by listening carefully to what they’re really saying and being prepared to address the underlying issue.
Here’s an example for you. If a customer says your price is too high, you might immediately jump to the conclusion that you need to sell harder. You may get defensive. You might even be tempted to lower the price or give a discount to save the sale. What you really need to do is listen. When a prospect says the price is too high, they’re really saying that you haven’t painted a clear enough picture of the value of your product or service. If you’re selling tutoring services, ask them how they feel when Little Johnny comes home from school upset because he has to take tests in a separate classroom by himself. Is it worth a few dollars a day for them to see him happy again? If you’re selling roofs, as we do at Shamrock Roofing and Construction, make sure they understand how the roof protects the whole family, providing cover for many years to come. Show them the quality of the materials used. Isn’t that what they want for their family? Often, once a prospect fully grasps the value being presented, they’ll be on board with the sale. And if you can appeal to their heart, that’s even better.
Here are some sales tactics that I’ve found useful in my experience selling door-to-door at Shamrock www.shamrockroofer.com . Using these in a presentation can help head off objections before they start.
Educate the prospect but don’t oversell. Explain the basics of what you do, but don’t go into so much detail that their eyes glaze over. It’s important to make the process understandable, but don’t give them so much information that they could do it themselves.
Go over the sales process. Assess the current situation and show them how your product or service will make the current situation better. Go through the steps in the sales process. At Shamrock, we walk prospects through from start to finish – from signing the contract to cleaning up after the roof installation is complete. This step alone alleviates many objections.
Set realistic expectations. Remember that a person’s perception is their reality. Don’t let the prospect come up with their own idea of what to expect. Make sure you tell them up front so they can set their expectations accordingly.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. This one can’t be stressed enough. People lose confidence and start second-guessing their decision when they don’t hear from you on a regular basis. Err on the side of over-communicating.
We’ve already addressed the pricing objection in the example above, but here are some other common objections to consider.
“I want to think about it.”
This one means there’s something they’re not quite clear on or comfortable with. Ask what aspect of the presentation they’re thinking about. Listen for the response. It’ll probably lead to the real objection, which you can then address.
“I need to talk to my husband/wife about it first.”
This is usually a stall tactic. For whatever reason, they’re not yet comfortable moving forward with the sale. Ask again if they have any questions or need more information. If not, then ask if you can set up another visit for a time when their spouse is available. That way you can address the questions of both at the same time. Position it as a way to help them – this way they don’t have to explain everything you just told them.
“I don’t want to make any quick decisions. I’d like to make sure we’re comparing apples to apples here.”
This may be completely true. Some people are slower decision makers than others. Ask who else they’ve talked to and whether they’d be willing to share what they’ve learned from those other companies. Make sure you understand the competitive landscape so that if all you get is a competitor’s name, you’re prepared to highlight your position against the competitor. Reinforce the fact that not all companies offer the same quality and value for the money. Listen carefully to what they say and look for areas where your product or service stands out above the competition.
These are just a few of the objections I see on a daily basis at Shamrock. I’m sure you experience many others in your life as a salesperson. Keep honing your skills around overcoming objections. Role-playing with teammates helps with this. As you get more comfortable handling objections, you’ll see your sales numbers start to rise. And before you know it, you may be the next Salesperson of the Year!