Consider Prospect Objections a Gift

December 8, 2011
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Prospect objections often save the sale, so consider them a gift.

The most common challenge students of the Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage course cite during the kick-off session is handling objections- and rightfully so.  It feels uncomfortable to hear an objection and often times even more uncomfortable to prepare an ideal response.

Ironically, prospect objections are actually a good thing and should be considered a gift. Isn’t it better to know why the prospect is hesitating to buy and respond accordingly- to save the sale vs. their simply passing on the purchase altogether because they don’t explain their concerns or cause for hesitation?

Thomas Charles once said, “When life hands you lemons, don’t just make lemonade.  Open a lemonade stand.”  Encountering objections is common during the sales process, however not every sales professional is equipped to resolve objections and appeal to motive in order to gain commitment- and close the deal.  Many make the mistake of “handling” objections in a way that that turns the buyer off because they don’t understand that objections are often emotional and rarely rational. 

Objections are anything that prevents the sale from moving forward and can occur at anytime during the sales process.  According to The Psychology of Selling, “90% of the objections that we hear are the same 6 objections.  They might be worded in different ways, but they are essentially the same.”  Common objections often stem from pricing, timing and satisfaction with the buyer’s current provider or solution. 

Resolving objections effectively is a process taught in the Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage course that involves careful listening along with providing positive, factual responses that address all buyer concerns.  This requires responding to not only the customer’s emotional needs, but also to the actual obstacles preventing them from buying. 

Here are the steps to overcoming an objection for you to use the next time that you encounter an objection:

  1. Cushion- First, find a point of agreement without agreeing or disagreeing.  The objective of the response is simply to acknowledge what the buyer has said, not to change his or her mind.  For example, “I appreciate your concern about the investment.”
  2. Question- Next, ask a clarifying question to ensure that you understand the exact objection.  What is it about the cost that poses a challenge?  The total amount?  The monthly installments?  The overall payment plan?  Make no assumptions.
  3. Addition- Probe for any additional objections.  The goal is to gather ALL of the objections in this step so that we can address them all at once before appealing to motive to gain commitment.
  4. Meet- Ask a question to ensure that by meeting the objection, we can move the sale forward.  For example, “So, if I could address your concerns about system’s specifications, you would go ahead today, is that right?”
  5. Respond- NOW, you can proceed with the explanation or response to the original objection; more than likely what your initial reaction was before you paused to ‘Cushion’ it in step one.  Be sure to address all of the objections at once so that you are ready for the next step, Appeal to Motive.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Mid & Northern Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo Credit:  notemily

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