Overcoming objections is probably the most important skill for making a sale. You can be a great presenter, have marvelous social skills, and lots of drive, but if you can’t eliminate the buyer’s objections, then a positive outcome is definitely not guaranteed. Quite often, salespeople engage in “magical thinking” by hoping that objections will either be trivial or even non-existent—both of those are just bad assumptions.
Objections fall into two distinct categories. There are some that we can anticipate and prepare ourselves to address before the buyer does. The second kind are those unanticipated ones, which may present themselves with absolutely no warning to the seller. In either case, we need to be ready to deal with them so that we can close the deal.
Here are some tips to help you effectively deal with sales objections:
1. Anticipate as many “obvious” objections as possible and prepare a solid answer for each of them.
Any good salesperson has a fair idea of the “usual suspects” that a particular buyer will be thinking about during the conversation. The answer for each of these obvious objections should be as logical and coherent as possible, backed up by objective and credible information/data that supports it.
2. Don’t hesitate to share your answer to an anticipated objection as early in the sales process as possible.
A sample line might be, “I know what your concerns may be and here are my thoughts on how we can address those…”
Not only are you taking the initiative to present your defense, you’re also acknowledging that the buyer’s perception matters to you. That “meta” message will position you as an engaged, professional seller who respects and welcomes the buyer’s input and point of view.
If the buyer happens to say it wasn’t one of his/her objections, you’re still winning because you’re messaging “full disclosure”—a good thing!
3. Be sure to get clarity on any unanticipated objection right away.
“Let me make sure I understand what you’re saying...” is a good start. Give the buyer the opportunity to re-state his/her concern and listen carefully for the real issue.
Once that happens, your obvious response should be, “If that’s the issue, how can we address it to your satisfaction?” At this time, whether you can address it or not isn’t the point—once again you’re acknowledging that the buyer’s POV/position matters to you. Even though the buyer has raised the objection, he/she may not have a solution for it already figured out.
4. Accept the fact that there will be unanticipated objections and don’t freak out about it.
Addressing them can create the foundation for a conditional close. Suddenly you have the opportunity to set up a quid pro quo that gets the deal done. And the more significant the objection, the more likely that solving it will give you a desirable outcome.
“I understand how important that issue is and if I can solve it to your satisfaction, do we have a deal?” You’re now having a “binary conversation” as opposed to wondering where things stand and moving much closer to the finish line.
Salespeople often dread dealing with objections and they shouldn’t. They are simply obstacles that you can turn into the catalysts that help make the sale. Perceiving them as such will allow you to be much more proactive and far less defensive in your approach to every deal.
About the Author
Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!
Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com