Almost every salesperson has learnt to handle their prospect's objections. For example:
- There is no budget for this
- Call me in 3 month
- Send me an e-mail with your proposal
- We are happy with our current supplier
- Your competitor has quoted us a cheaper price
- Our budget has been cut
Most salespeople assume that 'handling' objections is a significant part of any sales process. Hence the job of any great salesperson is to overcome them.
These 'great' salespeople almost always come back from the sales meeting with an order. Only to have it cancelled by the prospect's PA by phone or e-mail within days. Or perhaps alienate the prospect enough to get a brush off and ensure that they are never welcome again.
Looking at our own buying habits we realise that for most of our purchases we did not come up with objections.
Getting objections during the sales process is the salesperson's fault, not the prospect's. It means that the salesperson has not done a good job building a trustworthy relationship with the prospect.
There are only two reasons why prospects come up with objections:
- You said or did something that you should have done
- You did NOT say or do something that you should have done.
There's no doubt that handling objections is an old-fashioned approach that guarantees little returns. What should you do instead?
Instead of 'handling' the objection understand the underlying reasons and deal with them. For example, ''We don't have the budget for this'' rarely has anything to do with money. What your prospect actually means is, ''I am not sure that the reason to look for the budget is good enough.''
Here are three simple rules:
Rule 1 - An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Start documenting the objections you’ve come across. Write them down after every sales call or meeting and ask yourself – What could I have differently to prevent this? Review this ‘journal of objections’ on a regular basis and keep this in mind when preparing for your sales meetings/calls.
Rule 2 – If you can’t prevent it, deal with it
To do so you will need to understand what your prospect actually means when they tell you that:
· There’s no budget
· You are too expensive
· They are happy with the current supplier etc.
At Sandler, we use a combination of tools that would help you to do that. Some of these tools are – Dummy Curve, Reversing and Third Party Stories.
Let’s take a quick look at how could you respond to your prospect’s objection ‘You are too expensive’ using these tools:
Reverse. Typically, when prospects tell me that I am too expensive they are telling me that what I offer is worth more. What would you need to see/feel to know that what I offer is worth the cost?
Dummy Curve. When you say that my services are too expensive, what do you mean by that?
Third Party Story. That’s exactly how I felt after looking into broadband options for our business. I looked at some of the top brands in my area and decided to compare with the other providers out there. I contracted one of the cheaper companies only to find that their service was far from flawless.
The broadband connection was not suited for business. We were missing out on many sales opportunities due to slow broadband. Once I got tied into the contract this provider lost the interest in finding a solution that fit my business. It was an awful experience. Once my contract expired I started working with a local company that cost more. Yet, their service has been great so far and I see them as my trustworthy partner. In my experience, cheaper always has a price. Why do you think our customers pay us more?
Rule 3 – Read Rules one and two over and over
Stop handling the objections, prevent and deal with them.