The word “no” can be a tough pill to swallow.
In selling, when you’re trying to meet a quota, squeeze in an extra deal before the end of the quarter, or get your bonus, the word “no” is too often interpreted as a sign to run for the hills when, in fact, it should be the exact opposite.
A sales objection is an explicit expression by a buyer that a barrier exists between the current situation and what needs to be satisfied before buying from you. Beyond that, it’s an indication that the buyer is engaged, which sure beats apathy.
However, you still have work to do.
When a buyer indicates that he is not ready to buy, don’t get discouraged. Use the following 4 steps to overcome sales objections and move closer to the sale.
- Listen Fully to the Objection
Your first reaction when you hear an objection may be to jump right in and respond immediately. Resist this temptation. When you react too quickly, you risk making assumptions about the objection. Take the time to listen to the objection fully.
Do not react defensively. Train yourself to ignore any negative emotions you may be feeling, and stay focused on what the buyer is saying and the business problem you are helping to solve. Listen with the intent of fully understanding the buyer’s concerns without bias or anticipation, and allow your body language and verbal confirmations to communicate to the buyer that you are listening intently.
- Understand the Objection Completely
Many objections hide underlying issues that the buyer can’t or isn’t ready to articulate. Often the true issue isn’t what the buyer first tells you. It’s your job to get to the heart of the objection, and then fully understand it and its true source.
To do this, you must ask permission from the buyer to understand and explore the issue. Once explored, restate the concern as you understand it. Sometimes when you restate the objection, the buyer sees the issue more fully, and you get closer to the true source of the objection as a result. Even after the buyer confirms you understand perfectly, ask “What else?” and “Why” questions for clarification. Often it is the answer to that last “What else?” that contains the biggest barrier to moving the sale forward.
- Respond Properly
After you’re confident you’ve uncovered all objections, address the most important objection first. Once you work through the greatest barrier to moving forward, other concerns may no longer matter or feel as important to the buyer.
You should do your best to resolve their issue right away. The more you can resolve issues in real time, the greater chance you have of moving the sale forward. If you need more information to resolve a specific concern, you may have to look something up. Don’t wing it—buyers can sense that and it creates distrust. Long-winded responses can seem insincere, so keep your responses clear and to the point.
- Confirm You’ve Satisfied the Objection
Once you’ve responded to the buyer’s 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 and explain your solution further if necessary. Some objections require a process to overcome, not just a quick answer.
If the client isn’t ready, don’t try to force a commitment. Be sure not to accept a lukewarm “yes” for an answer though, either. Many buyers will accept a solution in the moment, but once you’re out of sight or off the phone, the objection still remains.
When faced with sales objections, don’t lose sight of your goal. Use the steps above to Listen, Understand, Respond and Confirm, and you will strengthen your relationships with buyers, overcome obstacles in the buying process, and move closer to the sale.
Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group