Now this is a headline that I would personally love to read. Unfortunately and all too often, any discussion about salespeople tends to paint all everyone (amateurs and professionals) with the same brush. A classic example of how all salespeople are not the same is how well they handle objections. When you think about it, how many objections are there really? Amateurs will tell you that there are dozens or maybe even hundreds! Professionals are practised and prepared for them because they know that there are only typically 4 types of objections when you chunk them up into categories.
Professional Salespeople are Prepared!
Professionals anticipate objections and are well rehearsed and prepared for them. In fact they actually design their sales process to either eliminate them all together or intentionally manage their sales process to make the right objections come up at the right time. There are times when it actually helps if the prospective client voices an objection so they feel like they have satisfied their need for a balanced evaluation.
So What Are The 4 Categories?
I should ask you to tell me. In fact, before you read on, imagine you are in a discussion/negotiation and heaven forbid, someone actually does not do exactly what you want them to do and when you want it done?! If you have to be able to overcome this ‘objection’, what category do the objections you may encounter typically belong to?
You Know there are always going to be prospects that tell you that ‘now is not the best time’ or ‘I don’t have the time’ or ‘it will take too much time to sort it out’ or some other variation on this time based theme. What do you say to overcome this time objection?
‘It costs too much’, ‘it is too cheap to be any good’, ‘I can’t commit to those repayments’, ‘the other salesperson’s product/service was cheaper than what you are offering’, ‘that is an awful lot of money to tie up in one investment’, ‘I can’t afford it’ and the list goes on.
3. It Won’t Work For Me
‘I completely understand your arguments and I can see how that would work for someone else but it wont work for me’, ‘my situation is unique’, ‘my clients are different’, you get the drift. They are not convinced that what you are proposing suits them.
4. I Don’t Believe/Trust/Like You
This one is far more difficult to recognise because most people don’t want to tell you the truth or have to deal with the potential conflict that will come from doing so. Typically they will offer up something more like, ‘you were great but the other salesperson just had a better offer/price’. If you are lucky, they will actually give you the honest feedback but more than likely they will resort to the old chestnut of ‘thanks for all that information, we need to think about it and we will get back to you’. Next time they say they need to think about it, understand that they are actually saying that you have not done a good enough job and they are letting you down gently!
The Genius In The Room
When ever I train a group of salespeople on overcoming objections, the pattern is almost identical. I ask the person on my far left what they would say if they encountered the price objection and they do their best to handle it. Then I ask the person next to them and they have a go with varying success. I repeat this process all the way around the room until I come to the genius at the end of the line on the far right hand side.
Then I start with that genius and ask them to answer the next objection and an amazing thing happens, they frequently go from being the genius to stumbling stammerer. So I move on to the person next to them and so on until I come to the genius at the end of the line on my far left! Hang on, wasn’t this the person that handled the first objection so poorly?! Suddenly they are now the genius! What happened?
Everyone Hates Role Plays
By now I am assuming that you (being an intelligent thinker) will have said inside your head that the last person in the line always got to hear what other people tried before them and learned from their mistakes. They had the time to think about their answer and practise in their mind what they would say. If there is one key message that comes from this article, it is that nothing replaces investing the time with other colleages or friends to practise overcoming objections. Everyone hates role plays but when repeated correctly, they work! You role play correctly so that it does NOT sound rehearsed and you don’t freeze or stuff it up at the perfectly wrong moment!
Professional Salespeople Are Prepared
You should know what you are going to say before it gets asked. Can you imagine paying top dollar to go and see anyone in a professional field of expertise and them being chronically under-prepared?! A poorly rehearsed and researched Lawyer will lose their clients ‘winable case’ and should get sued for malpractice. As should a Surgeon that ‘just made it up as they went along’ as they cut into your abdomin. Do you know what you would say? Are you the genius or are you about to be as soon as you are finished pracising?
Feedback and Comments
As always, your thoughts and feedback are valued. You can choose to comment anonymously if you wish. Feel free to ask more questions if this is an area that you know would improve your professional selling skills. Maybe you could even give us all an example of how you overcame one of the key objections?