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Sales objections are a natural part of the sales process – something you’ll inevitably encounter as you move forward with the buyer towards the mutual objective of closing a deal. Yet, for most sellers, objections are seen in a negative light, and for inexperienced sellers, some objections can throw them off the path completely.
In my day-to-day work with clients, there are five big mistakes I see many sellers make when faced with a sales objection.
1. Assuming all is lost
When we are faced with an objection, especially if it’s phrased in a confident way by someone who can significantly impact our chances of closing a sale, our initial response is to assume that all is lost.
More accurately, our minds and egos tends to assume that simply because someone voiced an objection, they may no longer be interested in moving forward with the sale at all.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Think about it this way: remember when you were shopping for your house, and you had your first visit with a realtor ? Remember all those small things you felt were not entirely as you had initially wanted them ?
Maybe it was the color of the wallpaper in the master bedroom. The size of the garden, which was a little smaller than you would have liked. The layout of the kitchen.
Whatever it was, you probably voiced all those things to the real estate agent as concerns – but that’s just all they were: concerns. On the whole, you still very much liked the house, were interested in buying it, and the objections you voiced may have gone away after you really considered them for a while.
The same is true of every buyer – objections are simply obstacles on your path to success that need to be resolved before you can move forward with the sale. Nothing more.
2. Becoming defensive
I get it. When someone questions the quality, ability or attractiveness of our product or service, it’s easy to feel (hopefully, just a little) offended. After all, how dare they question the rigor of our research? The quality of our methodology? The pricing of our components?
Becoming defensive is a very natural, human reaction when faced with resistance. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right one. Try to resist becoming emotionally involved. Take a step back, and take a breather – before you respond.
If you choose to go the defensive, you’ll often invite your buyer to do the same. Before you know it, you’re both becoming increasingly entrenched in your positions, and moving away further and further from the ultimate objective: closing the sale. Resist the temptation to defend your position or opinion, and ask questions instead.
Act as an advisor, seeking to clarify and understand your buyers position. Open up a dialogue with the mutual aim of resolving the issue (or deciding it’s not a major issue anyway).
After all, this is business. Don’t take it personal.
3. Address them immediately
Whenever I stand in front of a group of experienced sales pros, and I ask them the question “what we do with objectives?”, the answer is almost always some version of “Overcome.”
It’s baked in our language. Textbook.
Especially in certain environments (call centers, car showrooms), an objection is treated as something that needs to be addressed immediately, head-on and as soon as possible.
I see it differently: take some time to explore the objection first, seek to clarify and understand, and address it only later.One great way of addressing it, by the way, is to floating “scenarios” and asking the buyer if they would meet his needs.
When it comes to handling a sales objection, going slow at first means you can go (a lot) faster later.
4. Assuming you’ve dealt with it
In some sales conversations, there comes a time when a buyer has voiced a sales objection, you think you’ve answered it, and now no one’s really clear on where things stand. Hoping you’ll be able to get away with it and “just move on”, you now ask the buyer “so, we’ve now addressed this point, right ?”
To not make an uncomfortable situation worse, your buyer politely responds “yes”. Relieved, you move on. Only to have the same objection come back three weeks later in the sales process, just when you thought you had the deal sealed.
As a general rule, in sales, never assume anything. Always check and verify. Same goes for objections: after you think you’ve identified a scenario that would help your buyer move forward, always ask them to confirm – clearly and unequivocally.
5. Dwelling upon it
After you’ve completely dealt with an objection, make sure you immediately move forward. There is no point in lingering, and revisiting the objection over and over again. Once your buyer has confirmed that, if you resolve the objection in a certain way, they will move forward and they will move forward with you – let go and move on.
In spite of these five common mistakes, objection handling isn’t difficult or complex at all- all it takes is following a simple, five-step process.
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