For many years now, I’ve subscribed to Jeffrey Gitomer’s blog and newsletter. It’s one of the best sources of sales advice on the internet and he’s got tons of free content if you’re just getting started and still on a budget when it comes to investing in your business.
He just posted an article on handling objections that I thought was spot on and have included the bulk of it here. The original post can be found here.
There are no new objections. You’ve heard them all before. What ever business you’re in, there are between five and twenty reasons why the customer won’t buy now.
I know a salesman who will appoint people on one condition – that they will either say yes or no at the end of his presentation. They are not allowed to say, “I want to think about it” or he won’t make the appointment. A bit far fetched, but the concept is right.
Prevention is the best way to overcome objections.
Here’s how the process works:
- Identify all possible objections – meet with sales reps and customers. Brainstorm objections. Ask them for the top ten objections they get. They’ll flow like water.
- Write them down – Make a detailed list of every objection you have identified. Often the same objection is are given in a variety of ways.
- Script objection responses with closing questions for each – It may take some time to complete this task. Do it with your reps and perhaps a few customers in the room. Create several scenarios for each objection.
- Develop sales tools that enhance and support every response – Items like testimonial letters, comparison charts, and support documentation could enhance the “objection to close” process. Develop whatever you need to make the salesperson feel supported and able to make the sale easier.
- Rehearse the scripts in roleplay – After the responses are written, schedule several roleplay sessions to get familiar with each scripted situation, and try to make it sound natural.
- Tweak the scripts – After you roleplay there will be revisions to the scripts. Make them immediately.
- Try them out on customers – go to a problem customer or two. Tell them what you’re doing – they’ll be flattered that you had the courage, and they’ll most often give you truthful responses.
- Make final revisions based on real world situations – The real world always changes a script or approach. Be sure to document revisions every time you make them.
- Keep the documents in a master notebook – give all sales reps a copy. There is an added bonus to this system – when you hire a new rep, he or she has a training manual that will provide insight and income.
- Meet regularly as a group to discuss revisions – There is always someone inventing the new best way possible.
It’s so simple, it works. The key is to know the objections that are likely to occur, and script the answers or responses into your regular presentation so that when you come to the close, there’s nothing to object to.
Here are seven tools and phrases of objection prevention you might consider adding to your scripts and incorporating into your presentation as part of this process:
- Similar Situations – stories about customers who had the same or similar problem or objection who bought in spite of the objection.
- Testimonial Letters – some of them can be closers. For example, “I thought the price was too high, but after a year of lower maintenance cost, I realized the overall cost was actually 20% lower than last year. Thanks for talking me into it.”
- A story or article in print about the product or your company – build support, build credibility, build confidence.
- A comparison chart – compare the competition apples to apples and use it when the prospect says he wants to check around.
- Say, “Our experience has shown…” – one of the most powerful lead-ins to preventing an objection.
- Say, “We have listened to our customers, they had a concern about…. Here’s what we did…” – to get the prospect to see his potential objection disappear, and how you listen and respond.
- Say, “We used to believe…, we have changed and now we…” – as a method of preventing a myth from recurring (reputation for poor service, high price, etc.)
If you can overcome an objection in your presentation before the prospect raises it, you are more likely to make a sale.
Here are two working examples:
- Preventing price objections…You know Mr. Jones, many people told us our price is not competitive, but in our experience we found that the customer was confusing price with cost, let me show you why we are the lowest cost even though we may not be the lowest price initially. (You then show cost over a two or three year period that makes you lower, or a comparison of the cost of after–the–sale services. Let prospect sell himself on the price after he has been educated about true cost.
- Prevent the, “I’ve got a satisfactory supplier” objection with a testimonial letter…You know Mr. Jones, many prospects we call on already have good relationships with one of our competitors. I’d like to share a letter from a customer who felt just like I’m sure you feel. He thought he had a great supplier until he gave us a trial order. (show the letter)
If you can anticipate objections, you can prevent them from occurring. Sounds simple, it just ain’t easy. It takes time, creativity, and superior talent to make it happen. Please try it. Your reward for superior effort will be superior sales – which leads to a superior wallet.
Want an agenda form that you can use for your sales meetings? Using this form will insure you get the most out of your meetings. Just go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user and enter the word AGENDA in the GitBit area.