Buyers will have questions and you must expect to hear objections. It's a good thing when they raise them. Your ability to handle objections honestly and effectively will then lead you to determine if you are ready to test for a close.
- Wouldn't it be nice if after the prospecting, developing an opportunity, and making a presentation you were able to go right to the close? Then your buyer smiles and says, yes, and here's a purchase order. (chuckles) I'm sorry, but sales doesn't work that way. The pipeline route from cultivating a lead to closing a sale 95% of the time takes a detour to an obstacle from the buyer. You know that, I know that, but it's still tough when we're faced with an objection because we're so determined to bringing in the business.
I've trained hundreds of salespeople over the course of my career and I've told each one of them that handling objections is a part of the sales process. However, I know how it feels to hear an objection since there are times when I want to shake my head in frustration too. That said, it's very clear that you can't get to the close without first handling the buyer's questions and overcoming obstacles. It's like crossing a bridge from the presentation stage to get to the closing stage. Here are some steps you need to follow in order to proceed successfully: First, you have to anticipate objections.
They are going to be raised and you shouldn't be surprised if the buyer has concerns about your price, your offering's features versus the competition, or something as simple as them not wanting to change. You need to have practice beforehand, responses to those objections, and be able to handle them professionally. Next, when faced with an obstacle, be careful of giving a quick response and remember it's not a debate with the buyer. You need to take a deep breath, give yourself some time to gather your thoughts, and I often write down the objection so it forces me to pause and determine what my approach should be with my response.
This will then lead to the third step, which is clarifying specifically what the objection is. You need to dig deeper and ask a follow-up question to ensure you know specifically what the buyer means. You want to determine if this is the real objection, the first of a few obstacles, or maybe a stalling tactic to slow down the buying process. Then, take a deep breath and show the buyer that you believe in your product or service. Be confident, but not confrontational in recognizing that you understand the buyer's concern, but you want to be able to restate the positive aspects of your product or service.
After those steps, you'll have a much clearer feeling knowing if you have more work to do with this buyer or if the obstacles have been overcome and you can move on to the close. Buyers will have questions about your offering. It's a critical part of their job to ensure that they're making smart decisions. As salespeople, we need to anticipate hearing objections. We must be able to handle this challenge and recognize that you have to overcome obstacles before you can start the closing phase of the sales process.