Lots of articles we publish in riskinfo Magazine send messages to advisers about what to do. But in this article from KnowledgeMaster’s Jim Prigg, Jim talks to you about what NOT to do when handling objections…
Handling objections can be frustrating, annoying and sap your energy. But an objection can also provide the opening you have been looking for to enhance your position in the sales process. When objections occur, take a deep breath, welcome the opportunity to rewind and take up the challenge to clarify what is preventing you from providing your solution for the customer’s problem.
Objections are part of your patch. They are not necessarily the end of the discussion (unless you let them). If you understand why people object then you are on the road to discovery of how to handle objections. This takes time, but it is well worth the investment.
What are some of the reasons why people object to your solutions and offers?
- They don’t know what they don’t know. “That problem has not arisen yet”
- A specific concern. “That’s not in the budget for this year” or “It costs too much”
- A preference for a pre-determined outcome. “Our current supplier can look after that for us” or “Our internal team can solve that issue”
- A preconception. “Our existing arrangements are satisfactory”
- Lack of urgency to act. “That’s not high on my list of priorities right now”
- Honest ignorance. “I don’t know what you are talking about”
Here are some practical examples of what not to do when you are handling objections from people about your offers, products and advice.
1. Never argue
When you argue there is always a winner and loser. In sales, sometimes you can win the argument and lose the deal! Ask permission to put an alternative or clarifying view or new information. An objection even gives you the opportunity to present existing information in a new way.
2. Don’t talk religion or get enticed into a discussion about religion
Volatility warning! Passion for or a lack of passion for a religious cause has lost many a sale, friend and future opportunity to do business. Politely listen to others views without disclosing your own or getting sucked into presenting an opinion. Then get back to the issue at hand by way of a strategically based question such as, “What do you like most about the proposal so far?” or “Could I ask your opinion about item X on page 4 please”
3. Never talk politics
Bias, ignorance and single vision can close the sales process down. Your own views should not cloud the issue of helping the client to reach a decision about implementing your solution to their problem. Listen to others views without disclosing your own or getting sucked into presenting an opinion. Then get back to the issue at hand by way of a strategically based question such as, “How close is this strategy/idea to what you had in mind?”
4. Don’t be patronising
Treat people as you would like to be treated – as an equal. People don’t like to be looked down on or treated in an inferior manner. Despite all the knowledge you need to have, let people think their views and opinions count.
5. Don’t belittle other people’s opinions or beliefs
Everyone’s opinion should be accommodated and acknowledged. If possible, turn opinions back to the customer in the form of a binding question. This can be in such a form as, “So John, aspects such as capital appreciation and capital guarantees are of critical importance to you in your investment plans, are they?”
6. Don’t be dismissive of others perceptions
Other people’s perceptions can be very precious to them. The fact that a customer may offer a perception on strategy, product or service delivers valuable emotional capital into the sales process. It should be noted and brought up at a later stage where relevant. “David, your experience has been to steer clear of (note concept/situation) in the past, has it?”
7. Don’t act superior
Just because you may know more about your product, service or offer doesn’t mean the client should not be treated as an equal. They are generally looking for a resolution, not a lesson about your superiority. Rather than make statements about your command of the topic, ask questions that flesh out the prospect’s ideas on what they want. Then back your solution into their articulated answers.
If you understand why people object then you are on the road to discovery of how to handle objections
8. Don’t over emphasize the negative aspects of any deal
Sometimes people get swept up in an emotional tangle and can lose sight of what they really want or need from you. So don’t be afraid to ask the simple question, “When you came to me what was it you wanted me to achieve for you?”
9. Never forget to ask for the order, commitment or approval to proceed, even when people object
Ask when is the best time for the prospect to make a decision about solving their problem. Is it now, by the end of the day, this week, this month, next month, this quarter, the tax year or any other specific date. In other words, when does the NO run out? You provide solutions. They give approval to implement. So, by giving a choice of time frames to implement you are getting away from the classic Yes/No scenario to a much more collaborative Yes/Yes situation. This is not what they want to do, but when they want to do it.
10. Don’t assume the client knows the answers
Just because you understand your material or offer, don’t assume your prospect does. The complexity of the products or services you offer sometimes requires education of prospects to new ideas, things they fear and having the courage to make a decision. Selling your knowledge and expertise to reach a solution is often a consultative process.
11. Don’t be afraid to straighten misconceptions
If people are barking up the wrong tree, kindly ask them if they would consider another view; new evidence (the truth), which you can provide.
Write down the objections you encounter. Then write down the answers you know or are using for these specific objections. Do you need to discover better answers or create new answers? Get your team involved. Do some research. Give us a call at Knowledgemaster. How do others handle this type of situation?
By being able to understand what not to do will arm you to be better equipped to handle objections. You are not going to win every time. What it does mean is that neither you nor your colleagues have to give up before trying to move the sales process forward.
This article is reprinted with permission from Jim Prigg and Knowledgemaster Pty Ltd. Knowledgemaster is an online resources company that delivers practical communications, interaction, sales and soft skills tips, tactics, techniques.
Jim Prigg is the CEO and founder of KnowledgeMaster. He says there is a raging indifference and ignorance to showing people in a practical sense the real face to face skills they need to sell insurance, which prompted him to create the KnowledgeMaster insurance series. It is not about compliance, technical or product knowledge, but the capability to inject emotion and empathy into the sales process. Rather than tell people what to do, KnowledgeMaster shows them “how to” do it. This means having access to practical scripts, interactive reports, successful communications ideas and just as importantly actions and activities at the end of each topic so we can help people to learn.