If you look at the definition of sales objections, then you can see that they are simply barriers between you and your customer that need to be overcome before you can conclude the deal and the good news is that if you take the right stance and employ the right sales strategies, you can overcome the toughest and most challenging objections with relative ease.
There are certain sales objections that you will not be able to overcome, such as if you are set on having your favorite supercar in a specific color, say red, then I doubt that any salesperson would be able to convince you to buy a pink one!
The key to handling sales objections is to handle them up front and quickly identify those that cannot be overcome, such as in the car example.
And many salespeople working in the field tie themselves up in knots emotionally, when it comes down to handling sales objections, which if you have approached the sales process in the way I prescribe, will eliminate or seriously reduce the number of objections you have in the first place.
But it may take a total mind-shift to understand my sales philosophy and you just want to have a few simple tips to help you overcome this key and critical area of the sales process today…and that is what I am going to help you with right here.
Don’t get emotional…use emotion!
You must understand that objections are natural, whether in sales or regarding anything else…it is part of human nature to question and challenge almost everything, and when you are asking a person to pay money for something, as you would do in any sales situation, it is going to have an emotional component attached to it.
Sales trainers, directors, managers, and CEOs in the corporate world are desperate to see their sales teams perform…their corporate lives and existence depend on it, but for me, there is too much focus on the technical aspects of selling and that is why you see so many “canned speeches” and pre-rehearsed verbiage coming out of the mouths of the members of their salesforce.
In the online world, however, you have the removal of direct personal contact with your prospect and you have to rely on a one-way delivery system for your message, which is why so much time has been spent on writing emotional sales copy or producing emotional video content to really get to the heart of the prospect.
The best copywriters are experts at writing emotional content that drives a very strong message ad they compel the reader to take action.
A well-produced video will strike at the heart of the prospect and achieve the same result.
If you want to quickly improve your chances of field sales success, then look closely at the strategies employed in the online sales and marketing world and start to use them in your everyday sales pitches in a natural and confident manner.
They will change your game.
Sales Training And Objection Handling
When I went through my first commercial sales training program many moons ago, there were endless hours spent on handling and overcoming sales objections — sales training in those days was all about the 1980s “power selling,” where you would be hustling and closing deals based mainly on high-pressure sales tactics, with the goal of earning fat commission checks.
It was all about slick presentations, obliterating any objections, and then going in for the kill, with a “hard close”.
It suited me perfectly at the time because I had come from a direct selling background which involved selling home improvement products door-to-door in the evenings to earn some extra cash while I was studying at college.
But deep down, I knew something wasn’t right and I loathed the entire approach and process.
Though the decades
The power 80s soon came to an abrupt end and the power-dressed, commission-hunting salespeople were not facing the stark realities of a serious recession and an end to the champagne-fuelled, fast car lifestyles that were the norm…for the time anyway.
Moving into the nineties (or naughties) there was a change to what was termed “collaborative” or partnership selling and then we saw the birth of the Internet, which has revolutionized the world in terms of how we live, work and play.
Objection handling was now different from the previous decade and salespeople were encouraged to work in partnership with their clients and rather than be more on the confrontational side as they were in the 80s, it was more about the idea of “working together” to answer questions and overcome barriers.
Unfortunately, many salespeople did not realize that there was a distinct “us and them” situation when it came down to the real feelings of customer prospects and the idea of working in partnership.
Customers were customers and salespeople were salespeople…and more importantly, they were on the outside of the organization and not privy to the real strategic decisions that power the organization and no matter what level you are engaged at with the client.
Now we are facing automation and technology which some people believe will revolutionize the way we sell and even threaten traditional sales careers.
People talk and theorize about having a decision-making process based purely on fact and although I believe this to be a good way to establish a working framework with a supplier until we have a world where these decisions are made based on a machine-to-machine basis.
But for now, we cannot ignore what I term, the “human touch.”
I look at sales objections, as the result of delivering a poor initial sales message, a wrongly structured sales presentation, and ultimately having a poor understanding of customer desires, situations, and problems.
So let’s get started with my top tips to help you instantly overcome sales objections:
#1 Your Are An Expert…Demonstrate it!
Your prospect will have a need and that is why you, as a salesperson have been invited to present to them, assuming of course, that you have been successful in your initial approach, which is a whole different story.
But the reason your prospect has agreed to hear your presentation is that in their own mind, they are reaching out for an expert in the particular field, because they have an idea of what they want, but they do not necessarily know what they want.
This is where you come in.
I have worked with many huge international corporations where I have conducted some seriously high-level meetings and presentations, to ultimately discover that the initial problem I was trying to solve, was not the key problem and in some cases, it was far removed from the initial brief of the situation.
As a top-flight salesperson, you are an expert in your field and your customer is hiring you for your expertise. Never forget that.
Many salespeople simply do not have enough confidence to demonstrate their expertise so make sure you do.
#2 Get Into The Mind Of Your Prospect
There is a conversation going on in the mind of your prospect and you simply have to try to understand it.
One of the most important skills that are possessed by the best salespeople, is their ability to instantly read a situation and predict how it is going to play out.
I can usually tell from the first moment of a phone call how the rest of the call will go and in meetings, I have learned to read the expressions and understand the demeanor of people very quickly.
Now, this has taken me almost a lifetime to understand, refine, and master, but that is because I learned the hard way, but you don’t need to spend even a fraction of that time to grasp the principles and put them into action right now.
You must remember that what is going on in your prospect’s mind, is not necessarily reflected in the expression of what they do or what they say.
Conduct research on your prospect’s company and try to understand the pain points, the frustrations, challenges, and get to know the market. This will give you an idea of the commercial challenges, so you can prepare for them and you can be sure that many sales objections that you are experiencing will come from this area alone…you just don’t have a deep enough understanding to uncover them in advance.
The next part is less obvious and easily overlooked — your prospect may be suffering from their own personal stress or problems which although may not affect the overall sales process and end result, will definitely impact your current interaction with them.
I have experienced this many times and simply by asking the prospect if everything is OK, I have had some amazing feedback from a simple “yes, thank you for asking,” to an almost total rendition of their life story.
Remember, you are dealing with humans.
#3 Don’t Raise The Barriers
You see it many times — two people arguing and then one starts to posture and raise the stakes of the game, whether having an argument with a doorman when trying to get into your favorite nightclub or simply having a heated exchange with your work colleague.
In any event, both people go into a more emotionally aroused state which now has the potential to take away the chance of having a rational discussion.
A sales situation is based upon two parties meeting to discuss a value proposition, which makes commercial sense to the prospect who is going to purchase based on that value proposition and it needs to be conducted rationally and without unnecessary emotion.
Many salespeople, unfortunately, raise the barriers of their prospect from the first interaction and for many reasons — it could be as simple as the way they dress, speak or even shake the hand of their prospect, or being overconfident or too timid.
Bear this in mind.
#4 Make Sure You Have done Your Homework
This is the cornerstone of my entire sales methodology and simply because the more you know, the more you can be prepared.
Take a look at the related article I have linked to above, about learning to be a key influencer and it goes into detail as to how to do this, but for now, it is about learning as much about your industry, your customers, their competitors and more importantly the commercial goals of your customers and then aligning your services perfectly.
Don’t just focus on the now, be aware of the past (how the company got to where they are today), the present, and what the future looks like for everything concerned with the industry and your customer.
This is the approach alone that will help you identify and overcome sales objection well in advance.
#5 When You Have To Handle A Sales Objection
So you are not perfect in your sales approach and now you have to handle the dreaded objection that can put fear into your stomach and have you at worst, stuttering and deliberating over your answer.
Here is a simple formula to get into your head and buy you some quick time to give your answer:
- Agree with the objection in terms of it being raised and then go through it with the customer to make sure you fully understand the reason. I used to use the terms “qualify and confirm” in my head to make sure I understood exactly what the concern was.
- Generalize the objection — even if the objection is specific to your company or you, it can still be generalized and the purpose here is to make sure your customer understands that the objection will likely apply to many companies as well as yours. Now this will not work if the objection is something that your software product, for example, does not have a key function that your client requires…but I would have hoped that this would have been understood and discovered long before you entered into the presentation.
- Deliver your answer specifically — even in the case of the software example, you could overcome this objection by highlighting all of the strengths of the rest of the product and commit to adding functionality within a specified date. I have achieved this myself and even had the customer agreeing to part pay for it! Your goal is to simply laser focus on how you can specifically answer the objection and please, do not ramble on.
In my early sales career, the above has saved me from many disastrous sales presentations and prevented me from losing deals.
Give it a try.
I believe that almost all sales objections can be prevented from occurring and it all comes down to how much knowledge you have about your industry, your customer and the situation they are in right now — this is the key fundamental and it set’s the scene for serious sales performance and success.
However, it takes time and effort to conduct this research and many salespeople are simply not motivated enough to do it.
On top of this research, it is essential that you as the salesperson, are able to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in a confident manner — this step alone serves to build a much greater deal of trust with your prospect.
Sales objections are grounded in simple facts that apply to the situation and also human emotion — you are dealing with humans so you have to understand the sometimes innate skepticism of human nature.
If you have to deal with an objection, then it is important that you fully understand the objection and confirm it back to your customer, then you must try to generalize it to put it into perspective and show that it could be reviewed as a common one.
Lastly, you should answer the objection specifically and not ramble on with a long-winded answer that may serve to cast even more doubt on your proposal.
I will finish with this analogy — sales objections in my sales philosophy are similar to the philosophy of alternative medicine in that the prevention is easier and better than the cure!
If you need help with any aspect of sales and selling or simply want to discuss this article then please contact me:
Last modified: April 27, 2021