15 Keys to Handling Objections

Handling objections is what most salespeople call this step in the sales process. I like to call it “addressing concerns” because that creates a different mental picture of what’s happening. One of the greatest fears of the untrained salesperson is hearing objections or concerns after they’ve given their all in the presentation step of the sales process. That’s simply because they do not yet understand the tremendous help objections can be to closing sales. Here are 15 keys to help readjust your attitude toward what is potentially one of your greatest assets in any sale.

Key #1: If they’re not interested enough to offer objections, they’re not interested in buying.

Key #2: Incorporate handling objections into every presentation. They’re like rungs on a ladder, just another step in a process leading to success. Expect them and prepare for them.

Key #3: There are two kinds of objections: minor and major. Minor objections are nothing more than a defense mechanism. Your customer probably just wants to slow down the sales process a bit. He or she may just want a few more moments to consider all the facts and figures you’re providing. Handled properly, minor objections tend to fade away and your presentation can continue.

Major objections are something you cannot overcome. For example, if your prospect just doesn’t have enough money to make the purchase, it’s impossible for him or her to become a client. When you encounter a major objection (and it truly is a major objection), it’s time to disengage. Be courteous and don’t brush off the prospect, but at this point it’s time to move on so you can help the people who can actually purchase your product. In other words, if there’s no way to win this game, don’t play this round.

Key #4: Never argue. This creates an impossible situation. As a trained presenter, the salesperson usually has the edge, and can win the argument. This leaves the prospect with only one vehicle for getting even–buying from somebody else.

Key #5: Keep the potential client separate from the objection. Objections are necessary feedback to tell you where you need to direct your presentation. It’s very easy to “hit ‘em hard” and in doing so unintentionally “rough up” your customer. Be sensitive to their feelings. Remember, buying is an emotional process, not a logical one. You can win all the logical battles and still lose the emotional war.

Key #6: Allow your prospect to answer his or her own objections. Just give them time and lead them where you want them to go and they’ll often surprise you by providing the answer. This is always best because regardless of how ethical and unbiased you may be, in their eyes you still a vested interest in the sale. When they provide the answer, they can’t fight you.

Key #7: Don’t interrupt an objection. Avoid the dangerous temptation to jump in and answer the objection right away. Your customer deserves the right to voice an opinion fully. Besides, the more you let customers talk, the more likely they’ll talk themselves right through the objection or handle it on their own. Maybe they just had to “get it out.”

Key #8: Feed the objection back. This is especially helpful with couples. One party will object, you feed it back, and the other party will often provide the answer. Try it. It works.

Key #9: Ask for more detail. Be serious about your need for more information and get the customer talking. This does two things for you: (1) gathers information and (2) gives you time to develop a strong answer.

Key #10: Provide the answer. Every product ever sold has strengths and weaknesses. Champion salespeople are ready to discuss those weaknesses honestly and intelligently. Instead of worrying about them or creating nightmare fantasies in your mind, study them. Develop all the different ways you can address the situations.

Key #11: Make sure the buyer understands your answer. The simplest way to do this is just to ask. “That solves your concern with _________, doesn’t it?” One of the worst things you can do in a presentation is to leave an objection out there unanswered. It’s like a land mine just waiting for your step to cause an explosion.

Key #12: Get out of there! Once you’ve answered the objection and confirmed that it has been understood, move on to the next step in your presentation.

Key #13: Allow the customer to see things from your perspective. This is especially effective when someone offers a direct and forceful objection. “I’ve tried your product. I don’t like it.” Ask the customer to imagine being the president of your company (or sales manager, etc.) and ask “What would you do in his/her position?” The answer will come back swift and hard. “I’d do this, that and the other.” At that point you note that “this, that and the other” is precisely what your president did to solve the problem (if that’s truly what was done). This is the old “walk a mile in another man’s moccasins” technique.

Key #14: “Thanks. We appreciate your time. We’ll get back to you” usually means the buyers are headed out to find the same thing, only cheaper. Ask for permission to ask a few questions before they leave and then run through the positives of your product or service. “We’ve agreed that this meets your quality standards…and it’s the right size…and you’re impressed with our service after the sale policy…” and so on. Eventually, you’ll get them to admit the real objection is the investment, which is good. Once you’ve identified that as the key concern, you can begin to address it.

Key #15: If there are no major objections and the buyer doesn’t go ahead with the purchase, accept your responsibility for the lost sale. Learn from all your mistakes, study up on the techniques and strategies you need to use them more effectively, and move on to the next sale. “It’s my fault” is a necessary step toward professional growth, one that leads directly to “It’s my sale!”

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. Learn even more successful selling strategies at our 2-day Sales Academy.

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