by Jill Konrath
Objections are trouble – pure and simple! And anyone who tells you to embrace them because it means you're one step closer to the sale is living in the past.
Customers who have an objection about your product or service are functionally unable to listen to you. While you're busy asking them questions or sharing information, their attention is focused elsewhere.
Over-and-over, their brain is telling them things like:
Her prices are much higher than the competitors.
This won't integrate with our current systems.
I can't do business with a company that's in financial trouble.
We can't afford a $40,000 ($400,000) system right now.
They've never worked with a firm like ours.
There's no way these prospective customers can concentrate on what you're saying. Finally, toward the end of your meeting, they blurt out, "That's pretty expensive."
Now you're stuck! You have to justify your price, experience, capabilities or whatever. And you have to really be good at it to convince someone they should agree with you. But people hate being convinced - so now you're caught in a double bind. You lose either way.
What can you do? There's only one choice that works. Bring up that ugly objection yourself and deal with it right at the beginning of your sales call.
Think I'm crazy? I'm not. If you do it right it works every single time.
Let me give you a couple examples:
In my consulting practice, I often help companies figure out what differentiates their top performers from their average ones. I just finished a project with a company that sells medical insurance.
Their co-payments and initial out-of-pocket hospitalization costs are higher than their competitors in some areas of the country. For many sales reps this was a showstopper, something they just couldn't overcome.
But not for their top sellers. Every single one dealt with it upfront and in most case it became a non-issue.
Here's how a top seller from this firm, after building some rapport with the prospect, would deal with the objections at the beginning of the call:
Mr./Ms. Customer, your decision on your health care coverage is a critical one – and it shouldn't be made on whether you have a $5 or $10 co-payment.
I want to give you the correct impression. Our company is different. Better. It’s not just equal to the other plans out there. And if you don't understand why, you won't go with us.
Our health plan is focused on keeping you out of the hospital. It includes many, many services you don't get with competitors - at all. We include free annual physicals, free blood testing, free chiropractic care.... (and many other differentiators).
Yes, our initial out-of-pocket hospital costs are more expensive. But with us, you're far less likely to go to the hospital and you'll be much healthier. So don't get caught up in the numbers thrown around by the competition. Their plans are not equal. Ours protects your health much, much more. Now, would you like to understand more about our benefits?
The ability to confidently and factually address objections early in the sales call prevents them from causing trouble. In fact, it's extremely convincing if you're a prospect and hear a seller talk like this.
In my own business, I'm not the cheapest consultant either. I know people are concerned about pricing upfront - "Can they afford me?"
So I always say: "I'm not cheap. In fact, I'm far from it. But I'm darn good at what I do. And because of my depth of knowledge and expertise in the sales field, you get high value for your investment. We'll figure out how to make it work with your budget."
This is a true statement, spoken with self-assurance. And people believe it, thus eliminating the objection.
Now what about you? What objections are you running into each and every day? I bet if you think about it, the same ones keep popping up. Put on your thinking cap. Figure out how you can raise and resolve those issues early on in your sales call. Then start experimenting with your next sales call.
My final words of wisdom: Don't worry about "objection handling" techniques – instead, get rid of your objections all together.
Jill Konrath helps salespeople get their foot in the door and win big contracts in the corporate market. Sign up for her free e-newsletter by sending an email to email@example.com . You get a free "Sales Call Planning Guide" ($19.95 value) when you subscribe.
Contact Jill Konrath at www.SellingtoBigCompanies.com or at (651) 429-1922 to find out how she can help your sales force take their business to the next level.
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