Partners in Performance Blog

The #1 Mistake in Handling Sales Objections

Sales-ToolsThink about a recent sales objection that you’ve encountered, one that typically surfaces in your selling world. What do you do when presented with a tough objection? Do you jump in to answer it with a convincing statement?

If so, how is that working for you? Likely, not very well. Here’s why.

Telling is not selling

We know that questions persuade more powerfully than any other selling skill. We know that ‘pitching’ our ideas, products and solutions without getting grounded in clients’ needs beforehand makes it next to impossible to position value.

Yet when it comes to handling tough sales objections why is it that the typical reaction for most sales professionals is to counter an objection with a statement? Because it’s the typical human reaction to defend and justify when you feel under attack. Instead of “Don’t call my baby ugly,” what can you do instead?

Ask, don’t tell

Instead, immediately start asking questions. Don’t limit your questioning strategy and skills to the discovery phase of your client meeting. Questions can and should be woven all throughout your customer interaction.

When presented with an objection be prepared to ask questions FIRST before you answer. Our goal is to maintain empathy and gain understanding when an objection is raised. We need to get the client to do the talking. We need to listen. The way to accomplish that is with open ended, opinion finding questions.

Be prepared to ask at least THREE questions before you deliver your answer.

4 Reasons Why You Should Ask Questions Before Answering an Objection

  1. Asking clarifies the concern: Questions uncover what lies beneath the objection. What is spoken on the surface is often too general and if you answer right away, you may not address the real concern unless you ask clarifying questions first.
  2. Builds empathy and trust: The intention of your questions is to understand your client. Your client wants to feel heard. There’s no better way to do this than by asking to hear more of what they mean.
  3. Buys you time: As you ask questions and listen you will be able to formulate a better response.
  4. Shifts Perspective: Good questions shift perspective. Your questions build awareness and make your client think about the implications and potential limitations of their current thinking.

Objection: “Your Fees Are Too High”

Here are a few questions you could ask when encountering the objection about price.

  • As compared to what?
  • What makes you say that?
  • Apart from price, what are other factors (criteria) are important in making your decision to move forward?
  • If you don’t achieve the goals outlined in our solution, what are the costs (risks, implications, etc)?
  • How important is it for you to achieve the outcomes we discussed?
  • What do you consider to be reasonable fees?

Objection Handling Toolbox

To avoid being stumped by objections the best strategy is to prevent them.  If your sales process doesn’t include discovery to uncover client issues,  impacts, desired outcomes and decision criteria you only have yourself to blame for creating unnecessary objections. However no matter how effective your process, objections, concerns or unanswered questions will still surface. That’s why it’s important to have a proactive strategy to respond. Plan your questions in advance for the common objections you encounter. In my Intentional Selling training workshops we identify the 4 or 5 common objection themes that typically surface.

Then we roll up our sleeves and get to work. For each objection, the sales team generates multiple questions. We evaluate the quality of the questions and then the best ones are documented. This becomes an objection handling toolbox that is used to prepare future meetings.

Don’t go unprepared into a sales meeting. Take your best objection-handling questions with you and see what happens. Then let me know. I can be reached here, and on LinkedIn.

This entry was posted by Tanja Parsley on December 31, 2014 in Handling Objections, Intentional Selling™, Questioning Skills, Sales Tools. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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