Whatever you are selling, and however you sell, there will be times when your prospective customer raises objections - reasons why
they don't want to buy from you. Many people fall at these hurdles, but a good sales person can turn an objection into an opportunity.

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How to handle sales objections

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An opportunity - not a barrier to sales!

Whatever you are selling, and however you sell, there will be times when your prospective customer raises objections - reasons why they don't want to buy from you. Many people fall at these hurdles, but a good sales person can turn an objection into an opportunity.

The best way to overcome objections is to prevent them from arising in the first place. For example, if you know that your product or service is more expensive than your competitors, face up to this early in your discussion. You can't run away from it because the prospect is likely to know or find out. Why are you more expensive? Bigger? Better? Can do what the competition can't do? If you don't know some good answers, then work some out before you start selling.

Or if you're trying to get an appointment (and that is selling - not your product, but the appointment itself) and you know that your prospect is busy, then acknowledge that fact early on. Say something like "It will take less than ten minutes of your time unless you want to discuss it in more detail." I was once with a prospect who said "Right, you've got ten minutes." I was with him for more than an hour and a half - and made the sale!

What's the real objection?

OK, so an objection comes up that you haven't tackled in advance. Then what? The first, and most important thing to do is to really get to the heart of the objection. To do this, ask some searching questions. If it's a price objection, find out just what the prospect means. Is it outside the company budget? More than they can authorise? More than they expected? Dearer than competitors?

Questions such as "Compared with what?", "Why is this important to you?", "What exactly do you mean?" can start to get to the heart of the objection.

When you know what the objection is, then agree with the prospect! If you disagree, you'll almost certainly lose the sale. You're not agreeing that they are right, but agreeing that there is a problem. Words such as "I can understand that", "I'm glad that you raised this point" or "Some of our best customers thought that at first" will avoid conflict and reduce the importance of the objection in the prospect's mind.

Is it worth answering the objection?

Not all objections are real barriers to the sale. Some objections are excuses not to buy. Even if you answered such an objection, you still would probably not get the sale. So, before answering the objection, ask a test question:

"If I can satisfy you on that issue, will you ...?"

Answering the objection

If you've been selling your product or service for any length of time, you should be able to answer any objection because you've encountered them all before. And each time you hit a new brick wall, work out afterwards how you'll answer it better next time. Only you know how to answer specific objections to buying what you are selling, but here are three general approaches you can adopt:

  • Show how, practically, it's not a serious problem. A lot of objections are hypothetical.. "Ah, but what if..."
  • Show how the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. If you're in a face to face situation, you can even write them down - making sure that the former outnumbers the latter.
  • Show how the objection is not important in the prospect's own situation.

Finally, you need to get confirmation that the objection has been answered:

"Are you now satisfied on that point/issue/requirement?"

Of course, there will be situations when the main objection is that the prospect really doesn't want it and is never going to buy it. Who's fault is that? Probably yours, because you should have done your homework first and made sure that you are only trying to sell to qualified prospects - those who have a need for what you are selling and who have the ability to pay.


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