When a prospect presents a barrier to a sale, such as a problem, objection or flat-out no, how do you react?
Do you try to prove that the problem isn’t a problem? Do you try to convince them that there are flaws in their objections? Do you reinvent your pitch and hope that presenting things in a different way will turn the prospect’s no into a yes? Do you simply end the call?
We’ve all had knee-jerk reactions to objections that have caused us to lengthen the sales cycle unnecessarily or lose the sale altogether. When a prospect expresses indifference, skepticism or fear, or makes a criticism, even seasoned sales professionals can easily find themselves going on the defense or offense, or fumbling through a sales call or meeting.
How can you overcome the tendency to have a knee-jerk reaction to objections?
Below are six tips for keeping a cool head when a prospect presents a barrier to sale.
1. Remember: an objection is nothing more than an invitation for you to help the prospect.
2. Stop selling and start trying to help resolve the prospect’s issue.
3. Don’t try to pretend that your organization is able to do anything and everything; if the prospect has a need that is outside of your wheelhouse, refer them to a partner or ask the prospect if they would like you to help them locate a partner or other resource. This will help you establish trust.
4. If you have collateral such as a brochure, case study or white paper that might help the customer better understand how you can address their concerns, offer to send them the collateral, and then send it in a timely manner.
5. If the prospect seems apathetic about the product or solution you’re pitching, put on your detective cap and ask questions that will help you determine what does matter to the prospect.
6. If budget seems to be the primary issue, try to find out what products or solutions the prospect would be interested in if budget weren’t an issue. This will help you open the door to talking about the prospect’s other business concerns or priorities.
The most productive way to respond to an objection is to stop trying to sell and start trying to help the prospect. This lowers the prospect's level of apprehension and makes it is easier for you to move past barriers and make a more meaningful connection.