It’s a tough one to swallow. It’s harsh, short, blunt and not what you want to hear. Especially if targets are tight and you are trying to meet your quota before the end of a quarter. However, it’s not the end of the world.
The word ‘no’ doesn’t mean you should throw that prospect to the wolves and never speak with them again. See it as a challenge, perhaps, even, an opportunity. Here’s why.
A sales objection is basically a barrier. The prospect has told you they are not interested, and the reason why. That, in itself, is engagement. You now know what needs to be satisfied before they would consider buying from you. Clearly, though, there is still a lot of work to be done.
When a prospect indicates they do not want to be, don’t be put off. Try these 4 steps to help you overcome objections and move closer to closing the deal.
1. Listen and understand the objection
Sounds easy but it isn’t. It’s easier to hear the word no and then tune out or jump right in and interrupt them. Don’t. Listen, don’t make assumptions and make sure you fully understand the objection and the motives behind it. And never react defensively, even if the objection feels personal.
Conquering objections is as much about ignoring negative emotions as it is about sales technique. Stay focused on what you are hearing and the problem you are trying to solve and make sure your prospect knows you are properly listening (whether that is body language or verbal communication).
When it comes to understanding the objection, many actually hide the underlying objection that the prospect might not be able to ready to say. Get to the heart of the issue. The easiest way to do that is to develop trust, which obviously doesn’t come easily. Ask inquisitive questions to better understand and explore the objection. If the prospect is happy to talk, reiterate the concern as you’ve processed it.
Listening and understanding the objection is the main step to exploring it, solving it, and getting to the true issue at hand. ‘Why?’ is the kind of question you want to be asking to get them talking and identify the barriers to progress.
2. Personalise your response
If you’ve listened and understood the objection, your prospect will not expect you to reel off some generic sales spiel. Identify the main problem first and address it. If you can conquer the biggest barrier, other objections may then become less significant.
If you can resolve the main issue there and then, do so. Solving the issue in real-time improves the chances of the sale moving forward. However, don’t make things up or say things that aren’t true to satisfy the prospect. It will come back to bite you. Any sort of distrust will put the prospect off completely. Be sincere, to the point, knowledgeable, and use the research (you should have done beforehand) on the company to tailor your responses to be more personal and specific.
3. Check you have satisfied the objection
If you’ve solved the objection there and then, check with the prospect that their concern has actually been satisfied. The prospect nodding or agreeing doesn’t mean the objection is solved. Ask the prospect if they are happy with the solution, if they have any other related objections and provide further information if required. Some objections may be further reaching and require additional input, processes or research. If so, be clear on the next steps and stick to them.
If the prospect is still struggling to come to terms with the solution, don’t force it. However, a non-committal ‘yes’ is also not an outcome you want. Some prospects will just agree to get you to go away, but you want something more actionable. Otherwise, the objection will still remain. Try to relish the battle. Keep a cool head. And make sure the outcome is something concrete. Even if it is a clear ‘no’, in which the objection can’t be solved, that is a better outcome than something vague in the middle. As then you know where you stand.
So, when faced with sales objections, keep a cool head, listen intently and try to really understand the root of the issue. Confirming if you’ve satisfied the objection will strengthen the relationship with the prospect and help overcome any future objections throughout the process.