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TW Magazine
July, 2001
Overcome Objections When Courting Customers

Many sales professionals are deterred by objections they encounter from clients. They either perceive the door as shutting and slink away, or combatively try to wedge their foot, arm or nose through the door as it appears to be closing. Yet successful sellers relish objections for the insights they provide, and the opportunity to continue dialog and even build commitment. Let's look at objections objectively.

Objections come in all shapes and sizes. Some examples of objections:

  • "It’s too expensive."
  • "We tried that once."
  • "Just send us some literature."
  • "We don’t use outside vendors anymore."
  • "You’re all about the same when it comes to this service. Why switch?"

Take a moment to analyze each objection. What insights does each give you about the customer or prospect? Are they cost sensitive, time sensitive, scarred from a past experience, unconvinced of their need for your product or service, unclear on the technology, leery of new relationships, or just slow to warm to you or your program? Whatever the objection, embedded within it is valuable information.

When prospects share an objection, try to refrain from arguing or confronting them. Initially your focus should be on understanding the objection from the point of view of your customer or prospect. This may require repeating it, rephrasing or just paraphrasing it.

Understanding a customer's sensibilities gives you a clear way of addressing their needs, soothing their ills and allaying their fears.

A simple "I see" or "Hmm" is noncommittal. It acknowledges their objection in a way that lets them know it's been heard, without necessarily agreeing with it in a way that closes the door to future sales. If you are still unclear on their objection, ask them to elaborate or ask a more directed question to probe for the root the objection if it’s still unclear to you.

Once you understand the objection you can now isolate it. "Is this the only objection?" Try to reframe it in such a way that you can obviate the objection:

  • "The cost isn’t actually so high when broken down among the number of users or when you factor in the low cost of maintenance associated with your higher quality product."

  • "Since you last tried our service or product, were you aware of recent advances in the technology or processes associated with it?"

"Are you aware of the benefits of using outside consultants, vendors or independent sales organizations for your needs? There are several substantial advantages to consider."

Often the objection can be rephrased so as to dissipate it, and a solution can be offered in its place.

  • "Interesting, past clients have found the opposite to be true."

  • "(A competitor) felt similarly before actually switching to our product. They then realized a 60% jump in sales once they retained our services."

The most important point to remember about objections is to embrace them. They are usually an honest expression of engagement and need. Your customer is stymied. Once you understand the objection and its motivating cause, you are better able to respond to the objection in such a way that it bolsters the product or service you’re selling, and garners their commitment to buy. Objection overruled!

Now You're Ready to
Take the Chill out of Cold Calls

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