A sales objection happens when you hit a brick wall in the sales process.
Most salespeople think handling objections comes when you first meet with a prospect. If you manage the sales process well, it comes towards the end of the buying and selling cycle (Bi-Sell-Cycle™) yet this is what most salespeople focus on up front. Noooooooo no no no! Let me explain.
When I first landed a formal sales role, I was told to be a good salesperson I had to know how to handle objections. At the time I had never heard of this and yet I had successfully been helping people buy for years. I just didn’t call it being in a sales role. What focusing on objections did was put unnecessary roadblocks in the way of me successfully helping people buy.
The very first job I had as a teenager, I worked in a retail store and never thought of myself as being a salesperson. All I did was help people when they came in the store make a purchase that was right for them. I enjoyed great success and looking back I believe it was because I was genuine about helping people make the right decision for them and I loved to help people buy. Customers didn’t feel like I was ‘trying to sell to them’ and as a result they trusted me. I didn’t understand this at the time!
Helping people buy is the key
I then spent 12 years in key account management working with some of the biggest buyers in America. How did I do it – I simply listened to the buyer and helped them buy. I loved the fact that it was about helping others succeed. Again, I never thought of myself as being a salesperson – just someone who helped others make the right decision for them. And I enjoyed great success. They trusted me and liked working with me.
I started my own small business from scratch. It was one of the most successful businesses of its kind where I lived and was often asked to present at conferences. I built the business easily because I listened carefully to what people wanted and I helped them buy what was right for them. I never thought of myself as being a salesperson. I built trust and confidence with my clients.
Then I sold the business and got a job in sales. Of course they put me through training (which was very sparse) then told me to be successful I had to overcome objections and learn how to close a sale. I read books on closing sales and handling objections trying to learn all these techniques. It didn’t help at all. In fact all it did was stunt my growth and interfere with my results. Not once did they ever teach a six step sales process which is the backbone of successful sales.
The problem was – I was concentrating so much on what these “sales gurus” were telling me, handling objections and close the sale, I stopped doing what was natural for me and that was to build rapport, ask questions, listen to the answers and help people buy.
Objections should come towards the end of a sales process
What made the difference?
It’s simple. Concentrating on handling objections and closing sales upfront is like trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. If you have followed a proven sales process it’s more likely that objections will be raised towards the end of the buying and selling process (Bi-Sell-Cycle™) not at the beginning. If you don’t build rapport and establish credibility and uncover customers needs, – all the handling objections and sales techniques in the world won’t make the slightest bit of difference to your results.
Let’s say you bought a brand new washing machine last week and I came along and knocked on your door trying to sell you a washing machine. Doesn’t matter how good I am at handling objections or closing a sale, I won’t be able to sell you one. Why? Because you don’t need one and it’s unlikely you are going to need one for several years.
This is what so many people new to sales get wrong. They believe all you have to do is present the product or service, handle objections and close a sale. There’s a lot more to it than that. There is a sales process you should follow which when you do, minimizes objections and makes closing sales easy.
Start with buyer needs
After you have established rapport and built credibility, you are ready to move into the Bi-Sell-Cycle™ which is to match the buying process with the selling process.
- You have to find a buyer’s need first. Without uncovering their needs you have nothing to match your solutions to so of course you are going to get objections. If the buyer has no need for your products or services they will not be interested in what you have to offer. This is where the pushy salesperson comes unstuck, trying to push their products on a prospect who doesn’t have a need. If that happened to you – like most people, you would see through them as being cringe worthy and run a mile.
- Let’s say did you uncover a buyer’s needs. So what! Doesn’t mean they will buy from you. That’s because unless there is tension (their problems will get worse or an opportunity will disappear) they won’t buy. They will happily sit back where they are in their comfort zone. There’s no urgency therefore they are not interested. Buyers are motivated by two things, to avoid the pain of allowing problems to get worse or gain the rewards an opportunity affords them. You have to find out what their motivation to buy is and what the impact would be if they don’t take action. Of course, if the buyer does nothing, then the problem is likely to remain or get worse and the opportunity will disappear. A buyer needs to understand the impact to motivate them to buy.
- The next step is to find out what their target goal is – what are they looking to achieve? Their target goal will naturally be to take away their problem or help them to realize an opportunity. This becomes their dominant buying motive. It’s at this point you can tailor your solution to match their dominant buying motive. Only then will the buyer be interested in what you have to offer. Objection number one (not interested thanks) is now out of the way. People only say they are not interested because they really don’t have a need or they don’t like the salesperson (a lack of rapport.)
To overcome the objection of not being interested, you not only have to discover the buyer’s needs, you must create tension to buy by helping them understand the impact or consequences if they allow a problem to remain or an opportunity unrealized.
Now you are in a position to help them buy from you by tailoring a solution that satisfies their need which is either to avoid pain or gain rewards. It’s not until you get to this stage of the buying and selling process (Bi-Sell-Cycle™) that genuine objections present themselves. If you have done your job right to this point and followed the sales process, you should be able to overcome objections with relative ease.
Handling objections should not be the focus
Objections are a sign post the buyer is lost is the sales process!
When a buyer raises an objection, it usually means they are lost. If you took a wrong turn on the road, sometimes you need to stop and ask for directions. Objections can be exactly like this. If you have ruled out they are not interested, it just means the buyer is lost in the process and needs further clarification before they commit to the next step.
Buyers will often raise an objection as part of the decision-making process. So objections can in fact be a buying signal. The point is, buyers go through a process when they buy. Objections usually happen towards the end of this process. When you focus on handling objections up front – you have missed the most important steps of the buying and selling process (Bi-Sell-Cycle™) and that is to find the buyer’s need, explore the impact if they allow problems to remain or opportunities to go unrealized and assessing what their target goal is.
Don’t let objections become the sole focus when dealing with buyers. If you build trust and rapport, establish credibility, ask effective questions to uncover buyer needs, and offer a tailored solution that genuinely takes away their problem or helps them realize an opportunity, it’s likely that you will overcome any objections with ease. That’s because you would have done all the right things in helping them buy to this point.
On a final note
Objections are often a signpost that a buyer is simply lost. Find out where they are, where they want to go and how they want to get there and you will greatly increase your ability to overcome the objection and make a sale.
In A Nutshell
Objections come towards the end of the buying process. If they come at the beginning of the process it means there is no tension for them to buy.
The four main objections are:
- Not interested
- Tactic or Ploy
When you identify which of the four main objections you face, you can then apply the remedies. Go back to the buying cycle, ignore the objection, clear up the misunderstanding or acknowledge and focus on your strengths.