The best sales reps know that customer experience is key to driving sales. If customers don’t like working with you, they won’t! Do you work for a company that seems to look for ways to sabotage sales? Does management enforce policies in place that rankle customers? Is pricing way off base? Are your payment terms difficult? Are your delivery options limited? Do you wonder why management won’t get on board? Consequently, do you end up fighting objections your company created? Overcoming objections is part of the job, but why does management have to create objections?
We’ve all been there: the customer is a perfect fit for what you offer, they want to buy, and then comes the pothole. What can you do? Firstly, as a rep, you can create a positive customer experience while the prospect is working with you, and pass their frustrations upline to management. Make sure your manager is aware pf what customers do and don’t like. Secondly, you can create strong and effective responses to objections. You just don’t want to do it in front of the prospect. In the meantime, try this:
The Sales Obstacles
Objections are baked into sales. Overcoming objections is part of the gig. Your success at managing objections is a key part of the customer experience. Customers want to know that their concerns are respected, and they want you to offer reasons they can relax.
You may hear frequent pricing objections. If you’re not in range of the lowest price for your product or service, customers may resist. Some buyers are not used to shopping on value, or they’ve been told to shop on price. Similarly, credit and payment terms can be an issue – young or seasonal businesses often have inconsistent cash flow, but may be a great client in the long run. Service and support expectations are often higher than is reasonable. The variety of your offerings and possible customization are high on customer’s wish lists, but maybe your offering only comes in one size, shape, or design. You can’t change these things, but you need to work with them daily.
The Necessary Skills
Your reputation as a sales professional isn’t built on selling the cheap to the willing; it’s built selling the right product to those who need it. It’s important to learn how to sell around and through the perceived weaknesses in your product offering. There are only four real objections: no need, no money, no interest, and no belief in product. All the rest are negative perceptions, which can be influenced and changed. And the best way to do that is to make the “negatives” work for you.
How? Think it through, write it down, and practice. Any objection you can think of is worth writing down. Then come up with a few ways to either prevent or respond to each objection that diffuses your prospect’s concerns. Write those down, too. Memorize the top 5 you hear in your sales calls.
How To Do It
Don’t leave these challenges out of the conversation! And of course, tell your customers the truth. (It’s the only way to keep your deal closed.) Instead, take each thing you think is a weakness, and use the responses you created to make it an asset.
“The competition is cheaper.” I enjoy overcoming objections about price. Someone else’s price has nothing to do with the value of my offering. Say this: “I’m sure they know what their product is worth. This is what we charge.” List the value you offer your client: local partner, single point of contact, great quality, etc. Don’t defend your price or argue with the customer. Simply state the price, and move on. And don’t list it as a “fair price,” a “good price,” or any other adjective. Giving them an opportunity to consider that there may be other pricing available works against you. The price should seem fair to them if you have effectively proven value.
“I can’t qualify for your payment terms.” Overcoming objections about pricing or credit can seem tough. There may be options you haven’t thought of. It’s worth working with your accounts receivable department to make sure every option is considered. Often businesses are more flexible than they realize. If you can work with the prospect and find a way, you’ll have made a loyal advocate. If they can’t qualify because they’re financially unstable, and not just seasonal or in a temporary pinch, you probably didn’t qualify your lead too well. Learn from this mistake and move on.
“I wanted one that was customized to my needs.” You can overcome this objection easily. Unless the product needs to integrate with a specific program, system, or machine, the lack of customization is often an asset. “Our offering doesn’t limit you to any specific equipment or systems. You won’t have ‘vendor lock.’ You can grow, innovate, and evolve your process, and our independent product won’t hold you back.” Alternatively, you can explain that it was designed without customization specifically to avoid the need to update it constantly as the prospect need evolves.
Service and Support
Service and support can be very important to customers, and concerns are common. For example, “I get a 24 hr help line with your competitor,” might be a challenge you hear. Overcoming objections about service is an uncomfortable situation, because you’re selling something the client can’t see. If your company offers lousy service, you have a choice to make: give your customers great service by yourself, or have your customers use you as their “single point of contact.” Then go to the service team and advocate for getting your customer’s needs met. Additionally, make it known to your manager that you hear this objection, and name the accounts who list it.
If your company offers good service, just not 24 hours, try this: “We’ve discovered that by offering our award-winning service during our specified hours, and not 24 hours, we save money that we’re able to put into product development. If you need service, we’ll be there for you. Call me personally, and I’ll make sure you talk to the right person on the first phone call.”
In short, overcoming objections is a constant issue in sales, but objections don’t have to be deal-breakers. With the right approach, and the right answers at the ready, you’ll make more sales in no time. It’s all about customer experience.