Reducing Objections Boosts Closing Rates
Handling objections is often a key focus of many sales training classes. However, research indicates that sales objections are usually not good!
As reported in a landmark study, sales interactions that involved a moderate-to-high number of customer objections resulted in fewer closes. Sadly, many salespeople invest substantial time developing customer relationships only to lose the sale at the objection handling. Ineffective and dated sales techniques like defensive behaviors, saying “but” or handling objections by over-talking often contribute to losing sales.
In many selling situations, salespeople find themselves often handling objections to price. Research indicates that two-thirds of the time, price objections were simply a convenient excuse or a cover for the “real” objection. Unfortunately, many salespeople take price objections at face value and discount their price. These discounts, however, may result in lowered customer perceptions and propensity to buy on an ongoing basis.
Salespeople are often handling objections without the benefit of getting inside the buyer’s mind. Do salespeople understand why the customer is objecting? Are they personal reasons? Are they business reasons? Too often, salespeople focus on achieving their quotas without carefully considering how people make purchase decisions. Consequently, salespeople proceed too quickly and appear to be pushy. And buyers that dislike “pushy” salespeople are known to barrage their salesperson with objections.
With poor objection handling, the sales process can become a struggle instead of evolving into a pleasant partnership. Good customer relationships, built on mutual respect, can yield many benefits and result in less time spent handling objections. Indeed, if you change the way you sell to closely conform to how people buy, you will see a reduction in the number of objections. More than 80% of the objections we experience as salespeople are related to issues involving a poor understanding of the prospect or low perceptions of value. So, how can you improve objection handling?
Techniques for Handling Objections
- If an objection arises early in the sales process, respond by asking enlightened questions. These questions help prospects recognize both the gravity and urgency of their issues, thus increasing the value of your solutions. By becoming a good needs assessor, you can prevent many objections.
- List the 10 or 20 most common objections you receive and develop appropriate responses to each.
- Then, perfect your objection handling technique by practicing with a colleague, mentor or manager. Needless to say, good sales skills training programs can provide a variety of effective and non-offensive objection handling techniques.
- Next, determine which salesperson statements or behaviors, if any, typically precede each customer objection. Then evaluate the effect of eliminating some of these statements and behaviors.
- Finally, the entire sales team can track their success handling objections using specific responses and share their best sales techniques.
Price objections occurring late in the sales process are typically caused either by fear or a desire to get a better deal. Fear is emotional, not logical. Thus, traditional objection-handling techniques that rely on logic will often not work. So, draw out the real fear issues and get prospects to open up and share their emotions. Then, empathize with them and be patient while your prospects work through their fear and resistance issues.
Indeed, great salespeople receive fewer objections and are adept at addressing prospect resistance. And the best sales training programs teach a number of successful objection handling methods since no single technique is universally effective.
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