“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” -Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is right, of course. But in the sales context, let’s take that one step farther. Don’t just think about how to overcome objections … figure out how to use it to beat the competition.
Objections can come at any point in the sales process. An objection is a legitimate concern about you, your organization or the product you are offering. And it’s important for you to anticipate and unearth objections as early as possible to turn them to your advantage
Here’s an example. Let’s assume your service is significantly more expensive than the competition because you provide follow-up customer support others don’t offer. Most likely your prospect knows the competition is cheaper.
Confront the objection head on and early on by introducing the issue first. If you put it on the table, you recognize the concerns and are able to openly position around the objection. Use questions like “What have you experienced in the past buying [XYZ]?” “What have you seen in the market that you like?…Don’t appreciate?” Listen and learn. Then, you’re ready to address the common objections that might rise in their context.
Once you understand someone’s experiences – good and bad – you can begin to anticipate what the prospect is thinking and position how your approach brings value. In some cases, you can shift your approach to address his concerns. For example, if someone finds it difficult to swallow $50K because once he took the risk and the vendor didn’t deliver. Maybe you can work on options that reduce the prospect’s risk– he might even pay more for the peace of mind!
It helps to contrast benefits of having what you offer with the consequences of not having it. In the example above, you might make the case that your approach saves the prospect frustration and staff time, thereby making your offering more cost-effective in the long-run. If you really want to bring the point home, use a strategic bragging story to bring it to life. Be sure to use concrete data when relaying how your service saved another customer time or money.
Use questioning techniques to get information on possible objections first. Ask what the prospect thinks are the biggest obstacles to make sure you’re not assuming but listening. Confirm that your understanding of the obstacles is correct – this often surfaces new information you would not otherwise get.
Most importantly, control the objections dialog by putting objections on the table as early as possible rather than waiting for the customer to bring them up at the end.
These tactics are more likely to yield the response you want: a positive decision when you ask for a commitment. By anticipating the prospect’s concerns you have simplified her ability to commit. By connecting solutions to objections to value that’s prized by your prospect, you’re building credibility demonstrating you anticipate her needs, understand the value of her time and anticipate the sunk cost and frustration of wasted staff time.