Ari, whenever someone brings up an objection, I find myself moving into a sales pitch, even when I don't want to, Sherri told me during a recent phone call. I'm not even sure why I do it. I just want to explain how their objection doesn't really apply, but before I know it, I'm 'selling' again. I know this creates sales pressure, and I know it can push people away -- but I don't know how else to react.
Sherri's problem is one that's shared by many people who sell. If a prospect tells us, Your price is too high or We don't have the budget, we immediately think, Roadblock ahead! and start to panic that we're going to lose the sale.
Traditional approaches to selling teach us that we're supposed to counter or get past or overcome objections.
Why? Because we've already decided that our prospect should buy what we have to offer. So we try to convince them that what they're telling us shouldn't matter.
Objections or Concerns
The problem is, that's where you often lose them, because reacting to objections almost inevitably lets prospects pigeonhole you as salesperson.
Think about it for a moment. When prospects raise an objection and you cleverly dismiss it, what often happens?
They come up with even more objections.
When you dismiss those, they may suddenly remember that they have another appointment, or that they have to make an important call. Or they may agree to your offer...and then a day or two later you get a message that they're not going to go forward after all.
That's probably the most demoralizing outcome of all, because you thought you had that sale, and they've reneged on you.
What's happening here?
It's about sales pressure. When you're so focused on making the sale that you counter a prospect's objections, you're pressuring them. It's that simple.
I'd like to share with you a different perspective on how to view objections.
Objections aren't roadblocks, red flags, or stop signs. They're an opportunity to learn more about your prospect's truth so you and they can decide whether the solution you're offering can solve their problem or issue.
In fact, we should probably stop using the term objections entirely and start talking about concerns, because that's what objections really are. But for you to be able to look at objections this way, you have to let go of the traditional goal of selling, which is to make the sale.
When we adopt the mindset that objections are another way to learn about a prospect's truth, we stop panicking and falling into the trap of pressuring them that chases them away.
When we respond to objections in a way that invites them to share more about their situation with us, we sustain and enhance the relationship of mutual trust and openness we've shared so far.
When we don't fall into the traditional I've got to rescue this sale reaction, we free ourselves to continue the process of discovering whether we can help solve a problem.
Here's another advantage of reframing how you view objections -- they give you another opportunity to learn whether your prospect is a match for what you have to offer.
When you stop trying to overcome objections and just listen, you may hear that there really is a problem around whether your product or service is a fit for them.
In that case, you and they can talk further, or you may decide it would be best to wish them well and move on. This means that you can make better use of your time.
This all sounds great, you're probably thinking. But how do I actually do it?
Here are some specifics about how you can respond to 3 common objections in ways that avoid introducing sales pressure and open the conversation to more exploration of your prospect's truth.
Your price is too high.
Traditional sales approaches tell you to defend your pricing or to deny that it's too high. Consider this response instead:
You are right, it can be perceived as high, especially if you haven't had a chance to experience the solution yet. The last thing I want to do is have you feel any pressure from me, that I'm trying to persuade you otherwise. Maybe it might help if we took a look at the core issues this should solve for you and then identify what the return will be. That might provide you with a broader perspective on the pricing, would you be open to that?
By inviting the other person to tell you more, instead of challenging or denying how they view things, you're validating their viewpoint and reopening the conversation around the idea of why they feel the price is high.
By not trying to counter the objection, you allow the dialogue to move back to a discussion that centers around whether you're a good match for each other.
Why should I go with you?
Traditional sales approaches to tell us to defend our company and our solution and to try to persuade prospects as to why we're better.
Instead, consider saying something along these line, in a relaxed, low-key way:
(Gentle pause.) I'm not quite convinced you should yet, not until you're completely comfortable with the reasons why this solution might be best for you. The last thing I want to do is put pressure on you by trying to convince you to do something you may or may not want to do. Would it make sense for us to take a look at the actual issues you want to solve and then see if we are a fit?
Here again, you're not creating sales pressure by defending your solution. You're simply communicating that you're focused solely on helping them to solve their problem.
We don't have the budget for that.
Again, traditional sales approaches focus on overcoming this kind of objection by showing prospects why they should choose your solution.
Think about saying this instead, in a very calm, relaxed voice:
That's not a problem. (Gentle pause.) Quite a few of our clients originally had not allocated a budget for this, mostly because they hadn't become aware of all their options. Would you be open to a different perspective on how this could impact your business and provide you with a solid return?
When prospects express a concern and you reply in a very calm, relaxed voice, That's not a problem, you're validating whatever they said as having truth. That's not a problem immediately defuses any tension and allows you both to continue your dialogue.
You're not jumping frantically into defending your product or service -- you're simply suggesting that it might make sense to continue your conversation to see if there really is a justification for solving a problem they might have.
One More Advantage...
Here's one more benefit you're likely to experience if you start thinking about concerns rather than objections: less stress. Sherri put it well when she called me back the other day:
Ari, I have to tell you how much more effortless and relaxed my sales conversations have been since I started thinking about 'concerns' instead of 'objections.' It's made a huge difference. I can almost see prospects breathe a sigh of relief when they raise a concern and I respond to them with a gentle 'That's not a problem,' and they realize I'm not trying to deny their concerns or steamroller them.
If you consider a different mindset that looks at objections as concerns, you too may find that they can turn into gateways instead of roadblocks.
To your success,
Ari Galper is the founder of Unlock The GameTM, the only selling program that completely eliminates pressure from the selling process. His Unlock The GameTM Sales Program has helped thousands of entrepenuers and sales professionals worldwide. Visit http://ww.UnlockTheGame.com to take get 10 free audio lessons.