Learning how to properly respond to customers’ objections is an important part of any sales process. The challenge is that customers’ express uncertainty with at least one aspect of a purchase 99 percent of the time--whether it is the price point, the utility of the item, necessity of the purchase, or fear they are making a mistake because there may be a better, unidentified option. The good news is that a salesperson who makes it a point to listen and be patient with the customer, can turn that uncertainty into a confident purchase.
It takes practice.
Training a salesperson to anticipate and respond to common customer objections in the correct manner, will be the difference between closing deals and having fickle customers leave without making a purchase. Train your sales force to understand why customers’ object. Role play to the point where it becomes second nature for your sales force to listen first to a customer's uncertainties, empathize with the customer, and then softly convince the customer that the purchase is a sound decision without feeling pushed or hassled. Discussion of price comes at the end of the process.
It takes a knowledgeable sales force.
Customers on the fence about a purchase are often looking for more information to help them in the decision making process. A persuasive salesperson knows the product inside and out and doesn't have to leave the customer's side to "go find out" the answer to the customer's question. Give them the information they need to see the value in the product or service you are trying to sell them. A salesperson who shortcuts this process by avoiding giving the customer the information they are seeking, doesn't deserve the sale. You must earn a customer's business and not assume it.
It takes patience.
Customers are used to being hassled by a sales person the second they step into a business. Consequently, they impulsively take preventive measures by stating "I'm just looking" or "I'm only doing research" at the first sight of a salesperson. Silence can be a powerful tool, but you must train your salesforce how to use it and not to fear it. Be patient and don't interrupt the customer. When you take the time to reasonably and intelligently respond to a customer's questions, it sets you apart and makes you unique. However, your sales personnel must practice active listening rather than ignoring what the customer is saying while thinking about what to say next to rush the deal. That alone can be what will distance you from your competition.
1. Acknowledge their objections: This immediately begins to lower the customers’ defenses because you have caught them off guard by responding with the exact opposite reaction that they have come to expect. By empathizing with their concerns and showing that you understand how they feel, you have eliminated the customer's need to push back with an objection.
2. Neutralize their objections: Once you have lowered their defenses by being positive and empathetic in your response, you are now in the position to give the customer other thoughts to consider. Remember, knowledge is persuasive. It is critical at this point to give them logical and intelligent information to consider. By doing so you bring them back into your sales process. Make a statement, tell a story or present a scenario, that will alleviate their concern and neutralize their objection(s).
3. Seek acknowledgment: This step is designed to discover whether or not the customer has accepted your explanation so that you can move forward to the close. If the customer doesn't accept your counter statement, proceeding to the close will make the customer
think you are disingenuous and you will lose the sale. A typical statement like, "does that make sense?" is enough of a subtle acknowledgement to see if the customer agrees with you, so you can then proceed to the close. If not, return to the previous step and present another counter to their concern. Active listening is crucial to this step and is not limited to words. Remember, body language speaks volumes.
4. The close: When the customer has been sold on the product or service, the salesperson, and the value of purchasing from your company, then you are ready to close. When this has been accomplished, you have earned the right to ask for their business. Every time you finish your response, you must close and ask for the sale. You may have noticed that I have not mentioned price because getting involved in a price situation is the last thing you want to do. Always try and save it to the end. When a salesperson successfully neutralizes the customer's objections they validate the value of
themselves as your product or service ambassador ~ professional.
I suggest that before you let a salesperson hit the floor and approach a customer or handle any incoming sales, that you take the time to ensure they have committed to memory all the reasons why a customer should want to buy your product or service. Train them by creating the statements, stories and scenarios that I mentioned in countering customer objections, so your sales force can overcome them with confidence, believability, and close the deal!