Dr Brian Monger
During an average sales interview you may have to handle from two to five objections. Your first problem is to determine whether they are real objections or mere excuses or stalls. Your second problem is to decide on the strategy and tactics of handling them in order to retain control of the interview.
Your standard reaction to all objections should involve these principles:
Welcome the Objection. Do not resent it or attempt to argue. The prospect may be offering you a point around which the sale can be rapidly closed.
Listen Carefully to It. Keep quiet, smile, and concentrate on what your prospect is saying. You may think the matter is trivial, but to him or her it may be very important. Allow the prospect adequate time for full expression – to finish speaking. Do not make the mistake of cutting him or her off in mid-thought even if you do recognise the objection and are eager to acknowledge it.
Rephrase and Repeat the Objection. By taking the time to rephrase and repeat the objection, you accomplish three major goals:
1. You demonstrate that you have understood and respect the objection and thus please him or her with your interest.
2. You gain time to think for a moment how best to handle it.
3. You can soften the objection by rephrasing it into a question, which is easier to handle than an objection, and you put yourself in the position of helping answer it.
For example, if the complaint is that your product is too expensive, he or she may really be wondering if a cheaper one would not be just as practical. You can test this objection by rephrasing it into a question, such as, “Mr. King, aren’t you really wondering whether the expense for this item can be justified?”
Do not guess at the reasons behind objections. Your aim is to try rapidly to pin down the real issue. Sometimes the problem bothering the prospect is not clear even in his or her own mind. You have to find the right question if you expect to handle the objection. You then have to give facts that will influence him or her to answer the question favourably rather than unfavourably. Rephrasing and repeating the objection help clarify the issue for both of you.
Agree at Least in Part. By agreeing with the prospect’s right to object and by agreeing that he or she has raised an important point, you avoid contradiction and take him or her off the defensive. You lose nothing by agreeing that the complaint is reasonable, logical, and worth thinking about. You can then supply additional facts that may help to show the situation differently and may turn the objection to your own advantage by making it a positive sales point.
Uncover Hidden Objections The Process of rephrasing and restating objections into questions helps determine whether the objections are valid ones or mere excuses or stalls. If your prospect offers more than five objections during the interview, you can assume that he or she is probably stalling. Most likely he or she is hiding the real objection, and your problem is to bring it out into the open.
How can you uncover hidden doubts or objections? The best technique is to ask questions that bring them into the open. You have to watch as well as listen for clues, since some prospects mask their real emotions or feelings. Keep searching for the real reason.
Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects. He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator
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