Consider all the different meanings that you could give to an objection such as:
I don’t want to make a decision without my partner.
The real objection can not yet be seen.
It could be one of many different meanings related to the buyer, their partner, how they make buying decisions.
If you have followed stage 1 of the defining process you will have established where the objection is based.
You will have found whether the objection is based in reality, which means there are real physical reasons why the prospect cannot buy without their partner being present.
Or, whether the problem is based in the buyer's mind and on their map of reality.
The objection then would be supported by the buyer's beliefs, experience, and the rules they make for buying decisons.
For this example we will take it that we have discovered that this sales objection is based in the buyer's mind, as this is where the majority of difficult objections are found.
You now have two objectives:
To fully define the objection as it is framed by the buyer.
To turn the negative objections into positive needs, wants, and desires.
Defining the sales objections
How would you start to define the objection in the above example of needing a partner present before buying?
Using the example objection consider what questions you would ask to define the sales objection.
How would you start overcoming objections in the buyer’s mind?
You want to see the situation as the buyer does on their map of reality.
Their internal map is formed by:
Past related experiences
The beliefs the buyer holds
Predicted future consequences of buying
Structure your sales questions to define the sales objection
Start with wide open sales questions when handling objections. Questions that will get the buyer talking, even the low reactors. The best questions to ask are those that start with phrases such as:
Describe to me
Build me a picture of
Give me some detail on
These types of questions make it difficult for a buyer to give short, or one word answers. They get the buyer talking and that’s what you want.
Then use more direct questions and alternative answer questions to narrow down to specifics.
For example: What would happen if you bought this today without your partner being here?
Or, Is it you or your partner that first made up that rule?
Then lead into closed questions that require a yes or no answer if you need more defined information.
Possible ways to start defining the objection?
You could start with, Tell me what would happen if you did buy it now?
What if you got the answer, My partner would kill me.
You may then follow with, How do you know?
Or, What is it about you buying something that your partner would be upset over?
What you’re looking for here is, what is it exactly that the buyer’s partner wants. You are trying to turn the objection into a positive want.
The buyer’s partner could want the opportunity to stop or reverse the sale if they are not happy with it. In that case the positive want could be a refund if they are not happy with it or a trial period.
Define the sales objection first before answering
Remember you are not presenting the answer yet.
You are defining the wants, needs, or desires that if fulfilled will overcome the obstacle to your sale.
At this stage of the process you are turning the objections, which are usually negatives, or do-not-want statements by the buyer, into positive requirements.
In the above example you could now phrase the objection to the buyer as:
So what you need is a way that you could return the item if your partner wasn’t happy with it?
Other objections turned into needs
The partner may want the buying process to be a shared experience.
This happens all the time in car sales. Yet how many car sales people have the initiative to overcome sales objections relating to partners by turning the objections into a positive.
How many would answer the defined sales objection with:
Great let’s take it for a test drive and pick up your partner.
The buyer may have made bad buying decisions in the past and the positive want is for a second opinion.
Some people want their partner with them so they can not be blamed if they make a bad buying decision.
You could phrase this back to the buyer as a positive want of, needing to see some evidence that buying the product is a good decision.
This happens in B2B sales to large companies all the time. Many people have the survival strategy of, If I don’t make any decisions on my own I can’t make any mistakes.
Your answer to handle the objection, later in the process, may be to provide independent reports, or feedback from satisfied customers, on your product.
Look for the real sales objections
I hope the above has opened your mind to the benefits of defining sales objections.
If in the past you have been tempted to respond with an immediate answer to an objection, now you might want to try defining the real objection first.
Objections, based on the buyer’s map of reality, may sound strange to you. But to the buyer they are real, and they are the obstacle you have to overcome when handling objections.
Examples of objections I have come across and the positive needs I turned them into
Some of the common objections I have come across in my sales career, and the positive needs I have turned them into after I had defined the real objections.
Remember these are not a presentation of the answer to overcome the objection and turn it into a sale. They are just a re-phrasing of the objection that gets the buyer to agree to a positive want, instead of a negative objection.
Sales Objection - Can you leave me some information
This customer’s strategy for making decisions included always having some written literature that they could read through. The positive want I turned this into was for me to spend time going through the product manual with them.
You need to see that the product is worth the value we have put on it before you buy.
I’ve already got a supplier
So you would need a good reason to move that business to us.
I need to think about it
After questioning to define the real customer objections the buyer agreed that there was one main positive need.
The need was: To compare the deal I was offering to similar offers from competitors. I gave him the phone numbers of the main competitors, and I helped him assess the deals he was offered by them.
The next step in using these techniques
Once you understand the sales technique, of defining the negative objection and turning it into positive need, you will want to know what words, questions, and phrases to use for your products and services.
You will also want to know how to learn to use the process and how to pratice it to perfection.
The sales process I use with my sales teams, which includes defining the objection, can be mastered in just a few hours. The course I present is called How to Overcome Sales Objections.
How to overcome sales objections
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An effective process that can be used for any type of sale in any market. Follow step by step instructions and build a sales objection process in your own words, unique to you.
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