While I believe the best course of action is to be so open and honest in your communication with customers you actually minimize the need to handle any objectives. This means you have already brought up any possible objections during your presentation or interview and have gained agreement as to how to best handle it.
However, there are some surprises that pop up during any sales process. So you must be prepared to handle any type of objection the customer raises. I have found these six steps to be the best course for improving customer relations and moving forward – even with a major objection coming up.
Here are the six steps to follow…
1. Hear the Whole Objection – Okay, you hear a little objection from a customer – what do you do now? What you must do is make certain this is only a symptom of a larger objection on the horizon. In other words, begin to thank the customer for bringing it up and please tell you more. You need to get the customer to open up and not hide a bigger issue that could kill the deal later in the sales process.
2. Re-Phrase the Objection as a Question – This is an art of selling. You must learn how to rephrase an objection into a question. Some times when the customer hears the rephrased question – it no longer seems as big an issue as it was before. This practice also allows the customer to open up even more – if it is a valid question in their mind. You must show the customer that you are open to discussion about any topic – this is the foundation of building trust with your customer.
3. Question the Objection – Tact and diplomacy live in this step. Carefully worded questions allow for the expansion of the issue – is it personal or a corporate issue? In other words, really get to the root cause of the objection – it could be very deep and very personal. This very personal enlarges the possibility of an emotional outbreak or response. Remain calm during this step to keep the customer calm and relaxed so you can have an objective and non emotional dialogue.
4. Answer the Objection – After you are confident you have the complete objection on the table, collect your thoughts, take a deep breathe and answer the objection or question to the best of your ability. Now remember the Law of Six from your basic sales training. There are usually only six major objections categories that will be asked by customers. IF you have identified the six major categories, you will have had an opportunity to develop, internalize and practiced the response you would use. This practice and internalize makes your response professional and authentic which gives the customer the confidence to trust and believe you.
5. Gain Agreement – This is the step overlooked by most sales people. Usually overlooked because of the fear of rejection and opening up the emotion of a real objection. Here is the real message. IF the customer does not agree to your response and acknowledge the level of agreement with the solution – then you may not have an agreement. Only when the customer verbally agrees and hears themselves agree does it register in the mind of the customer. Self discover of the answer is always the best way to have someone learn. Therefore, the customer must say they understand and agree to the solution or explanation of benefit.
6. Move Forward – Assuming the customer has agreed to the answers you gave regarding the objection, it is now time to move forward. Sometimes, you have to just start and bring them along to the next step. Moving forward in a presentation or the actual steps to their solution is the way you handle this move forward.
There you have the six steps to handling objections from customers or prospects. Remember, it is your primary responsibility to deal with these objections as a professional and show the customer you are trustworthy. By preparing for the primary objections in advance, you will have internalized your responses to make them real and authentic so the customer feels you are on their side (which you should be on their side too.) With this skill, you will have more sales success and stand out from the herd of common sales people calling on your customers.