Objection Handling: How to Counter Objections With Proven Techniques
This is a guest article from acquisa, the online magazine for marketing and sales.
As an accomplished salesperson, you know that: before a customer finally decides to complete a purchase, they have one or two objections as to why he or she doesn’t actually need the product or service. Potential buyers want to be convinced – and with plausible, informative arguments.
If you view objections as information deficits that are part of the communication process, just like inquiries in a sales conversation, potentially bothersome counter-arguments suddenly become positive opportunities to close a deal.
Pick up on objections and see them as buying signals behind which the desire for more in-depth information is hidden.
Objection Handling: How to Rebut Customer Objections
Objections in sales conversations are the same – regardless of products or services. The objection handling practiced in sales training comes across as a quick-witted reaction to expected contradictions.
With professional preparation for the sales talk, you can see the customer objection as an argumentation opportunity. After all, the customer initially has an information deficit vis-à-vis you, which you must compensate for with your arguments.
If the customer feels informed by the salesperson on an equal footing, you will convince him instead of having to persuade him to buy. Viewed in this positive light, dealing with objections becomes a natural part of communication in the sales process.
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If you know the typical objections and prepare for them professionally, you will have a clear advantage over your counterpart. With your tools for handling objections, you can take up the customer’s arguments so that he or she feels perceived and valued. Your rehearsed counter argumentation then comes across as an offer of information that arouses the customer’s interest.
The very best objection handling makes itself redundant by proactively debunking expected contradictions.
The Phases of Objection Handling
Of course, it is usually not quite that simple. If the customer raises a counter-argument, you must not dismiss it. It is better to provide the information that the potential buyer is still lacking for his final decision.
- The customer approaches the salesperson with an objection.
- The salesperson then initiates the objection handling process.
- Ask questions to open the customer’s mind to further arguments, and add a touch of humor to lighten up the conversation.
The salesperson leads the way back to the actual content of the discussion with a targeted question.
In sales training, you practice giving the conversation a clear structure. However, this only works with genuine objections that are voiced on the factual level. In contrast, pretexts cannot be rebutted, because in this case the customer only advances pseudo-arguments.
A good salesperson should therefore also learn to distinguish pretexts from objections. Even the best techniques for dealing with objections would be a waste of time and effort.
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Dealing With Objections: Techniques That Eliminate Objections
In order to become an excellent salesperson, you need to practice over and over again in practice scenarios to refute the typical objections. Then, in a real sales conversation, your objection handling will look so professional and natural that the customer will usually concede.
Here are some objections that every salesperson is confronted with, as well as exemplary methods of objection handling:
Customer objection: “I don’t have time for that.”
Salesperson: “Because I understand well that you, as a successful businesswoman, have limited time, I have scheduled this conversation to last only five minutes. After that, you decide how to proceed.”
Salesperson: “Would you consider your valuable time well spent if I showed you how three simple approaches can generate an additional 2,000 euros for your company pension?”
Salesperson: “Of course, a busy entrepreneur like you has no time to waste. Would you be interested in hearing two suggestions that would save you valuable time permanently and in the long run?”
Customer objection: “That’s too expensive for me.”
Salesperson: “What are you comparing this price to?” or “What points would be particularly important to you in a possible agreement on the price?” With a question like this, you can investigate the background of the objection or uncover any pretexts.
The salesperson brings a personal level into play with his or her own story. For example, he tells how he once bought a cheap no-name product that did not perform as expected. At the end of the story without a happy ending, there is then again a question, for example: “How important is the criterion of quality for you?”
Seller: “Okay, the product is too expensive for you. Thank you for telling me that so honestly. What if price were incidental, which criterion would be most important to you?”
Customer’s objection: “I’m not interested.”
Salesperson: “Let’s leave aside the question of whether you are interested in my offer. Let’s first clarify whether you are directly affected by the topic at all. Then you can decide how you want to set your priorities.”
I am different
Salesperson: “Of course, I know that the typical salesperson is looking for an immediate close. But my primary concern here is finding a long-term collaborative partner. That’s why I’m happy to go upfront with an informative conversation.”
Closed counter question
Salesperson: “Would you be interested in information on how you can make your production up to 20 percent more efficient?”
Conclusion: It Pays to Know Methods for Dealing With Objections
In sales talks, too, the motto applies: No master has ever fallen from the sky. Therefore, salespeople should not shoot their arguments from the hip. Professional repartee is the result of sound training.
Most objections are well known and can be anticipated. Take advantage of this fact and benefit in training from the experience of the sales generation before you. From the boomerang method to the open to the closed counter question, there are numerous methods of handling objections that make your sales success more likely.