When we talk about objections, there are always two attitudes in most commercials who go through training. Some grind their teeth. Others start rubbing their hands happily.
It was the great sales dean Brian Tracy that normally on a sale has at least 5 to 7 objections. Moreover, when that happens, it’s a sign that we’ve reached a stage of interest in our product or service.
The saying that “he who disdains wants to buy” was already there, and in fact, this is the case in most sales situations. We can always have two approaches to this stage: to think that customers are boring or to rub their hands with joy, as we know that the business is progressing towards closure with every objection that is exposed by the customer and worked on by us.
Remember to treat all objections as requests because traditionally an objection represents only a “request” from the client, as it needs more information.
When dealing with objections
The first thing we need to pay attention to is the right time to deal with objections.
One of the things I often warn you about is the fact that commercials often get caught up in objections at the very beginning of the sale.
When that happens, we should use the ‘shoot-forward’ strategy. Let’s imagine that the customer turns to us at the very beginning of the sale and tells us something like “your product doesn’t stick scientist to the ceiling.” I have two choices here. Either I go straight to the objection and work straight away or I kick the answer forward with some variant of the following sentence: “Indeed, Mr. Customer, it is a pertinent question, but, if I may, let me give you some more details about the product that will help you to understand that question better”. When we use this strategy, the client often misses what happened and does not even return to the objection presented. Further on I can choose to ignore the objection, which is often a risk, since he may think I ignored it, or use linguistics and say something like “Mr. Client, is that the question you asked initially resolved?”. Often he doesn’t even remember her anymore and says yes.
However, watch out for the kind of objections that are raised. If they relate to situations of integrity, reputation, honesty or quality, the matter must be brought straight to the point and the objection dealt with immediately. The risk of attacking an objection at the very beginning of the business process is that the objection may have no value at all and, as we are answering it immediately, we run the risk of valuing it in our client’s head, creating difficulties that were probably not necessary at that stage of the sale.
Vaccinate the objection
When I talk about vaccinating an objection, I mean essentially not letting it appear before us. As a vaccine does, the idea is that we should call the objection first, to undermine its importance. For example, let’s imagine that our customer wants a solution that covers component A, B, and C, but our solution only covers component A and B. In this case, we have two choices: either pray to our Objections Lady with some prayers like “Our Lady of Objections, pray for us, make sure the C question doesn’t come up”, or clearly put the question on the table. For example: “Mr. Customer, our solution covers component A and B, but it doesn’t cover C. However, most of our customers, when analyzing the solution in depth, verify that, since it also covers component A and B, in most cases, C. By the way, do you want to understand why?”.
In this way, we deprive the objection of its power and do not allow it to appear later, or, if it does, we make sure that it no longer has as much force, since it has already been discussed.
This technique can be used with almost all objections, provided that they can be worked. If, for example, the objections relate to issues of quality or reliability, the approach should not be the same. It would be a little strange to tell the customer something like: “In every 10 units of our solution, 1 causes an accident, but it’s only 1 in 10”. I am exaggerating a little, but this example gives an idea of the situations in which this strategy should not be used.
How to respond
When I am asked “what the best strategy for answering objections is?”, My answer is often a little shocking to the commercials who go through training. My answer is usually “bite your tongue.”
The reason for my response is that commercials often literally jump on the objection with their response. Even if we know the answer to the objection initially, we should not proceed with the answer without first knowing what our client’s framework of understanding it.
That being the case, it always does:
Stop, take a deep breath and, as I say, “untangle the ball.” Something like that:
“It’s a pertinent question, thank you very much for raising it. However, why is that so important to you?”
“In what situations…? How’d you…? Every time…?”
Above all, resist the temptation to respond quickly. In this way, you will be valuing your client’s objection. If the response is too fast, more combative profiles will tend to escalate the importance of the objections and place some worse objections.
Do not fall into the temptation of jumping right away with the answer without having heard everything and asked various questions of clarification. Almost 80% of the importance of the objection is usually in the final 20% of the objection.
In advanced negotiation training, I often teach buyers a technique that lives due to the mechanics of the pattern of agreement that we have already analyzed in the communication and influence section. If you remember, it was the technique of getting the customer to agree several times to put pressure on him. For objections, the strategy is to raise three minor objections below that can quickly be answered by commercials. What happens is that at the end of only three equal things our brain waits for the next one to be equal as well. Thus, after three small and straightforward objections that are quickly answered by the commercial, he is wrongly induced to think that the next objection will also be short and simple and it is here that usually comes the banana peel in which the experienced buyer makes workhorse to tighten the commercial.
Agree, Reinforce, Respond
Finally, we are missing a piece that is fundamental to the response to the objections, this is not a specific response, but a strategy that significantly increases our responsiveness and reduces resistance from our client.
If you think about what happens in a sale when the customer says to the commercial and says “It’s expensive!”, What’s the first word that comes out of the commercial’s mouth? Usually something like “No, Mr. Client, for this and this and this…”. Moreover, what does the client do? You put an even bigger objection on the table. Also, what does the commercial do again? “No, Mr. Client…”.
Basically, by saying no, we are fueling a cycle of resistance that is not broken.
Instead, use the CRR strategy, I agree, I strengthen, I respond. It works very simply. Imagine the following dialogue:
Client: “That’s very expensive!”
Commercial: “You are right, Mr. Customer, when we present our product and its price, most of our customers have the same reaction, but what they discover when they analyze our proposal is that it already brings the “x” service included, that is, it ends up having a very balanced price”.
What happened in this example? Instead of saying no, we agreed with our client, then strengthened the response and finally responded, but in the shape of an external authority. I mean, another one of our clients.
For me, this is the most effective way to respond to objections and the one I continue to use the most on the ground.
The only problem with this technique as it has been described is that I cannot spend my life using it. However, I can use variants. For example, “You’re right, Mr. Client, but have you analyzed X, Y or Z?”. The options are numerous; the only thing I always have to bear in mind is that I must agree rather than create resistance in the response process.
This week, you know, when there are objections to the sale… “bite your tongue!”
Also published on Medium.