By Kathy Sisk
Here are six methods to deal with objections. Pick the ones you feel comfortable with and that are appropriate for objections you may get from your prospects. The key is to use a method not often tried by your competitors. This helps to set you apart and impress your prospect with your unique style of presentation.
1) Restate or Agree and Probe: You can find the real issue by restating or agreeing and then probing. For example:
Objection: I have no money. Restatement: “What you’re saying is that if it were cost-effective, you would consider it. Is that correct?” (Make this an assumptive statement.)
Objection: Send me information. Agree: “I would be happy to…”
Objection: I’m not interested. Probe: “What are some of your concerns?”
You won’t use all three; you will either restate and probe or agree and probe. By using the restate method, you can get a confirmation from your prospect. This identifies the real issue quickly. You can then proceed to your probing questions. Otherwise, agree and then probe to draw out real the issues. Agreeing helps defuse the objection quickly so your prospect will actively listen and respond to your probing questions more openly. Let’s consider the two examples and demonstrate how they work together.
Restate and Probe: “What you’re saying is that if it were cost-effective, you would consider it. Is that correct?” (Make this an assumptive statement.) “Other than affordability, what other concerns do you have?”
Agree and Probe: “I would be happy to send you information. What information would be most valuable to you?”
Once you have either restated and probed or agreed and probed, then you must outweigh the objection with features and benefits, get reaction, and, if your prospect’s response is positive, you can then close.
2) Keep Selling: Your second method of handling objections is to keep selling. This works best when you have previously received a “yes” response. You can refer to the “yes” response your prospect offered when you get a reaction in Step Eight. Using this technique makes your prospect accountable for what they have agreed to earlier in your presentation, when you asked: “How valuable would this be for you?” You need to remind them of their positive reaction. Here is a format to follow – just fill in the blanks to fit your prospect’s response.
“I understand, Mr./Ms. Prospect. We talked about many benefits. You liked the fact that _____________, and the idea that we can give you ____________. One of the areas we haven’t talked much about is ______________. Mr./Ms. Prospect, how important is that to you? [or] How valuable is this to your company?”
This gives you an opportunity to do additional selling. However, there is some flexibility when using this technique. If you don’t want to go into something else and risk pushing another hot button, you can change the format slightly:
“I understand, Mr./Ms. Prospect. We talked about many benefits. You liked that __, and the idea that we can give you __. What other concerns do you have in allowing me the opportunity to validate this further?
3) Reflect: The reflect method is similar to the keep selling strategy. The only difference is that you do not add additional selling points or get a reaction. This is more readily used when you get a “no” response when you get a reaction in Step Eight. You need to refer to what your prospect said “yes” to in your restatement in Step Six. This will remind the prospect of what his or her needs are. For example:
“We talked about many issues. You mentioned that your company sees the value of__, and you have a concern with__, and you feel that conducting a competitive analysis would help you to determine (pause) the cost-effectiveness of your current product. What other concerns do you have about receiving this information?”
4) Feel, Felt, Found: This technique is another excellent method for handling objections, especially if your prospect is skeptical, unsure, or sounds irritable. Defuse the objections with feel, felt, found statements, and then offer solutions with your features and benefits. One drawback when using this method is that many salespeople tend to use it; it may sound too familiar to the prospect, which could cause a negative reaction. Therefore, when using this technique, be sure to use verbiage that is unique and unfamiliar: Do not say, “I understand how you feel, and others have felt the same way until they found out that…” Below, are some alternatives to the feel, felt, and found words to help you be a little more creative.
Feel = Empathy (put yourself in your prospect’s place)
“I respect what you’re saying…”
“I appreciate your concern…”
“Thank you for letting me know that…”
Felt = Relate (get them to understand that their concerns are not unique)
“Many people I speak with share the same concerns…”
“It’s not uncommon today…”
Found = Offer Solutions (give your prospect objective answers)
“Until they discovered…”
“Until they had an opportunity to…”
Try not to sound canned when using this technique. You must be sincere so the method comes across naturally. Again, you do not necessarily have to use the words feel, felt, found. Instead, be more creative in your statements by using variations. To put this into a better perspective:
“I appreciate your concerns about the cost factors, and it’s not uncommon in today’s market. It’s unfortunate that, for a company such as yours that desires to upgrade, what usually is standing in the way is the financial affordability. Once a company has an opportunity to evaluate and compare our competitiveness in the marketplace, and compare our guarantee and pricing structure, they see that we are able to reduce (pause) their bottom line by 30 percent. If you could accomplish this same savings, how important would that be to you and your company?”
5) Ask the Prospect for the Best Solution: This is helpful when you have done everything possible to overcome your prospect’s objection. Don’t use this in the first two rounds. However, you have nothing to lose when you use this as your final resort. This method is known as the bottom-line objection technique. When you really want prospects to see your position, this helps put them in the position of selling themselves.
“What would you suggest?”
“What can I do that will help you see the benefits?”
“What would you recommend?”
“What would be of interest to you?”
“What can I do to validate this further?”
“What would it take to earn the right to do business with you today?”
6) If I Could…, Would You…? This method is popular with many salespeople. It can be extremely effective when used with the proper verbiage so it sounds more original:
“I appreciate what you’re saying. If I could show you how we can (describe), would you agree that this would be valuable information?” [or] “…Would you allow us the opportunity to service your needs?”
Note that these are closed-ended trial-closing questions. You can also use an open-ended approach, such as, “How valuable is this information?”
Use the six objection-handling methods as your model when entering into Step Ten. Choose the method that is best suited for the type of objection you receive. By first interpreting the objection, you will be able to select the most appropriate means of handling it. Remember: Always outweigh the objection with benefits, then get a reaction—“How valuable would this be for you?” —and finally close.
In the next issue, we will conclude the discussion of objection handling methods.
Kathy Sisk is founder and president of Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc., located in California. Kathy is a trainer and consultant, contributing thirty-five years of her expertise to the telemarketing, sales, and customer service industries.
[From Connection Magazine – March 2013]