Objections are not deal killers. Sometimes, they are deal enablers, helping the salesperson to understand the buyer’s real needs and requirements.

Zig Ziglar was the best-known sales trainer in the world. The man from Yazoo City, Mississippi learned to sell the hard way, selling cookware. The process involved cold calling, door-to-door, in residential neighborhoods during the day, setting up appointments to come back one evening and cook supper for the family and a few friends.

Meal preparation was a demonstration of the pots and pans; the meal itself was the payoff for the prospect. When everyone had enjoyed the most delicious, nutritious meal ever – and it was free! – Zig would attempt to close the sale of the cookware to the host family and to their guests.

He was not an overnight success. He became frustrated and depressed because of his lack of success until an older, more experienced salesman taught him a selling system. Over time, Zig improved it, then perfected it and it made him wealthy and famous in his industry. Then he started teaching others to sell. For years he traveled the world from his home in Dallas, teaching and inspiring salespeople.

One of the things I learned from him is that whenever two people get together for a sales discussion, someone’s going to sell something. Either the salesperson will sell his product to the prospect or the prospect will sell the salesperson on why he can’t or won’t buy what the salesperson is selling.

An essential part of learning to sell is learning to deal with objections. New salespeople, especially, tend to see an objection as the end of the selling process, rather than as a step in it. If the prospect gives an objection, many salespeople will give in or give up on the sale.

How can you help your salesperson deal with the inevitable objections?

Step 1:

Identify the most common objections. In a sales meeting, work with your rep to write down the five or six objections most frequently raised by prospects. Generally, they fall into the categories of: no want, no need, no interest, no money and no hurry. Specifically, here are the ones we hear most often.

  1. We’re satisfied with our current provider.
  2. Your prices are too high.
  3. You can’t handle our special needs.
  4. We do everything in-house.
  5. We order everything from headquarters.
  6. We don’t need anything now.

Step 2:

Write out three responses for each objection. Be careful to word them so they don’t come off as hostile or indifferent. There is a reason why prospects give a specific objection, and it is important to them, so treat it that way.

One of the oldest and best ways to respond to an objection is with the three-step formula: feelfeltfound. It may be used with several of the usual objections.

Suppose a prospect says, “Your prices are too high.” Using feel-felt-found, you might respond this way: “I understand how you feel. Several of my best customers felt the same way before they started working with us. What they’ve found is that the service we provide, and the convenience of working with a full-service company, more than justify the few dollars higher we might be on a specific project.”

You’ll think of additional ways to counter objections. Write them out. Most importantly, think of an objection as a request for more information, and give it. The selling process isn’t over just because someone raises an objection.

Step 3:

Memorize the three responses to each objection. Review them regularly so that you or your salesperson will not be caught searching for words when you hear the objection. You’ll have a well thought out, reasoned response.

Step 4:

Keep current with new products and services. You’ll get new objections when you bring up some a new offering. As you hear those objections, write them down, write out three responses, memorize and review them frequently. Be prepared!

Objections are not deal killers and, sometimes, they are deal enablers, helping the salesperson to understand the buyer’s real needs and requirements. Knowing specific needs enables the salesperson to customize the product or service so it becomes the logical choice.

As you train new salespeople and work with experienced reps to help them become more successful, remember to train on responding to objections.

About the author

Mark Johns

Mark Johns writes and speaks on two of the most critical skills in business:…

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