The first lesson in handling objections is the fewer objections you need to handle, the better. Objections can arise from many sources, but actual field observations by sales researchers have revealed that many objections are actually generated, inadvertently, by the seller’s own behavior! Objections of this type most often occur because the seller:
Proposes a solution before identifying and fully developing the prospect’s needs, or
Describes the product in terms of FEATURES and POTENTIAL BENEFITS instead of PROVEN BENEFITS, or
Takes cheap shots at the competition.
Each of these points deserves elaboration…
Many objections can be prevented simply by determining the client's needs up front, by asking GAP questions and then developing the client's Goals, Aspirations, and Problems with Consequences and Value Questions. If you attempt to sell before developing the need, there is an excellent chance that you will offer something in which the client has little or no interest. This generates resistance and objections.
A selling style that focuses on features of the product tends to raise price concerns. This is because most people realize that special features often involve extra cost. Potential Benefits often produce objections since, by definition, the client may not be interested in them. The best selling approach is to stress PROVEN BENEFITS, that is, benefits that help solve PRESSING NEEDS the client has expressed.
Attempting to persuade by attacking your competition is another good way to generate objections. This is especially true if the buyer happens to think well of your competitor. Such an attack may encourage the buyer to defend your competitor or to raise objections to your proposal—definitely not something you want to encourage!
It is perfectly appropriate to work aggressively to beat the competition by demonstrating how your product or service is superior. We are simply suggesting you avoid cheap competitive shots, such as these: “I hear a lot of complaints from companies that have used (competitor's) services,” or “Do you really think (competitor) can deliver by your deadline?”
Other Parts in this Quick Guide to Consultative Sales Calls Series:
- Notes on Persuasion
- Questions Don’t Just Ask—They Can Also Tell!
- Opening the Call Q & A
- Probing for Needs Q & A
- Sellers on Features and Benefits Q & A
- How to Prevent Objections
- Answering Different Types of Objections
- How to Handle Objections
- The Psychology of Closing Q & A