“My favorite word in the English vocabulary is ‘No,’ ” my wildly successful, jewelry salesman father once told me when talking about his customers. Curiously I said, “Why no? I would think that would be your least favorite word.” Confidently, he responded in his deep, Brooklyn accent, “It’s simple, Lissa. It’s my challenge to uncover what’s missing, and educate them, so they get what they need. They don’t know what they don’t know.” He was a smart man, but the words that resonated in my head were, ‟It’s simple”. Just educate your customer on the value of your product or service, and you’ll be on the way to a sale. Unfortunately, to others, “no” engenders a pit in your stomach that stings and discourages. It means they have been personally rejected.
In my over 25 years of experience in sales, I’ve learned that it’s never personal, but it can feel that way. However, if you take a breath, shift your perspective and take emphasis off the emotional response, you will realize your goal is to help by educating your customer on what they don’t know. Asking questions and tailoring the information to their specific needs, will create the trust that’s essential to not just making the sale, but to building a long term customer. Most clients have their own set of burdens, issues and concerns they need to resolve when they walk through the door. If we are empathetic, instead of defensive, we can save the day by responding to objections using a new approach.
Signature Worldwide has developed a Client Centered Sales program for our customers that created a process and technique that helps ease the way when responding to objections. These tools shift your role from salesman to trusted advisor and consultant. No one wants to be sold to. We are relating human to human, and in today’s society with technology and information in our back pockets, it’s not as easy to be the source of what our clients need. Therefore, we have to be on our game with tools that help us guide, educate, and separate us from the competition. We need to become educators that care.
Below is an easy 4 step process to Responding to Objections that can help you to do what’s essential, which is keep the conversation going and relieve them of their concerns. These steps will give you the openings to more information, shows you care and demonstrate that you are able to not only fulfill their needs, but they have the right person who is there to exceed their expectations.
- Listen to their concerns without interrupting – Most people will open their minds if they are heard.
- Empathize with feelings/concerns – After hearing them out, you can say, I understand…or I realize that this is important to you.
- Isolate the objection with a question (i.e. when closing) – Is the _________the only thing getting in the way of us moving forward?
- Respond and Verify – Address the objection, and reflect it back (telling them what they told you), because if they bring it up, the issue is important to them. Parking lot the objection to answer later in the conversation. This prevents conversation from getting off track.
While the process is very important in order to address the concern(s), the following technique is a practical guideline that is helpful when responding to objections. According to Signature’s many clients, it works like a charm if you use the example below.
Create a Similar Situation – Compare client’s concerns with another client that has the same concern and was happy with the outcome.
Example: I understand how you FEEL. The Widget Group FELT the same way, and they FOUND that what we proposed was an excellent solution to their concern, and I’m certain you will FIND the same result.
A few points to consider when using this technique:
- Use feel/felt/find/found language
- Comparison should be made with a similar business
- Reference a client that is not a direct competitor
When referencing another client’s success with your company, it’s human nature for your current client to want what they had. Similar to when we go to a restaurant for the first time, we naturally ask, “What’s a popular dish here?” and that is usually what prompts us to buy. When you practice this, it will become more natural, and proves to be very effective when responding to objections.
One important note is to make sure that you ask a verification question, so they agree with your response or resolution to a concern. For example: Does that make sense to you? Does that work for you? It’s also a confirmation on their part that what you have to say is possibly something they’ll be interested in.
In addition, educating yourself as much as you can about your product and company benefits, along with a true passion for what you do, will make it easy for you to respond to objections. Remember, the key word is to respond, and not react to their objections. Responding is a softer approach, and your tone is more reflective instead of defensive. Your customers will feel the difference.
The pressure of not knowing what to say or what to ask when responding to objections can be daunting, so it’s crucial to be prepared. Using these tools, and many others we offer our clients, has assisted them in responding to objections, resulting in more sales, stronger relationships, and bottom line results.
So the next time you hear the word “no” from your customer, let the light bulb go off, and remember my father’s words, “It’s simple.” When a customer says “no”, all it means is they need more information.