Objections are often the major reason that customers hesitate before they buy or don’t buy at all. They are always an obstacle to a final sale unless you know the correct way to respond to each of them. But before uttering a standard response to an objection, it makes sense to take a step back and determine exactly why the objection was raised.
I’ve learned that there are basically four main reasons that our customers throw obstacles in our path (known as objections):
- Personal experience. They’ve had experience with your product (or something similar) and this has formed their frame of reference. This is the most challenging objection to deal with because it can’t be denied, disputed, or rationalized away.
- Misperceptions about your offering, which can originate from a number of places. In many instances where these misperceptions came from is as important as the misperception itself. For instance, is it your competitor that is explaining these distortions or someone equally ill informed?
- Sometimes customers object because they have an emotional connection with another vendor. The issue that they raise in this case is not one that they are passionate about but it’s easier to raise the objection than admit the importance of the relationship.
- Some customers feel it is their duty to raise an objection so they do so. They never want to be totally agreeable because the buying process in and of itself is change and change is often unsettling. In this case, the customers are just doing what they feel is expected.
Whenever an objection arises, the very first thing that needs to be done is to understand the complete thought behind the objection. To do this, step back and try to gather more information before responding. Try to get the customer to expand on their thoughts by using verbiage such as:
“Tell me a little more about this if you don’t mind.”
“Can you share with me specifically how you came to that conclusion?”
“You have me at a competitive disadvantage… say more about the issue you just raised.”
Once you develop a better understanding of the reason for the objection, you can reply using the Acknowledge, Respond, and Confirm approach. Begin by acknowledging what you heard your customer say. Then reframe the issue and respond to the issue/concern so that the customer “sees” things in a different light. Then confirm that the issue has been sufficiently addressed by asking a question.
Odds are that you know what most of the objections are before your customer vocalizes them. Practice how to respond to them by employing the idea of understanding where the objection came from before using the Acknowledge, Respond, and Confirm approach. By handling objections well, you’ll gain a better understanding of your customer and you’ll move closer to that buying decision.
If you want to learn more about how to handle objections, click here to learn about this lesson and others that are part of the Delta Points of Sales Excellence lessons.