Google objection handling and you’re likely to find someone teaching, “Always agree with the prospect.” Is that really true? Is the prospect always right? Is that even possible?
We all know that no one is ever “always” right.
Factor in the fact that most objections are based on a myth or misunderstanding of some kind and it doesn’t take long to realize how manipulative, sleazy and disingenuous this manipulative this advice really is. In essence you are being told to lie for the sake of the sale. Isn’t this one of the reasons most people hate sales people?
Now even if this old school, Boiler Room movie “sales advice” lands the deal, is this really how you want you or your company to sell to your future clients?
Today’s consumer is far too wise to these methods and quite frankly, deserve more from all of us. Not to mention, this is a perfect trap prospects can land you in to test your value and integrity. To survive, much less thrive in today’s competitive sales landscape, sales professionals must learn to present themselves and their skills as the expert. One who is genuinely looking out for their best interests?
In fact, in recent customer experience survey, 40% of prospects would prefer someone tell them the truth with the goal of improving their thinking, decision making and desired outcomes. They are not looking for a “yes man or woman,” telling them what they want to hear.
Instead, they want expert advice from someone who is on their side even if that means challenging their current thinking from time to time.
The second problem with this advice, as if lying wasn’t enough, is that it puts you in a reactive state to their objections, which lowers your positioning and puts you on the defensive.
Instead, let’s put you on the offense!
Knowing objections are coming, here’s a novel concept, why not pre-empt them well in advance throughout the sales conversation BEFORE you ever get to your “Prescription,” i.e. your offer or recommendation? It’s only the novice that sits there like deer in headlights, often acting surprised, when a qualified prospect presents an objection.
However, the Pro knows they are coming and therefore are prepared and ready to handle anything that comes their way. I can already hear some of you saying but why bring up an objection if the prospect hasn’t?
My answer is simple, use their stated and unstated objections to qualify them. Doing so allows you enter the conversation already occurring in their mind and demonstrates your professionalism throughout the sales conversation; more on that in a moment.
Remember, most objections are based on a myth or misunderstanding of some kind as I mentioned earlier.
They fall into three basic categories:
1. Objections about You personally (although they won’t say that)
2. Objections about Your industry
3. Objections about Your product
Here’s how you use this information to overcome objections and an exercise I work with when training sales teams.
1. Make a list of all the most common objections your team is facing (amazing how many entrepreneurs, sales professionals and companies don’t even have this step down). You’ll notice they’ll fit into one of the above three categories.
2. Next, ask yourself one simple question for each objection, “why is the prospect wrong (without telling them they are wrong) in their belief or understanding about you, your industry or your product?”
3. Finally, what evidence or social proof do you have from previous customers who had similar objections but now have become some of your best clients?
[For a complete breakdown and training on objection handling and everything sales, check out our online community at Ultimate Sales University.]
So let’s put this use.
One of the industries I have a great deal of experience in is the Financial/Banking/Credit Union space. All too often these well intended professionals inadvertently lower their positioning in the customer’s mind by simply acting as an order taker to whatever the customer is requesting. Whether it’s an auto loan, home loan or any other product or service.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say “Bob” works for a Credit Union.
Customer walks in and want’s an auto loan.
“Bob” greet them like any other greeting, one they could get at any other bank. “Bob” then proceeds to complete their application in preparation for review with the underwriter.
“Bob” now tells them their application is complete and states “he will let them know” in a few days or so with an answer.
Now there are many things I could comment on but for the sake of this post, let’s get back to objection handling.
The customer returns and hears the good news of their approval and is now excited they’ve been approved for the car they’ve always wanted.
Now before everything is complete,“Bob” must ask the customer if they would like to consider debt protection, gap protection or an extended warranty as an examples.
Let’s choose debt protection. In case you don’t know, this valuable product protects the borrower in the case of an unforeseen death allowing the vehicle to be passed onto a spouse with no encumbrance of debt. Yes, the entire debt is wiped away and it’s done so with minimal impact on their monthly payment.
A common objection for this product is, “my life insurance will cover this?” What most do is move on to the next line item without a second thought. An opportunity lost. Anyway, though their life insurance may cover the debt, why not preempt all of this in advance, even before the approval is place?
Here’s how to do it.
While taking their information, “Bob” discovers they are married with two small children. She has the real work, being a stay at home mom, while he is the breadwinner. In addition, he also has life insurance.
Immediately, if you are “Bob”, you should see a tremendous opportunity to offer this family debt protection.
“Mr. Member, I understand you have life insurance for your family. May I ask what your goal with this policy is in protecting your family?”
Why do I ask this? I want to get a sense of what they value. I also want to see if I can get them to say that they want these funds to protect their family if god forbid the unforeseen happens prematurely. Many times this will open the door right up to present the opportunity of Debt Protection…
“Mr. Member, I understand how important protecting your family is and that you want 100% of your Life Insurance to go towards protecting your family….no one ever wants to think about the unforeseen but we feel its important here at ____________________ so that all our members are both informed and protected….”
“Have you thought about what would happen to the debt of this brand new Mercedes and it’s impact on your family should the unforeseen ever happen?
Notice what I’m doing?
I’m guiding the prospect with specific targeted questions customized around their potential needs.
In addition, these questions are designed to help the prospects understand the value of debt protection while helping them to come to their own conclusion.
This activates one of the most powerful laws in selling, the Law of Congruence. It’s nearly impossible for the prospect to argue with their own conclusion. They can argue with you all day long, but when they own it, they have nothing to stand on.
Now because you’ve completed the exercise above you already know the Life Insurance objection is coming and that’s exactly what the member say’s next.
“Yup…that’s exactly why I purchased Life Insurance!” As they say with pride in their voice.
However, because you took some time to take a detailed history and needs analysis about your member, he’s already told you that he has this life insurance earmarked for his family’s protection.
Placing the debt of this let’s say a $70,000 car against it will keep money out of his wife’s pocket; money that could pay for college, scratch that, maybe a year’s worth of college.
Anyway, you know he doesn’t want that. How? Because he said so earlier allowing you to now leverage what he has already agreed to and quite frankly wants.
“Mr. Member, I understand your position and many of our members have thought the same thing until they learned about the tremendous value we offer in debt protection for pennies on the dollar. Let me explain it to you this way…
Earlier this year we had a member buy a brand new BMW for $73,500. Because he took the time to understand and purchase the true value of debt protection, his wife was fully covered 100% when he unfortunately passed away just a month later. We couldn’t believe it and his wife was understandably devastated. That being said, when she finally had the strength to come in, she couldn’t express her gratitude enough that her husband had purchased debt protection. This allowed her to collect 100% of the life insurance benefits while receiving the BMW at no further cost to her saving her over $70,000.”
Do you see how I completely reframed the objection using the exercise above?
1. I knew the life insurance objection was coming
2. I answered why the prospect was “wrong” without telling them they are wrong
3. I was clear on what the prospect should understand
4. Used social proof or “story selling” to reinforce the point with a message he could connect to and a situation he could see his family in.
Now you might be saying, was the prospect really “wrong” in this scenario? Well….of course not. It’s his money and therefore his choice.
My goal as “Bob” in this situation is to ensure that the member has a complete understanding of the situation so they can make the best decision for their entire family.
If after sharing this story, they still say no, I’m good with that knowing I informed them of everything I could.
As a fellow sales professional, I cannot personally stand it when a prospect begins to make decisions without all the information available to them.
In fact, I’ll often say…”I can appreciate your willingness to make quick decisions but if I may, it’s my job to ensure all our _____________ are given all the pieces of the puzzle by laying them all out across the table.
As of right now, we have yet to do so and my concern is that a decision is being made without seeing the entire picture. May I suggest this, let’s lay out all of the pieces together and if after doing so your answer is still no, I can live with that knowing that I did my job in helping you make the best decision possible for you…it will only take minute, does that work for you?
Now there is lot at play here in this response from metaphors, open loops to embedded commands (more on these powerful forces in a later blog).
Here’s the key takeaway. Your sales success comes down to preparation and practice. There is no one way, one word, one word or phrase that overcomes every objection every time. Every scenario is different based on a variety of factors including skills, rapport, demeanor and trust built with the client just to name a few.
Regardless of whether or not this works every time, it’s certainly better than waiting till the end of the loan approval with a line item question,
“do you want debt protection?”
Go through the exercise above yourself or with your sales team and then role-play the heck out of them. You too will begin to make this natural approach second nature with your clients.
The result, making your sales conversations well, conversational without feeling like you need a shower afterwards.
Feel free to post your comments and questions below.
Continued Sales Success
DrAndreas ~ The Ironman Of Sales
Combining the discipline of an Ironman Triathlete with the care, precision and beside manner of a physician for a unique sales experience your clients will value!
Looking for world class sales training for you and your team with guaranteed results, i.e. sales? Click here and let’s discuss how your team can sell more without resorting to outdated techniques that don’t work, insult your prospects and only increase objections.
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