The sales meeting is going well and then the curve ball, better known as an objection, is thrown out by the prospect. Objections range from timing, we are satisfied with our current vendor or we’re not sure we need to change.
When salespeople hear an objection, one of two selling behaviors usually occurs. The first behavior is to overcome the objection. Unfortunately, too many salespeople have been taught to overcome the objection---at least three times. Now, that’s an annoying sales call. Prospects learn to avoid bringing up potential concerns. As a result, the salesperson can’t get a second meeting because the spoken or unspoken objection has not been discussed.
The second selling behavior that occurs is panic. Emotions take over the meeting and salespeople move into defend and justify mode. The salesperson is now in that uncomfortable position of convincing rather than influencing.
The best way to handle objections is to bring them up. Every salesperson knows the objections he or she is going to hear from a prospect. So why wait for your prospect to bring up the objection? Bring up the objection and put yourself in the offensive position, not defensive position.
Bringing up potential objections requires the emotional intelligence skill of empathy. Successful salespeople step into their prospect’s shoes and see the world from their perspective. For example, if a prospect was recently “burned” by the existing vendor, she might be worried about:
- Can your company really deliver?
- What is your level of service after the sale?
- Is it going to be worth the hassle of switching?
A great way to demonstrate empathy and proactive objection handling is to say something like, “Joyce, I know you shared your existing vendor is falling short on delivery. If I were sitting in your seat, I would be concerned on whether or not my firm is going to have some of the same issues. Should we discuss that further?” Or, “Joyce, if I were you, I would be concerned about the hassle factor of moving the business. Should we discuss that?”
Be real world and authentic. Bring up objections. Put yourself in a proactive position rather than a defensive position. Your prospect really doesn’t want you to overcome the objection seven times.