- Show empathy for the prospect
- Ask open-ended questions
- Counter the objection
- Check the prospect’s reaction
That he or she loves your competitor may be bad news, but the good news is that they’ve opened up the conversation. Now your rep just has to pull the strings of the dialogue in the right direction.
Here’s what they can say: “That’s great that things are going well for you with ABC Solutions. I’m just curious — what is it that you like about working with them?” It shows empathy and furthers the conversation with an open-ended question.
The answer will tell the rep how high the bar is set. Your company has to offer more value than ABC Solutions to gain the business. After all, it takes work to switch vendors. There has to be a good reason to go to all that trouble.
To counter the objection, your rep needs to be well prepared with what differentiates your solution and why that distinction is important to customers. Once the rep has relayed those unique benefits, they should determine how much they’ve moved the needle. They might say: “Do you think working with an integrated solution like the one we offer could help you to save time and resolve problems more rapidly?” The answer gives insight into the prospect’s reaction and may open up more dialogue.
Prepare Answers to Objections
Perhaps the most challenging part of the above framework is step three, “counter the objection.” When it comes to this critical stage in the conversation, you don’t want your reps to be tongue tied.
It’s likely, however, that your company receives the same or similar objections over and over. So there’s no reason any rep should have to come up with answers to them on the spur of the moment. Keep a list of common objections along with appropriate responses. Make sure your reps study and internalize those comebacks. Also, listen to calls to see where reps trip up and coach them until they are fluent and confident. Finally, ask sales people to note any new objections they hear to ensure your list is comprehensive.
Here are some common objections they should be ready to handle:
- Send Me Some Information
Why do prospects ask for information rather than staying on the phone with your reps? Often it’s because they feel like they will derive no value from the call, so they’re wasting their time and want to end it as quickly as possible.
That means your reps need to answer the prospect’s question “What’s in it for me?” as rapidly and powerfully as possible. They must focus on the benefits of your offering — what it can help your prospect to achieve and how it will make their life easier.
Your rep’s response to this request depends on at what point in the call the prospect introduces it. Let’s say your sales person has just made contact and has not had a chance to answer the burning question, “What’s in it for me?” Instead of going with the flow and promising to send sales materials or other information, your rep could say, “I’d like to take a moment to let you know how we could help you and then I’ll know what to send to you.” If they’re deeper into the conversation and have qualified the prospect, they can be even more assertive, saying “Based on what we’ve discussed, you’d likely be better off seeing a demo. Would you like to schedule one?”
- I Don’t Have Time
Many people want to procrastinate — they don’t have a minute to think about one more thing. While they might want to schedule a call next quarter, your rep doesn’t want to wait that long. The best way to take the pressure off is to let them know it won’t be a sales call. The objective is just to find out if your company can help them. You might say, “Can I set up a ten-minute call next week to show you how we can help save you time and prevent system slowdowns? If after the call, you think it’s worth pursuing, I’ll check in with you next quarter. If not, we can both move on.”
- I Need the CIO’s Approval
The need for someone higher up the chain of command to approve a purchase is a common problem. This objection, however, should not come up after you’ve spent months working with a prospect. By finding out early in the process who will be involved in the buying process, you should be able to avoid last-minute surprises. Once you know who the decision-makers are, you can engage with them all throughout the sales cycle.
- Your Services Cost too Much
Your reps will feel more confident dealing with price objections once they learn to turn them around into discussions about the value your service provides. They should also emphasize why clients will not be able achieve the same results with any other vendor. While brand name may influence how much you can charge, what’s far more important to the prospect is answering the question, “What’s in it for me?’ If your reps can do that well, you’ll be able to command the prices your company deserves.
- I’m Okay Right Now
Because change takes effort, there’s a tendency to become complacent and avoid it. When the main barrier to a sale is prospect complacency or inertia, your reps need to make the status quo uncomfortable. They can do so by creating fear of what could happen if the prospect fails to take action or providing a vision of the opportunities ahead if they make a change. Reps can, for example, share case studies that show how customers have increased their revenues or reduced their total cost of ownership by using your solution.
These are just a few examples of responses to objections. The key is to come up with your own. Each of your reps may have different approaches, so find out which ones work best and share them with your whole team. Then have your reps use the responses within the four-step framework for diffusing objections, and you’ll be well on your way to sales success.
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