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A Natural Part of the Selling Process

Objections are a natural part of the selling process. They are simply the manner in which prospects communicate their status in the buying process. They come in forms of challenges, opportunities, problems, requests for more information, cries for help to better understand, stalls and value shortcomings.

Sometimes one objection will masquerade as another to conceal the true objection.

Your job is to determine the true objection and nature or root thereof. An objection is simply a person’s way of requesting additional information before making a new and more informed decision.

People WILL NOT change their mind, but they will make new decisions based on new information you provide--and do so in your favor if you properly determine what new information they require to make a favorable decision.

If there are no objections, it could mean that the prospect is apathetic. But when there are objections, the key to overcoming them is to turn the negatives to positives.

To effectively deal with objections, learn with what type of buyer you are dealing. Create customer-specific variants of three basic ways to handle common objections:

• Learn as much about the customer as possible.

• Never let an objection take you by surprise.

• Never deal with an objection at an emotional level.

It's not enough to know about the industry and the particular client with which you are dealing in order to handle objections effectively. You also have to discern the best way to approach the individual decision-maker based on the way that person approaches information. Knowledge of the industry and the particular person will tell you whether an objection, especially about price, is a real condition or simply a mask for another underlying problem.

For example, a person may not really have the cash to make an outright purchase. Armed with this knowledge, you can suggest lower-cash alternatives or financing, for example - when appropriate.

Once you know the real reason behind the stated objection, you need to look at the buyers themselves. The type of person dictates your response.

There are three basic types of decision-makers:

• The relationship buyer, who wants to get to know you.

• The driver, who wants to be in control. Price objections are often this person's most common concern

• The analytical buyer, who wants a lot of data.

If you do your homework, an objection should never take you by surprise. In addition, you should never engage at an emotional level or take anything personally. Even if the customer bases his objections on factual error, your first response should be to validate the customer's feelings.

Objections help you understand your customers. There is no "one answer fits all" for objections. When you turn your knowledge into customer-specific responses, you move the sales process toward a successful closing.

The problem for most salespeople is that they wait to deal with objections after the presentation and conveyance of price. In reality, this is a cop-out for a weak selling system.

Objections become built-in excuses for not closing a particular piece of business. This way, the salespeople are not accountable for their sales performance, or lack thereof. The prospect becomes the scapegoat, and their objections are the reasons given.

Also, never answer unasked questions or respond to or defend against a statement a prospect makes. Use a nurturing statement, followed by a softening statement, and then a reversing question to gain clarity; understand the reason for the statement, and learn the true meaning behind what was stated. This technique is also a great way to find out why the customer asks any question, especially of an obscure or “left field” nature.

The title of this section is apt because that’s what glib clichés, catchy one-liners and creative closes are all about. A poor salesperson with a weak selling system makes a presentation, gets hit with an objection, and out come more punch lines than even Rodney Dangerfield could offer in an attempt to convince the prospect that the company and the product are right for the customer.

When weak salespeople don’t deal with objections upfront before the presentation step and hold themselves and their prospect accountable to setting the ground rules for laying all the cards on the table so that a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision can be reached after the presentation, they have decided to make the sales process a game of “cat and mouse” once the price and value proposition have been presented.

A better way is to handle ALL objections upfront before a presentation to gain agreement as to how the process should flow from that point through the presentation. You should even agree as to how and when a decision will be made because you can then coordinate the presentation to meet the decision timeframe.

What follows are some discussions on how to handle objections before they put a roadblock in the selling process, and some ways to deal with objections should they sneak up on you after the fact.

Remember, objections are only requests of some form and issues with which you must handle, just like a car salesperson must deal with the issue of car color or options. No more. No less. Don’t be afraid.

Besides, they are not your objections to handle, deal with or overcome. The objection resides in your prospect’s head. Your job is to find out what information will satisfy their concerns through questioning, listening and being appropriately responsive.

Most salespeople are reactive to objections, which is what creates conflict. Overcoming objections is like fighting with prospects and being coercive while trying to get them to yield to duress and manipulation.

Again, the better way is to be proactive and deal with objections before they arise so that the presentation is a discovery process for you and your prospect. You, discovering if it’s a sale you want and a prospect you can and want to help, and the prospect, discovering if you, your company and your solutions are right for them. Yes, one of you may discover that the other is not the right choice, but that, my friends, is the beauty of capitalism.

Should objections still arise after the fact, be receptive and responsive after understanding where they are coming from and why.

Drew Cameron is president of HVAC Sellutions, the residential contracting industry’s premier marketing and sales support organization that works with contractors to implement effective, lead-generating marketing and build multimillion-dollar, profit-generating sales forces. For more information, contactDrew at [email protected], phone 888-621-7888 or visit http://www.hvacsellutions.com/.

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