Dealing with Objections Part 2
Often times when selling, we encounter other objections than price objections or the customer wanting time to think about the purchase. What do you do if you get a downright “No” when you close the sale? Or what if the customer is reluctant to change the status quo? Maybe your competition is a larger better equipped shop and your prospect has objections to your capabilities or lead times. What are the best ways to handle these types of objections?
An outright “no” objection does not happen often, but when it does occur, it is important to know how to handle this type of objection. One of the most important aspects of this type of rejection, is to find out the underlying objection that is sparking the outright no objection. As we discussed in the last blog, Often times the objection we hear is not the true objection. When you here an outright no, there is more than likely an underlying objection that is making your prospect respond to your closing statement in such a negative way.
To properly handle the outright no, it is imperative that you did a thorough job in the interview, and presentation stages of the sales cycle prior to going into your close. Providing that this is the case, you want to pick out a non threatening aspect of your presentation and create an objection of your own toward that aspect of your presentation. To clarify this, let’s use the example of selling kitchen cabinets. You went through all the aspects of the sales cycle, and when you get to the closing stage, and ask for the business, the prospect gives you an outright “NO”.
At this point, you will most likely be surprised or possibly offended of the objection as it can sometimes be delivered in a rather rude way. Showing your surprise is part of your proper response. Then pick out a non threatening aspect of your presentation, let’s say the 120 degree European cup hinges that you were including. Then say, “Mr. Prospect, I obviously went wrong somewhere in my presentation, I am guessing I spent too much emphasis on the use of European cup hinges. Is this where I went wrong in my presentation?”
By doing this, you have placed the prospect in a position to respond as to why they are saying no and most likely the true objection will be brought to the surface. Most likely the objection has nothing to do with hinges and they will say something like:”No ,no it is not the hinges, it is the financing. I was expecting a home equity loan to pay for my new kitchen and just received word from the bank, that they are not loaning me as much as I originally applied for.” Now you have the REAL objection. It is up to you what you do to turn the objection into a positive and close the sale.
Let’s say you are presenting to a residential home builder and they give you the outright no. You pull out your nonthreatening aspect of your presentation, and the contractor says:”No, it’s not the hinges, It is Bill my Project Manager. He is set on using XYZ Cabinet company because we have been using them for years and he is reluctant to change.” Here you are dealing with the status quo. I highly recommend that you do not say a single bad word concerning your competition. It is simply bad business and also your prospect is expecting you to bad mouth your competition and it makes you look worse by spreading slander. The best approach to dealing with this type of objection is to show respect for your competition. Say something like:”I can sure appreciate your loyalty to XYZ Cabinets and I know they are a great company to work with. In fact I would love to have the opportunity to gain the same kind of trust and loyalty that you have in working with them. If we could schedule another appointment where Bill can be here as well, I am sure he will agree that with our capabilities, he will find me to be a great source as an additional supplier.”
Now most sales people out there will say that you have lost the sale at this point and why would you ever say anything nice about a competitor. Let me explain. First, you haven’t lost the sale. You have gained the respect of the prospect because he is expecting you to say something derogatory about your competition. If you do say something against your competitor, you can rest assured it will fall on deaf ears. By complimenting the competitor you are telling your prospect he is making sound business decisions. When you back stab the status quo, you are telling them they are making bad decisions and polarizing your relationship.
Secondly, It leaves you open to get at least some of the business from your prospect and to be the number two choice isn’t always a bad thing. Nothing will last forever. Sooner or later, the number one vendor your prospect is using will drop the ball, or a key employee of the company will change, retire or something that changes the status quo. Remember in the first blog of this series, it was discussed that you are not only selling your product but selling yourself as well. This applies to your competition as well. Often times your prospects point of contact with the competing company leaves, and the prospect is open for trying a new supplier. Wouldn’t you be in a better position to be their number one contact by starting out as the number two contact rather than hoping they remember you and kept your phone number for when that time comes?
These objections I have covered deal with objections during the close. However; if you interview and present properly, most of your objections will come up in earlier stages rather than during the close. After all, you do not want objections at your close. It is better to have the objections surfaced before the close in order to make your closing stage easy and full proof.
Many books out there will say to always ask “YES” questions. I cannot disagree further, and oftentimes ask questions to spark an objection during the interview and presentation stages so that they can be brought to the surface and dealt with prior to the close.
When you are able to bring objections to the surface during the interview and closing stage, you are in a better position to turn the negative objection into a positive strength. In selling caskets, most of my prospects are used to dealing with large corporations that have the ability of mass production and a national distribution system. Fact of the matter is I simply do not have the production space let alone the capitol to compete with this. So instead, I use my weakness as strength. By not having a large assembly line and being more of a custom shop, I can offer a better degree of customization than my competition.
Usually the conversation goes something like this:
Prospect: “When we order from our current vendor, I can place an order today and it will be delivered tomorrow.”
My reply is:”Mr. Prospect, I know I cannot always offer next day delivery, however, I do keep a certain number casket models in stock, and if your order is a model that is currently in stock, I can have it delivered the same day. Furthermore, I keep a vast inventory of pre manufactured parts and molding and if your particular model is not in stock, it can be fabricated and delivered in 96 hours to be used in your scheduled funeral. Also, the main benefit of me being a small operation is I can offer customization of your casket and it will not cost you any more than the base model casket .” “Let me ask you this Mr. Prospect, If you were to order a customized casket from your current supplier and specified the wood species, trim, color, and lining material, would your current vendor have it delivered to you within 96 hours?
Prospect: “Well no, actually it takes about three weeks for manufacturing and then up to a week in shipping.
ME: “Mr. Prospect, if you were to order an over sized model, does your current vendor charge more for the casket?”
Prospect: “Yes, they charge about 15% more. I have been told that it is because they have to change the set up to their assembly line.”
ME: “Mr. Prospect, an added benefit of using my casket, I don’t have a large assembly line that has to be changed over. To make an over sized casket is nothing more than setting my saw to cut a few pieces of the casket wider and the material involved is nominal. There are no additional costs to you bringing you larger margins and a better bottom line.”
Prior to making your presentation, look at your product and service from your prospects point of view. Be your own devils advocate. Try to think of every objection you can think of that your prospect will likely or possibly bring to the surface. Then take each objection and rehearse questions to ask that will lead to the TRUE objection and have rehearsed responses that can turn the objection into a positive. Of course you will have objections that cannot always be turned to a positive, but if you can neutralize the objection you will be on your way to closing more sales.
-- Michael Mills, North Carolina, http://www.scicaskets.com