Overcoming Objections: Why They Do Not Buy NOW

22
Jul

Why Doesn’t a Qualified Prospect Buy Now?

It is not uncommon for a thoroughly qualified prospect to stall on making a buying decision after he has heard a perfectly delivered feature, advantage and benefit presentation on a correctly priced product/service that is exactly what he wants/needs.  Read on and find out why?

Often after a prospect has heard a presentation and has been asked to buy, he puts up some resistance to buying at that time.  Very often what he says has a tendency to cause the salesperson to lose momentum and ultimately bring the sales process to a halt.  I believe the following information can have a dramatic effect on a salesperson’s performance, if he takes the time to understand it, practice the “word tracks” and execute the techniques.

It is not uncommon that once the prospect reaches a point where he feels that a decision is imminent, he will sometimes make a comment given to avoid making a commitment.  Getting a commitment to buy from a prospect immediately following the presentation is the best possible goal.  The reason is that years of sales experience has taught us that “Time Kills Deals.”  Though it may be true that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” for two folks who are in love, that does not apply to us and our prospect.  If he convinces us to delay the purchase, we will find time and time again that the sale will never be positively consummated.

Comments made by prospects when they don’t want to make a commitment to buy fall into two categories.  One of the two types of comments is a “Condition.” A condition is defined as, “a reason for not buying that actually exists.”  For example, if the prospect is under-aged to buy or own a particular product.  When a real condition is in place, there is NO possibility of making the sale.  However, it is always a good idea to test a prospect’s comment, even when it sounds like a valid condition.  For example, if the prospect says that the reason for not buying is because he does not have the money.  That may sound like a condition, but it may not be one at all.  By understanding how to handle this situation correctly, we may find out that he could buy if payment terms were available.

When a comment is proven to be something other than a condition, it falls into the second category.  The second type of comment a prospect will make when he doesn’t want to commit to a purchase is called and “Objection.” As Tom Hopkins would most likely agree, a good definition of an objection is, “a reason for not buying that arises out of the prospect’s lack of understanding and is usually a request for additional information.”  All objections have one quality in common: they are apparent “road blocks” that can be lifted when addressed skillfully.  For example, if a prospect were to say, “Give me the names of some of your current clients.  I will call them and get back to you.”  He simply “lacks the understanding” that others being happy with a product/service is not the reason to buy.

In the following portions of this article, we present “word tracks” for effectively responding to objections.  The following are tested, proven and recommended word tracks for effectively responding to objections.  These responses will usually be made up of three components.  First, after hearing the objection, we should respond with some type of “verbal cushion” that reduces the sense of conflict.  Why do we use a “verbal cushion?”  We can be sure that when we ask for the order and the prospect replies with an objection, he knows we do not want to hear that.  So, he mentally “draws his sword” because he expects us to “counter attack” his objection.  I do not know about you, but I would prefer to face someone with their sword put away than with their sword in their hand.  The use of a “verbal cushion” is to quickly give the prospect the sense that we understand his reason for not buying.  In fact we do understand his thinking, we just do not agree with it.  So, prior to giving them an answer to their objection, we disarm them; so to speak.

Next, following the “verbal cushion,” would be the words that overcome the objection.  Third, after overcoming the objection, we would follow with a “closing question” that once again asks the decision-maker to commit to the purchase.  I hope you find the objection-handling scripts that follow to be helpful.  Commit them to memory through practice and role-play.  Remember, objections are usually nothing more than a request for additional information. The ability to naturally and effectively respond to common objections benefits both us and our prospects.

In addition, after hearing one or two objections from a prospect, it may be a good idea to try to reduce the number of objections he may have.  To do this, it may be useful to apply a sales technique called the “Spotlight.”  For example, assume we have heard one or two objections from this prospect and we have overcome them well.  Then the prospect says, “I want to talk it over with my spouse first.” By using the “Spotlight” technique at this time, we can eliminate any more objections from coming up … or, as importantly … we can uncover a “hidden objection.”  We would respond with the following question, “Mr. Prospect, is that the only matter that stands in our way of making a decision to buy this product/service today?” If the prospect responds, “Yes,” then we have limited him from sharing other objections after this one is handled.  If the prospect says “No,” then this strategy will likely reveal the underlying or “real objection.”  Now let’s consider some fairly common objections.

Objection 1                   “Let me think it over.”

This objection is probably the most heard objection of all.  The reason why it is used so often is because it is usually successful in ending the sales presentation.  The problem with this objection is that there is no “handle” on it.  There is no specific problem identified.  Therefore what the salesperson must do is to find the “handle,” then address it.

Prospect:     “Joe, this sounds interesting.  Give me some time to think this over and I’ll get back to you.”

Salesperson (Cushion): “Mr. Prospect, making the right decision is important, isn’t it?”

Prospect:     “It sure is.”

Salesperson (Technique):        “Well let me ask you a couple of questions.  What exactly is it that you feel you need to think over?  (Do not pause)  Is it my personal integrity?  (Prospect responds “No”)  Is it the integrity of my company?  (Prospect responds “No”)  Is it (Feature # 1)?  (Prospect responds “No”).  Is it (Feature # 2)?  (Prospect responds “No”)  Is it (Feature # 3)?  (Prospect responds “No”)  You continue to ask until either you run out of features or you get to the question: “Is it the price?”

What happens here is that each time the prospect says “No,” it means that he has bought that feature.  What usually happens is that he begins to realize that he needs to say he needs to think something over.  When he says “Yes” to one of the questions it puts us in the perfect position to overcome his concern about that issue.  After successfully answering his concern about a particular issue we close (for example: “Will that be cash or charge?” or “Would you prefer that in red or green?”)

Objection 2                   “Give me some of your clients to call, first.”

This objection is most often nothing more than a stall.  In my 30-plus years of selling and coaching others in selling, I have found that a prospect who says he wants to talk to other users first, usually never contacts the users we provide.  If he can use this statement to end our sales presentation, we will most likely never get another opportunity to present to him again.  Therefore, the object of the technique is to invalidate the need for the testimonies of other users and replace it with the value of his personal perspective.  Some sample dialogue:

Prospect      “Joe, this could be something I could be interested in buying.  Give me the names of some of your clients.  I will give them a call and call you back.”

Salesperson (Cushion): “Mr. Prospect, making sure our decisions are sound is important isn’t it?”

Prospect:     “It sure is.”

Salesperson (Technique):        “Well, let me ask you a question. If you spoke with a number of our clients and got a good report, would you be ready to buy then?”

Prospect:     “Yes, I would.”

(The reply to this yes answer follows this paragraph.  If he says “No” or “I don’t know,” then we have uncovered that they have a hidden objection and we need to find out what it is by asking, “Then it would seem that you have one or more other questions about this decision.  Is it {now use the list of ‘is it’s’ from the Objection # 1 technique.}?”)

Salesperson: “Mr. Prospect, let me ask you another question.  Let’s assume you spoke to a number of our clients and each and every one of them said exactly the same thing.  ‘This is the best product we have ever owned.’  Then you buy the product from us.  After using the product for a short time, your opinion of the product is different than my other clients.  My question is, ‘Are you going to trust my clients’ opinions or would you prefer to trust your own experience?’  (Do NOT pause)  I would imagine that you would prefer to trust your own experience.  And you would be right to do so.  So why don’t we put this product where it belongs … in your possession and I will give you a guarantee that if you are not satisfied, we will take it back and completely refund your money.  Could I be fairer than that?”

Prospect:     “No, not really.”

Salesperson (Close):      “Great, we can deliver that on Monday or Wednesday, which would be better for you?”


Objection 3           “I need to talk it over with ….”

The objection, “I need to talk it over with,” can occur if we do not qualify our prospect well enough to determine who is going to be making the buying decision; thus allowing us to make the initial presentation to ALL of the potential decision-makers.  Sometimes, it too is not true; but rather it is only an attempt to end the sales process without making a commitment.  There are only two possible solutions to this challenge.  Either we are able to get an absolutely solid commitment that we can meet with the other decision-maker(s) and give our full presentation or we must close this person right now without the need for the other decision-maker(s).  To get the opportunity to make our presentation to the other decision-maker(s), we should try this dialogue:

Prospect:     “This sounds pretty good to me, but I need to talk it over with my partner (business or spouse) first.  So, I will get back to you.”

Salesperson (Cushion): “Mr. Prospect, making sure our decisions are sound is important isn’t it?”

Prospect:     “It sure is.”

Salesperson (Technique with Close):          “Mr. Prospect, I have been representing this product/service for (how many years) and in that time I have given this presentation (10s, 100s, 1000s) of times.  Often I am asked questions that only a person with my experience could answer correctly.  So for you to make your very best possible decision, I should explain this product/service to your partner.  If the person is here now, I have the time to do this now.  If not now, I am available tomorrow morning or the following afternoon, what works best for you?”

Prospect:     “She is not here just now, but tomorrow morning at 9:00 am will be fine.”

If our prospect insists that we will not be able to make our presentation to the other decision-maker(s), we must try to close this person right now.  It is important for us to understand that when this issue arises it is most often a pure stall to end our sales opportunity.  Why else would a person not agree to have us do our presentation for the other decision-maker(s), if it was not simply that he was not going to buy for any reason?  Having said that, here is some dialogue that might help:

Prospect:     “As I said, this sounds pretty good to me, but I need to personally talk it over with my partner (business or spouse) first.  So, I will get back to you.”

Salesperson: “Mr. Prospect, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 meaning you would not take this product/service if we were giving it away and 10 meaning that you believe strongly that this is the product/service you want, if your partner asks you how you feel about this product/service, what are you going to tell them?”

(We ask this question because IF the number is not 9 or 10, we do NOT have THIS person sold and thus the other party will either not be asked at all … or … when asked they will not be encouraged by our current prospect.  Therefore, if we get an 8 or less we need to reply as follows.)

Prospect:     “Well, I am probably between a 7 and an 8.”

Salesperson: “Mr. Prospect, I am not convinced that you should be considering our product/service, if you are not at a 9 or 10.  So let me ask you, what are some of the questions that are still on your mind that are causing you to be less than completely satisfied that we have the answer to your needs?”

Prospect:     “Well, my question is …”

Answer the prospect’s questions and close again.  If this prospect is still not convinced enough to make the decision on their own, try the following technique:

Prospect:     “Thank you for answering my question(s), let me get back to you after I talk with my partner.”

Salesperson: “Mr. Prospect, what do you feel (not think) your partner will say when you explain the following benefits: (list the benefits of your product/service)?”

(If this prospect makes any critical remarks about our product/service that he believes his partner may say, he is actually telling us what he is concerned about himself.  If he says only positive comments, that does not automatically mean we are going to get the sale but it does give us a closing opportunity.)

Prospect:     “She will most likely be most concerned about ….”

Salesperson: “How do you plan on convincing her that that is not a problem?”

Prospect:     “Well, I am not certain.”

Salesperson: “Exactly!  That is why I suggest you allow me to help the two of you make the best possible decision by giving your partner the benefit of hearing all of the information about this product/service from someone who can answer any and all questions.  Is this afternoon or tomorrow morning        better?”

OR

Prospect:     “I think she will like the product/service.”

Salesperson: “I can stop by to fill out the paper work tomorrow morning about 11:00 am or would the following morning at the same time be better?”

(If he is not willing to give us a time to fill out the paper work, we most likely are being misled about the possibility of making a sale here.  I believe we have done everything possible.  It is time to go find a “real prospect.”  If he responds positively, we have a good chance of closing this sale.  Sometimes a prospect just needs to get “a little victory” (like putting us off a while), in order to make him more comfortable with allowing us to win “the big battle” and close him.)

Prospect:     “Tomorrow at 11:00 will be fine.”

Overcoming a prospect’s legitimate objections is one of the skills that separate the great salespersons from the “order takers.”  It requires two ingredients.  It requires well honed and artistically-reflexed word tracks and it requires a sincere desire to meet the prospect’s needs even when he is standing in his own way of making a good decision.


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