Let’s start with the meaning of ‘objection.’ If you’ve ever cold-called a customer, you’ll remember that feeling of rising panic as the person on the other end of the phone interrupts your carefully-prepared script and starts questioning the value of your product or service.
It’s at this crucial stage that objection handling can go wrong. For example, you might jump to conclusions, fail to identify the problem, or neglect to check whether additional issues need addressing.
In fact, an objection needn’t be taken as a negative. If a customer is engaging with you and hasn’t hung-up the phone, they’re looking for a reason to buy. Why haven’t they? Because they’re either (i) confused; (ii) biased; or (iii) not fully convinced.
Either way, an objecting customer is an interested customer – and, by using the right techniques, you can win their trust (and business, too).
In this article we’ll show you how to:
- listen to customers and hear what they’re not saying
- rephrase objections to get your customers thinking
- identify any other issues holding the process back
- evaluate the benefits of your proposal
- close the deal within a few hours
Ready to get started?
We’ve helped numerous start-ups in Brighton and UK-wide, to improve their objection handling processes and convert more customers.
With that in mind, here are five tried-and-tested techniques you can put into play right away.
Listen to your customer
This sounds obvious, doesn’t it. And, in any case, why wouldn’t you listen to them? It’s in your best interest to take on board feedback: the good and the bad. But here’s the deal. Over time, you’ll be exposed to the same objections – to which you’ll reply with a set of pre-prepared responses.
The danger here is that you can start responding on auto-pilot, which means your objection handling will be based on your experience of similar problems you’ve solved for customers in the past.
This is not the way to solve a problem and could result in a lost opportunity. The same objection could mean two different things for two different customers. So, it’s important to approach each interaction with a fresh mind. What is the customer really saying here? And, just as importantly, what aren’t they saying?
Could you please rephrase the question?
Just now, we talked about jumping to conclusions – using past experience of solving problems to handle customers not yet ready to buy your product or service. But how can you be certain your objection handling is tailored to the customer’s problem?
Rephrasing the objection will solidify the issue and get the customer thinking. But rephrasing does not mean re-summarising. It is more subtle than that. It is about getting the customer to solve the problem themselves.
How do you do this?
Imagine the prospective customer is shocked at your prices, and states its too expensive. You counter by asking something along the lines of “What will be the impact to your profit margin if XYZ problem isn’t resolved?”
By re-framing the objection, you have positioned yourself to solve a problem, instead of going head-to-head in a pricing battle.
The customer just sold your service to themselves, understanding that investing will ultimately protect that profit, and will subsequently demonstrate a return on investment (ROI).
Use isolation as part of your objection handling
Isolation is an objection handling technique you can use to determine whether other issues are preventing your customer from buying. If the answer is no, you can progress to the next stage, which involves evaluating the benefits of your proposal to meet their needs.
If the customer throws a new problem into the mix, start the exploration face again, and uncover everything that you feel might be associated with this objection. Use strong open questions to uncover every possible need.
By following this objection handling procedure, you’ll be able to move smoothly through the evaluation stage and without being derailed by any last-minute surprises.
Evaluate the benefits of your proposal
Now it’s time to run through the benefits of using your product or service – and ensure you’ve covered each point. The aim is to demonstrate to the customer that your proposal meets the needs that you have uncovered during your exploratory conversation.
This is not a process you should rush. If the customer feels pressured or cornered, they could back out – asking for more time to consider your proposal. Keep the pace slow and the tone conversational. The key point here is to give the customer time to think, while demonstrating that you have listened, understood, and then matched the right solution to their problem.
You can read more about building benefit statements for your product or service here.
The final stage: closing the deal
To convert the customer, you need to close the deal. If your objection handling has been on point, your chances of success at this stage will be high. But you don’t have to push for a sale straight off the bat – not unless the customer is showing strong buying signs.
Confirm the next steps and book in time to complete the next action. Don’t wait too long, though. The longer you leave it, the more time the customer has to ‘cool off’ – meaning they could talk themselves out of the sale. So, control the timeline by giving them a couple of choices for a follow-up conversation to discuss next steps.
Want to convert customers?
Then contact us today. Based in Brighton, we’ve run, launched, and grown start-up businesses – helping our customers reach heights they never thought possible.
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