One simple question will help you with overcoming sales objections and change the way you handle them. You’ll be far more effective if you use this simple technique.
This technique will save you lots of time and hot air. It will prevent you from responding to smokescreen and false objections.
Overcoming Sales Objections
Yes, buyers often float objections that aren’t even real objections. When we respond to these as if they are real, we legitimize them and cause the buyer to think this should be a real issue. Magnifying false objections derails sales.
Why do buyers do this? One reason is that they know they're supposed to play the role of buyer. It’s like they’re acting in a play, and the script includes lines that sound like objections. You do this, too. When you walk into a furniture store and the seller says “Hi, may I help you?” you automatically respond with “No thanks, I’m just looking.” You say that even when you don’t mean it! It’s a conditioned response.
Another reason buyers float objections is that nobody wants to look like a pushover. Price objections are often given just to see what happens. Many a buyer has been ready, willing and able to pay full price … but they know it’s smart to ask for a lower price just in case they can get one. Some buyers enjoy this part of the dance and will hold out longer for a price concession even though they will still buy without one. It’s a game, and they want to find out whether or not they can get a better deal. At the same time, this is not a real objection because the buyer will buy at full price if necessary.
One other reason buyers give sellers smokescreen objections is that they want to mask their real objection. A buyer might like you and be concerned about hurting your feelings or making you feel rejected. So they say something soft like “I need to check with my partner” or “I’m very busy with a special project right now.” These objections may not be legitimate. The real objection might be something they're not willing to tell you.
For all these reasons, you've got to find out if you’re dealing with a real objection or a cover-up. There's only one way to do this: whatever the buyer’s objection is, you’ll ask this one clarifying question.
This question will immediately expose a smokescreen objection so you won’t waste time answering it. It will also draw out any deeper objections that haven’t been expressed yet. It’s much better to get these out on the table than to leave them unspoken, unanswered, and still in the way.
The One Question You Need
This one question is to ask if you’d be proceeding if that one objection didn’t exist. It doesn’t matter if you can make it go away or not. That’s not the point. The point is to find out if it is the real and only objection. So you hypothetically ask, “If that were not the case, would we move forward?"
Here’s how it sounds when you put the specific objection into it. If the buyer says “We already have a vendor that we're happy with,” you would ask “If you did not have a vendor you were happy with would you proceed with what I'm presenting to you?”
You don’t change any of the language. You don’t say “If I could show you how…” because that’s not going to reveal if this is the real and only objection. You can show them how after you know if this is a smokescreen or a legitimate objection.
When you ask this question, giving just the hypothetical opposite, the buyer might say “yes” and then you know you’ve got the real and only objection. Now you’ve got good cause to proceed with the response that spotlights value and provides information that diminishes the objection.
Or the buyer might say “no” and give you another reason they wouldn’t proceed. That's the real objection. And that's the one you want to spend your time and effort answering.
Clarify the Buyer's Feelings
When you phrase your question as the opposite, you can also insert the word “feel” whenever it's appropriate. Most objections are not fact, but are feelings or perceptions. By adding the word “feel” you are subtly reminding the buyer that what they’re saying is not a fact. Further, feelings are more malleable than something you and your buyer treat as factual.
For example, if your buyer says your price is too high, you’d respond with “If you didn't feel our price was too high, would you be proceeding with this solution?” They're either going to say “yes” in the hope of getting a lower price, or they're going to say “no” and give you a different objection. It's perfectly okay if they say “yes” because they want a lower price. You haven't promised one. All you've done is gotten clarity, that that is the real objection.
One question will focus you on the right objection and will inch your buyer closer to a purchase with you. Give it a try!