Part I discussed the three main types of sales objections. This part will highlight the 10 most common objections, and how to handle them to close the sale. The most important thing through out the sales cycle, that you can do, is to ensure that your customer appreciates the value of your offering. Most if not all of the 10 Objections can be avoided by continual qualification and value verification. “What benefit, in addition to those that we have discussed will that bring?”
To recap briefly, in part I, we saw that potential customers generally raise objections for three specific reasons.
Tactics for Negotiation
Assuming that your buyer fully appreciates the value that your product will bring them, some still need to get a “deal”. The range of people looking for a deal can be entrepreneurs, Professional procurement and government departments.
Planted by Competitor
Very few sales professionals operate in a vacuum. They normally have to face competitors at many different stages in the sales cycle. The earlier you face them
Genuine concern or an Expectation Gap
The final type of objection arises normally due to a lack of qualification, or indeed not following an appropriate sales process. If at the close, a potential buyer is still not convinced, then either you have closed too early, or you have not addressed all their concerns.
The top 10 Sales Objections that SME’s face are as follows;
1. You are too expensive! – This is obviously a ploy, since you should have been getting the customer to iterate the value of your offering in their terms, throughout the sales cycle. Ask them the following, make sure you use the word “feel”, since this could be an emotional response; “In respect of the value you believe you will be getting which is X, how do you feel this is too expensive?” This will give you the real reason, or may just help in clarifying what they are really getting.
2. You are too small! – This is a genuine concern for a lot of buyers. However you have not got to the closing stage of a sale, if you did not have something that they want. In this instance, you need to ask specifically – “In what way do you feel we are too small” and then answer that concern, with a matching benefit about size, such as the ability to meet their needs easily, due to your size and agility.
3. I will need to check with the Boss! – Why are you trying to close a sale with someone who does not have authority to buy? If they do have authority, they are looking for time, because something has spooked them, you need at this stage to ask them “If you could make the decision now – would you buy it?” and if the answer is yes follow up with “will you then recommend to your boss that we buy it, would you like me to meet with your boss to help you?”
4. You don’t have XYZ feature! – One of the oldest in the book, normally preceding a negotiation – unless of course they really want it, in which case, why did you only find out now? The best response is to ask them first “If we had XYZ feature, would you go ahead?” if the answer to that is yes ask them “What benefit, in addition to those that we have discussed will that bring?” This will flush out if it is real, and will also give you a chance to put their value on this new feature, which you can then build into the pricing.
5. Not sure if I have the budget for that! – Again, without a budget clearly identified, what are you closing for? What you need to do is reiterate the value, discuss how they had previously agreed to fund it, and ask if you can help with finance. The old fashioned hard-sell “If budget was not an issue” just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore!
6. I can get that cheaper elsewhere! – You have to ask them the direct question “would that be the exact same model, with the same options and the same level of support that we give you?” If they answer yes to that, then wish them all the best and walk away if you know your price is fair. Many times, it is a ploy, and sometimes a competitor is “buying” the business – don’t sacrifice your margins for the sake of it!
7. Our policy is to go out to tender! – Again, I must ask, why now, why did you not know the decision making process beforehand? Still if you didn’t know, you must clarify what the basis of decision will be. It is always smart to ask straight up, if they would award you the business if they did not have to go out to tender. Helping write the RFT (Request for Tender) is one of the surest ways of winning!
8. How can I be sure you will still be in business in 2 years? – This is probably the most difficult to answer, especially as you won’t know exactly where they are coming from. If you are a software company and they are worried that they would lose the rights to the source code, should things go wrong – use a company to hold the code in Escrow. What ever the situation, always ask for clarification as to their concern.
9. Not sure if we need one right now! – Oh for goodness sake! What have you been selling? Have you not clarified early on in the sales cycle; a date of ownership, the value of owning what you are selling and what happens if they maintain the status quo? If you have done all the above correctly, then ask what has happened to make them change their mind?
10. I’ll need to get back to you on that! – Don’t let them off the hook now. You must not let them get away, without setting the date and time for the next meeting, when they will deliver you a decision. You should ask them what criteria they will be using for that decision, and if there is anything else you can do to help them.
There are far more objections than these which you will face, however most of them are variations on a theme. The most important thing to do is to clarify the reason behind the objection, by asking open ended questions. Always make it easy for the prospect to save face, and remember, the more qualifying you do up front, the less objections you will face at the close!
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This article was written by Peter Lawless, founder of 3R Sales and Marketing – www.3r.ie. For previous articles like this, visit 3R’s Articles. Alternatively, subscribe to Success our free monthly Information Bulletin with sales and marketing articles.