You’ve finally made it. You’ve mastered the sales process; your schedule is full of hot leads, you crush every demo, and you’ve prepared an answer to every objection in the book.
Until you hear a new one.
Let me get this straight...this person is fine with the price, thinks the technology is top of the line and loves the service, but they don't like that the ethernet cables on the $5 million servers don’t come in yellow? They can’t be serious.
Maybe you can tell them that it’s one of the least expensive dyes for ethernet cables, leading to a cost reduction that gets passed along to them. Maybe you can tell them that navy blue is the most versatile color in contemporary fashion. Don't they know that you forecasted this deal to close this month, and we’re already pushing into the last week?
If you don’t hit your goals because of this objection, you’re finally going to quit (read: check “open to new opportunities” on LI, look at some job posts, then give up and see everyone in the office again come Monday).
If you don’t get to the heart of an objection, handle it, then confirm you’ve handled it, you’ll just be playing Whack-a-mole with more problems down the road. If it isn’t the color of the cables, it’s the packing peanuts they arrive with.
- Pay attention to that man behind the curtain
- A Versatile Framework
- It’s Dangerous to Go Alone!
- Put It to Rest
- Keep Learning
Pay attention to that man behind the curtain
Objections are rarely what they seem, and it’s your job to play detective.
Let’s take a common objection: “The price is too high.”
But you know your market and the price is not that high comparatively. Let’s imagine what could be happening:
- Prospect looked at competitors and received a lower quote for an inferior product.
- Not knowing the difference between you and your competitor, the prospect thinks it’s apples-to-apples. A 7-Series BMW is going to have a higher list price than a Corolla, even though they both have four wheels and an engine.
- They haven’t bought one of these products in 20 years, and back then, you could get a gallon of milk for a quarter.
It’s your job to educate the prospect since they don’t see the true value in your product. Maybe they don’t have a proper understanding of the market. Maybe you didn’t articulate ROI clearly enough. Rather than try to cover all of that, all at once, from every angle, just dig deeper.
You ask, “Too high relative to what?"
Now they spill the beans, “Compared to ABC Corp.”
“That’s because their camera systems have half the resolution of ours,” you reply.
We only budgeted $X for this project.
You mismatched a configuration to their needs – rescope their configuration or push for a higher budget.
I don’t know, it’s just a lot of money.
They don’t see the ROI – time to refresh them on the cost savings calculations and how soon they break even on their investment.
A Versatile Framework
Ask the right questions, and you’ll find the right answers.
Once you get to the heart of an issue, you can start informing the prospect and soothing their worries. Figure out their decision-making environment and work within it, then hold them to their own decision-making criteria.
Prospect: “I’ll think about it.”
Sales Savage: “I understand – I wouldn’t revamp my marketing strategy without giving it some thought. A lot of my job is getting people the information they need about our product so that they can be fully informed when making a final decision. What is it you need to think about?”
Hesitation indicates lack of urgency or not buying into the ROI. Find what they need to think about, give them the information they need, and hold them to thinking about it on a clearly established timeline.
Prospect: “Just send me some literature through email and I’ll get back to you.”
Sales Savage: “Sure thing, I’m happy to send over some white papers. Because our machine vision tech works in so many different settings, we have an overwhelming amount of literature. I want to send you something relevant – not waste your time with thousands of pages. Where on your production line would you be using machine vision systems?”
Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge. If they try to dodge your qualifying questions, lead them to answer qualifying questions in order to dodge your qualifying questions.
You’re paid to extract information and you have a million strategies to do so. There is no such thing as a bulletproof objection handling technique – as much as Facebook webinar sellers would like it to be so – but there are plenty of well-vetted techniques to find the path of least resistance.
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone! Take This.
To get to the roots, you’ll need a pickaxe and shovel. Don’t forget to have a well-prepped toolkit for handling objections. These are just a few general ones, so learn from others and find what works best for your style.
Some simple mirroring (see: Never Split the Difference) can squeeze intel out of tough prospects.
“The price is too high.”
“The price is too high?”
“This won’t fit into our tech stack.”
“This won’t fit into your tech stack?”
It’s no panacea, but it’s a surprisingly effective way to avoid combative conversations that can arise when handling objections.
Probe, align, pivot
Sales Savage: “What seems to be the reason for the hesitation?” (Probe)
Prospect: “I’m just not ready to bet it all that it works like you’ve promised.”
Sales Savage: “I get why you’d feel that way (Align). After doing a two-week trial and seeing the ROI, most move forward. That’s why we offer the trial period – to let you incorporate it into your process and see it in action before moving forward (Pivot). Would you be open to giving it a go, or is something like that completely off the table?
Return to Sender
This is a slight variation of the mirror, best for asinine questions or overly-technical RFIs – maybe an underling is trying to sound professional in front of their boss, or it’s just one of those incessant questioners.
Prospect: “This can’t do 42-bit interpolation, can it?”
Sales Savage: “Are you looking to do 42-bit interpolation for this project?”
If they can’t come up with a good answer, it’s likely an empty objection.
Put It to Rest
Always be closing – that includes selling the prospect your answer to a question. Once you’ve tackled an objection, confirm such:
“It sounds like a two-week trial could at least alleviate your concerns about rushing into it – is that the case?” or
“Do you have any concerns with going ahead with the trial?”
If you don’t solve it for sure, it’s just another objection waiting to happen.
There is no perfect sequence of words to handle every objection. If there was, we’d all be out of a job. Be patient and insatiably curious about your prospect’s answer. The sooner you figure out what it is that you need to tackle, get to it and move on to the next obstacle between you and a PO.