Avoiding and Handling Tricky Sales Objections
If our work with sales teams around the world is anything to go by, customers haven’t yet stopped giving you reasons why they don’t want to buy from you…and we are regularly asked for ways to address objections during our sales programmes.
Tip 1: Heading objections off at the pass
Now, I should start by saying that we tend to avoid the macho “bring it on” approach to objection handling. Macho isn’t our style in any case and from our personal experience, if you have previously taken the time to really (really!) understand your customer’s business as well as their personal and technical needs and are now only talking about the aspects of your service that directly meets these needs – then why would you get objections??
In other words, most objections arise when you start pitching or demonstrating your solution too soon – e.g. at a first meeting…
So simply don’t do this! As my first boss told me, far too many years ago, when I rushed into a sales demo “Ian, sales Is all about discipline…” So, instead take enough time to understand in some depth your prospect’s issues and needs before talking about your solution. Or as Steven Covey put it “Seek first to understand and then be understood”
However, the world of sales isn’t that simple, and you might be talking to someone who has not yet been won over by your amazing listening skills or doesn’t really see why they should buy your offering. So, they put forward an objection. Their viewpoint may be wrong, or maybe they simply don’t understand the wonderous nature of your solution – and you could, of course, quickly put them right. However, we know you are better than this, so what can you do to allow them to save face?
Tip 2: Feel Felt Found
I should start off here by making it clear that this is neither a Greenbank invention, nor is bright, shiny and new – but it DOES WORK. So that’s good.
Step 1 – ‘I understand how you FEEL’
This first step is key. Rather than immediately pushing back (which trust me, won’t work, even if it does make you feel better) you are sincerely empathising with the customer. Tell them that you can understand why they are saying this…
In other words, you are letting them know that it is perfectly reasonable that they could have this objection to the sale. You want to reassure them that this is a normal part of the buying process. And don’t worry – letting them know that you understand why they feel this way isn’t the same as saying they are right to think that!
Step 2 – ‘In fact some of my other customers FELT the same way’
The message here is that other customers (the unsaid bit here is that they went on to buy from you) originally felt the same way.
From a neuroscience perspective, you are using ‘social proof’ to show that in the past other customers just like them have felt the same way and they went on to buy. Your customer wants to be like others, we all do. We find safety in numbers, and we follow safe paths that others have taken. So, feelings they have now, were felt by others like them, and did not stop them buying.
The key word here is FELT – the past tense is important!
Step 3 – ‘But what they FOUND was…’
This is the clincher – rather than telling your prospect that their issue could be dealt with -after all, they might think “you would say this wouldn’t you…” – you are instead using the authority of existing customers to put their minds at rest.
So, tell the customer what other people found when they went on to buy from you that overcame their initial objection. Be specific – don’t just overcome the sales objection by saying that they found everything was okay. Tell the prospect exactly how others, with the same sales objection, saw it differently once they became customers.
Feel, Felt, Found, in use
Here are a couple of examples of how it can be used in practice:
The price seems very high
I understand why you might feel this.
In fact, other customers initially felt the same when they were comparing us with more off-the-shelf solutions.
But when they saw the immediate impact on their people and the measurable savings they made they realised it was a really good investment
I think we can wait until next financial year
It’s understandable that you should feel that way in the current business climate
In fact, other customers originally felt that way too
However, when they did the maths, they realised that they were just losing money by delaying the decision as the system paid for itself in a matter of months.
Try it out for yourself…
‘I can understand you might feel nervous about trying a new way of handling sales objections.
When I was first shown Feel, Felt, Found, I felt the same.
But now I have got used to it, I’ve found it’s really effective and has allowed me to bring several sales forward in my pipeline…”
Give it a go and see what you think. Like any change it can feel uncomfortable to start with, but it will add a sales objection technique to your arsenal of selling skills. It may not work in every case, but in the right situation it will help you to close more sales.
Greenbank and Sales Development
Greenbank are an innovative global training consultancy, working with b2b sales professionals on interesting, latest techniques which are 100% relevant to today’s business world we live in. So, whether you are selling SaaS solutions, complex consultancy, new whizz-bang ideas or indeed anything that requires you to articulate the tangible value of what you do, we can probably help you.
Give me a call if you would like a relaxed, informal conversation and we can share ideas!
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