Customers’ objections are a normal part of the sales process. Here are Integratis’ 8 tips to develop the skills and strategies to handle objections effectively and be more successful in selling.
Confidence is critical in all aspects of the sales process but especially when handling objections. People assess your confidence by your body language in 3 ways:
Your Manner: remain calm, welcoming the concern.
Your Expression: don’t panic or look alarmed but equally don’t be dismissive or overconfident.
Your Tone of Voice: remain serious and unwavering, conveying your wish to resolve the customer’s concerns.
2. Listening skills
Never respond to an objection until you are sure you understand it. Listen attentively, it will show your sincerity and desire to understand the concern. Let the customer do the talking! Make eye contact; be aware of your facial expression, posture, and stance. Take notes and refer to them. Stay focused on the customer; be sensitive to their feelings, noting their body language, and facial expressions. Don’t interrupt but try to summarize when appropriate using your notes to show you were listening.
3. Acknowledge the customer’s concern
Never ignore the objection always acknowledge it. Be sincere and empathize, go with the flow, not against it. Mentally walk with the customer. If applicable use reference stories and validate the concern.
Ask questions to clarify your grasp of the customer’s concern. Make this dialogue two-way, verifying you both share and understand the objection and its’ root cause. Use open questions to help you to explore and probe. For example: “Who else do you think would be concerned about this?” Use closed questions to help you get straight to the point: For example: “This sounds as though it’s a big issue for you right now, am I right?”
Restating often uncovers a hidden objection because it shows you care and encourages customers to talk further, revealing other concerns. First paraphrase the initial objection to reinforce your sincerity. Then summarise the subsequent dialogue focusing on how you have clarified the concern. Finally state the real objection, as agreed to by the customer during the discussion reconfirming your understanding of the issue. At this point consider a ‘trial close’ - “if I was able to put your mind at ease on this issue, would that mean that you are comfortable with the remainder of what we have discussed?”
Responding is especially critical if the objection is linked to a competitive comparison. A good response can demonstrate that you can do all that the competition can do….and more! Be confident and positive in your response or agree to return to the issue later; either later in the meeting (whenever possible), or in a later meeting (in which case you should set this meeting up before closing the call. Then confirm that the customer is satisfied and comfortable with your response.
7. Appropriate responses
If the customer is sceptical provide proof regarding what you have told them and always answer any misunderstandings. If there are product concerns, emphasize product benefits and value. If it appears that a decision is not going to be made create a sense of urgency, stress the business benefits and always check you are talking to the right person!
8. Know when not to respond
Don’t respond if you don’t fully understand the objection, keep asking questions until you do. If you realize that you will need to address the concern later in the meeting, seek the customer’s agreement to do so. When you don’t have a convincing response agree a plan with the customer to address the issue later, checking you have grasped the main objection and have addressed all other concerns. If you have to adopt this approach, make sure you make an appointment to get back to the customer.
Maybe you have further sales objection handling techniques you would like to share? We would love to hear from you!
Integrity and trust are fundamental to effective leadership. A great leader is trusted and admired, a role
model whom others wish to follow and emulate, a person of integrity. Would you follow someone you neither trusted or respected? To trust you people need to believe that you are sincere and honest, that you have their best interests and the best interests of their company at heart. Being an excellent role model consolidates all the other aspects of leadership fortifying the process of creating vision, inspiration and momentum.
1. Your behavior, setting the example
Others form a picture of who you are by observing how you act. Your behavior tells others a story. The standard of behavior, the example you set and how you defend what you believe to be right all demonstrate your integrity. This is especially true during times of change when people will be looking to see if the leader lives up to the specific values and themes they are promoting. If you earn people’s respect and trust they will want to adopt your values, both personal and the company’s, which has a tremendous effect on the organizations culture and success.
2. Self respect
This is reflected by your appearance and actions, your punctuality.
3. Respect of others
How you treat others, with sincerity, empathy and consideration. To build credibility ensure that you are friendly and approachable. Make time for others, let the other person do a great deal of the talking, listen and be sympathetic to peoples’ opinions, ideas, concerns and worries. Make eye contact, know that little things count. Offer feedback and advice and take action to address their concerns.
4. Be honest and sincere
Honesty creates a culture of trust. Be uncompromising about the truth keep your word, be honest yet modest. Defend what is right. Show people that you only expect from them what you are prepared to do yourself. Let your team know what you think is important. If you don't tell people what your beliefs are, they'll guess and hold you accountable for what they guess. Being forthright has the additional benefit of making people feel like they understand you, and it develops trust faster than any other way.
5. Always defend what you believe is right
Make sure everyone knows what the organizations belief system is. Write it down, post it on the notice board. Ensure that all your actions demonstrate your adherence to this believe system and your values. Openly acknowledge and praise others who demonstrate this. Never be too important to apologize when things go wrong, When your strategy blows up in your face, take the responsibility.
6. Be magnanimous
Be magnanimous don’t bare grudges. Invite the opinions of others, ask them what values they think are important, what integrity means to them. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view Share with
them that you have accessed your own strength and weaknesses. Invite them to do the same, making yourself available to each individual to offer your help with this. Be prepared to apologize, if you are wrong admit it quickly and emphatically. Let other people feel that new ideas belong to them that their opinion matters.
Only hire integrity. ‘Walk the talk’, be firm be consistent, be honest, be respectful, be fair and kind, be the leader!
Do you agree that integrity is the cornerstone for effective leadership and that these are the traits that exemplify leadership integrity? What are your thoughts, we would love to know?
Being able to effectively communicate with others is an essential skill for anyone, regardless of their position or responsibility. All of us need to be able to convey our ideas clearly and convincingly with enthusiasm and confidence. With careful preparation, hard work, practice and a focus on clear language it is possible to develop and improve our communication skills and become more articulate. For a leader this is critical, to clearly and decisively explain vision and direction.
Sir Winston Churchill, a role model for communication?
Sir Winston Churchill, was a master communicator. We might not ever achieve the legendary status of Churchill but we should take encouragement from the fact that contrary to what many believe, Churchill was not a natural orator and was plagued by a speech impediment. Partly because of this but also driven by a desire to communicate effectively to get the results he seeked, Churchill dedicated himself to persistently rehearsing and editing each of his speeches for many hours. Hard work and practice were key components to his success together with thoughtful preparation and sincerity.
Churchill's 6 communication strategies
- Be clear about the audience you are addressing, who they are, what their needs, worries and concerns might be.
- Make sure that your communications have a well defined purpose, have a well defined objective.
- Be aware of all the facts before you speak. Do your research to make sure that you have available all relevant information
- Use simple, but precise language.
- Use humor to make you speeches easier to understand and to remember.
- Be sincere, speak from your heart. This was perhaps Churchill’s most significant tactic – his audience realized that he believed in what he was saying, they believed it too and very often acted on his words.
Additional Communication tips
1. Communicate in several methods
Communication is not all about public speaking and developing presentation skills to large audiences. Your team members want to hear new information from YOU. They want to hear your perspective on changes and new directives. Communicate key messages in more than one method. For your communication to be remembered repeat it. Be consistent without becoming predictable or boring. The first time you say something, it's heard, the second time, it's recognized, and the third time, it's learned.
2. Seek feedback and advice from others
Don’t be afraid to ask for help in creating and practicing important communication. Ask a co-worker, team member or peer manager to review the message or to listen to your practice sessions. Seek feedback from people after an important piece of communication - How could I have improved it? Which part did not seem to work well? What could I have done differently?
3. Involve your audience
Try to involve your audience, require them to think. A good communicator asks good questions that spark lively discussion, questions that promote a deeper understanding, if you want to get to the heart of something, ask “WHY?” five times. Don’t just stand up and tell people what to do, you want a team of forceful people who understand what you want but at the same time feel that they can make daily decisions themselves. Get people involved, ask for their input, their ideas. Show that you are listening and that you value their thoughts; give positive feedback and encouragement.
4. Have clear expectations and be sincere
What are your thoughts and what has worked well for you? We would love to hear from you!
Using initiative gets sales results
"I would like to be spoon-fed please!" Sales training, any training, will only get sales results if individuals take selling initiative, think for themselves and apply the sales skills and sales process taught. You can be given instruction to drive a car but once you are alone behind the wheel you need to think for yourself, use your own initiative to apply what you were taught! Sadly too many sales people are looking for the silver bullet, even if they really know it doesn’t exist. As a sales trainer it is often difficult to strike a balance between providing a complete, end-to-end easy-to-follow sales process and asking the sales people to think for themselves. “Give someone a fish and they’ll eat for a day; teach them to fish and they’ll eat forever.”
In a recent sales workshop we were asked for electronic copies of our sales training slides to create customer presentations. Although flattered that our sales training slides were considered that useful; what lay behind the request was that the sales person did not want to have to think for themselves. They wanted to be spoon-fed.
Successful sales people apply their sales training
Is this part of the modern world of ‘instant gratification’ and sound bites? Why aren’t we more willing to think for ourselves and put-in that little bit of extra effort? We are all rushing from one thing to the next, trying (or pretending) to multi-task. Sales training companies can provide examples. We can provide illustrations and we can create an opportunity for sales people to practice new sales skills. But when sales people get back to the real world they need to think for themselves and how they can apply these sales skills to their individual sales situations. Successful sales people don’t want to be spoon-fed – they know that to succeed in a consultative selling role they need to think for themselves, to think on their feet, to listen carefully to their customers, and then consider how to best position their products or services as the right solution for the customer.
Sales process provides a road map
Sales process provides structure to the role of selling. It provides a roadmap for success – but how people use the roadmap is still for them to decide. There are steps in the sales cycle but they are not intended to be something to follow rigidly without adapting the implementation of the sales process to suit the different customer types and different sales situations.
So, yes, sales people can have all the sales training slides they want, but what is really important is how they apply what they have been taught, how they work-out a way to adapt the sales process and the examples for their own sales situations. Go to it! It will pay more dividends in the long-term!