One of the greatest challenges in sales is overcoming objections. What most salespeople struggle with is how to interpret the stalls, lies, and misdirection prospects use to get out of having to commit to a sale today. The reality is if a prospect objects in some manner they will not buy, and that is their right.
When we understand that objections come from one of six things that are missing, we are better equipped to fill the appropriate void and move things forward without confrontation or hurt feelings.
The 6 objections in sales are:
- No Urgency
- No Value
- No Confidence
- No Money
- No Agreement
- No Love
The real trick is to learn how to read between the lines and find out the root cause of their objection. Once you’ve identified the root cause, it’s infinitely easier to come up with valid rebuttals to close your sale today.
If a prospect feels indifferent about buying today, they will not buy. It is always safer, easier, and cheaper to sit home in my pajamas and eat potato chips. We call this the path of least resistance. This is different than prospective customers who are pretending to not be interested to throw you off their scent. You’ll notice these prospects will stay engaged in the conversation, continue to ask buying questions, and linger at the product when left alone.
Urgency starts with how they entered the sales arena. If you called them out of the blue, wanting to sell them something, you must come in strong with an offer that’s too good to be true. To lock the prospect down, you will need logic hooks and a limited window of opportunity to ignite their fire. This is the language of hype. Just be warned, that when you use hype, you are going to invite in the transactional shopper.
When a prospect opts-in, their actions are the first demonstration of intent. If you’re receiving signals that they are somewhat passive, apathetic, or indifferent, this is your queue to turn up “the show”. Give them everything you got, and leave it all on the table.
When you clearly demonstrate the 5 tenants of trust; empathy, competency, reliability, integrity, and yes, even vulnerability, your chances of closing the sale go up significantly.
Normally what happens in a sales environment is that the salesperson quickly becomes disengaged and starts looking for easier fish to fry. This is a mistake, particularly if there are no other prospects to talk to at the time. While it takes considerably more energy and effort to persuade this prospect, they are very often introverts looking for an overly friendly extrovert to adopt them. These people will be loyal for life if you feed them with the love and attention they deserve.
People won’t buy when they believe their money is worth more to them than your solution. Only when the value you are delivering exceeds the value they place on their money, do you get to do tradesies. This means you have to sell the advantage of the benefits of what your thing delivers, not your thing’s features. Where salespeople often run into issues is when you attempt to sell something that has an intrinsic value, but the prospect doesn’t value it as much as it costs.
For example, if you were trying to sell a car with a sunroof, and the prospect doesn’t care if the car has a sunroof, all you’re doing is trying to sell them something that is not worth the investment to them. When discounting, find them what they want, removing the item that holds no value, or discount the value of the thing they don’t want off of the price. When you perceptually remove the barrier…the friction… you stand a greater chance of closing the deal.
Alternatively, if you are attempting to sell a prospect a product/service that is missing something that they value, it will be perceived as inferior. Your thing has to become disproportionately cheaper for them to settle for the inferior product. This will often sully the sale, particularly if they can find the preferred product/service elsewhere. In this instance, you need to take stock of your solution’s value proposition and have a sincere rebuttal prepared to combat the competitive value proposition.
If your prospect perceives your product or service to be inferior in relation to other products or services, you not only have to sell the product or service but the supporting brand story to build trust.
Hyundai continues to battle this type of reputation today, even though they are selling a far superior product today than they were when they entered the American marketplace. Often curious prospects peek into showrooms, appreciating the look and feel of the new models, but then find themselves saying, “yeah but, it’s a Hyundai. They’re cheap cars.” Even though their senses are in full disagreement, their ‘belief system’ continues to guide their conscience.
Hyundai salespeople today are very skilled at selling not only all the value-packed into their vehicles but also in selling them on the transformation of the brand. It is this story of transformation that sway the naysayers.
There are two types of prospects with this objection.
- People who actually do not have the money, or
- People who have not allocated the money (in their head or heart) to your thing.
84% of potential prospects have the means to buy whatever they want, within reason. Thus, it becomes about identifying their underlying priorities.
What the typical prospect is saying when they tell you they don’t have the money is that they have not prioritized any money for the thing you are selling. This is particularly true if the salesperson is prospecting, and has approached someone seemingly out of the blue.
Leveraging the language of hype (ie. too good to be true offers) is your best chance of getting the prospect to come in and buy your thing. Just remember that the more intensely you apply hype, the faster the race to zero profits.
When attempting to close a deal that is more than the prospect has either verbalized already or imagined in the theatre of their mind is the second instance when this objection arises. If they have committed to a particular number in their negotiation either internally or externally, they may come to believe it to be a true and fixed rule. Until you find a way to change their belief, you won’t be able to change their behavior.
There’s a particularly effective way to pull out this objection and determine if it is, in fact, a budget issue, or a lack of value.
When there is more than one decision-maker, there are often conflicting priorities. When different things are important to each individual, it is important to find ways to move the sale forward. Before you can do any deal, you first have to facilitate the negotiation between the decision-makers to settle on a specific selection.
Without a specific selection, all you’re having is a conversation, and conversations don’t make mortgage payments.
Once you have an agreement on the exact thing they are going to buy, you can go about negotiating the deal. Be inclusive in your presentation to ensure you don’t alienate the secondary decision-maker. Gaining small buy-in along the way allows you to keep the second decision-maker on your side when looking to complete negotiations.
A second decision-maker is always the first person to spoil an otherwise good deal. Be sure to recognize that conflicting priorities could mean that you have a saboteur conspiring to sully the deal at any opportunity.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Particularly when dealing with Transactional Shoppers who are collecting multiple bids, you are going to run into people whose heart lies with another provider. They may be using you to keep their preferred provider “honest”, or someone has done a great job in identifying and presenting excellent solutions at a great price.
In this instance, you need to understand what kind of shopper you are dealing with and speak their language.
Oxygen Thieves are only going to buy, if at all, with the lowest-cost provider. Unless you work for beer and pizza, this is likely not your customer.
Birkenstock Professors are saving all their money to fix the head gaskets on their 10-year-old Subaru, so this is likely a low-margin sale that will be assessed in a spreadsheet with a number of other quotes. Value for money is your greatest chance to win this sale, bundling in additional high-value elements that your competition won’t offer that matter most to your shopper. An emphasis on savings in both the bundled price and the cost of ownership will be the stars of this show.
The Joneses are busy. Kids, after-school activities, jobs, and other obligations take precedence over the inconvenience of the purchase they are forced to deal with due to a breakdown. You don’t have to be the cheapest price with the Joneses, but your solution has to resolve their felt needs (pain points). Convenient scheduling, fast service, and bundled extras that reduce the time and energy they need to put into your solution are exactly what the doctor ordered. The more things you can take on to make their life easier, the more likely you are to win the sale.
Daddy Warbucks is looking for the horse and pony show. They want to see the sophistication and elegance of your efforts to get them the perfect solution. They want to know that you know what you’re doing, and when you confirm that through your demonstration of competence and care, they will buy. The key here is to have a better show than your competitors when it comes time to provide the right solution.