Ron Carlson, ex-professor at Cal-Irvine and short story writer, gave an interesting talk to a group of people one day. He asked this group to recall when they first hit adulthood. What did they think their lives would be like and what was their Plan A at that time? He followed by asking how many of them were still operating on Plan A? Of this group of about 100, only one 23 year old, the youngest person in the room raised her hand. Everybody else in the room was already on their Plan B. So since most everybody is living out their fallback plan, wouldn’t it make sense for blue collar salespeople to have several objection fallback responses in their hip pockets for surprises from prospects and customers?
Think about the last time you mimicked a “deer in the headlights” as a result of a sales objection that came out of left field. Did you stutter a few times, or just glance up toward heaven searching for an intelligent answer? Tucking several fallback responses into your brain means you’ll never be at a loss for words again.
Whenever you receive an objection that catches you off balance and you don’t know quite what to say, try using one of these. They will keep your prospect talking for a few moments so you can collect your thoughts and maybe gain some additional information. At least this will buy you a little time to contemplate the best way to continue and have a good shot at closing the sale.
Imitate the objection
When you imitate, or question an objection, you simply repeat the objection back to the prospect in the form of a question. There is no objection that can’t be responded to in this manner. For example:
- My price is too high?
- You want to think it over?
- Get other bids?
- You want to hold off on it for now?
- No money?
Just make sure to contort your face into a confused look and put a question inflection in your voice. A salesperson’s two best friends are questions and silence; and this response has them both. The key to this technique is the silence that follows the question. During that silence, one of three things will occur:
- The prospect may talk themselves into buying.
- They’ll respond to your question and subsequent silence by telling you what needs to occur if they are to buy.
- It doesn’t work, meaning you need to try something else.
Remember, the key is not the question; it’s the silence after the question.
Invert the Objection
This technique consists of responding to the objection with the question, “Isn’t that exactly why you should do this now?”
For example, let’s say they realize they need to get the work done but they give you an excuse that they’re too strapped for cash right now.
Invert the objection by responding, “Isn’t that exactly why you should do it right now?”
That may sound totally inappropriate, but often the prospect will engage in a back and forth that will reveal a specific comment that will provide you with a way to break through. Again, your silence following the question inversion is the key. Make the words come out of their mouth!
Illuminate the Objection
This is the old-school “feel/felt/found” strategy, but it is still effective. Whenever an objection is heard the salesperson responds with something like this:
“I certainly empathize with how you feel.
Many of my existing customers have felt just like you.
But at the end of the day what they found is…”
For example when someone says they want to get other bids, you might say this:
“I can understand how you feel and I’ve had some other customers who felt the same way. But in the end they found (insert your specific response, i.e.) nobody wants to spend hours of their precious free time dealing with multiple salespeople coming in and out of their homes, and having to listen to high pressure sales pitches. When the smoke clears they are more confused than anything else.
They realized that having me handle the work for them was their best choice, partly because my customers say I am trustworthy and likable. Additionally they will tell you my solution is the least expensive over the life of the service and saved them time, which is so important in this fast paced world.
So can I go ahead and call my service department and get this work scheduled for you?”
Remember, I’m not saying these objection responses are totally appropriate for every circumstance. What I’m saying is that these are good to use anytime you get caught off-guard by a concern that you aren’t immediately prepared for.
————What a Friend————
“Knowledge is thinking one is pretty smart. Wisdom is knowing that you are aware you have a friend who is smarter than you. That is what Doug is to me. If you are blessed enough to be in one of his training sessions, you might want to pay attention.” Gary Starr, Albany, GA. His training sessions?
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